The silver tabby British Shorthair is a very stylish creature. Discover the variety of silver tabby patterns.
The silver tabby British Shorthair cat is a very stylish creature indeed….a high fashion cat! British Shorthairs come in many colours, and the silver tabby British Shorthair cat is a very interesting mix of colour genetics.
There are 4 types of silver tabby British Shorthair:
The Ticked silver tabby
The Mackerel silver tabby
The Spotted silver tabby
The Classic silver tabby
All of these types of tabby can come in any colour or pattern, including the bicolour pattern, where they usually have a white tummy, paws and 'face mask'. They are very unusual cats indeed.
See some of our British Shorthair silver tabby videos...
Silver tabby genetics
All silver tabby cats can come in all of the basic colours of British Shorthair cats: black, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream and tortie. The most common silver tabby, and the one that people think of, is the black silver tabby.
All silver tabby cats carry either one or two copies of the silver gene. This removes the pigment from the hairs, giving the silver effect rather than a more cream-yellow effect of a non-silver tabby.
All silver tabby cats also carry one or two copies of the Agouti gene, which is the gene that is responsible for the tabby pattern. There are 4 variations on the tabby gene, and each results in a different appearance in the tabby pattern:
The ticked silver tabby British Shorthair
The ticked silver tabby has a very interesting appearance. The ticked gene is an additional gene that works on top of the underlying tabby pattern. The ticked tabby gene restricts the pigment in the hair to the tips. A silver ticked tabby British Shorthair cat has a silver undercoat with black tips (or blue, chocolate, etc depending on what colour the cat is).
Interestingly, all cats are tabby cats, but some have a gene that masks the tabby appearance. Some people are working with ticked tabbies to introduce the ticked tabby gene to their non-tabby cats. The breed standard for a non-tabby cat requires that a ‘self’, or non tabby cat, does not have a tabby pattern showing through on their fur. So by using ticked tabbies, we can ensure that our kittens' tabby patterns have minimal effect and are therefore much less likely to show through. This is being done particularly in red and cream British Shorthair cats, because their tabby patterns are for more visible than they are in other colours.
The Mackerel silver tabby British Shorthair
Think of Tigger! Mackerel tabbies are beautiful, stripey cats a little like zebras. The original Whiskas cat is a black silver mackerel tabby, although they have now also used a Classic Silver tabby, and even a spotty one too. Black silver mackerel tabbies are a real favourite of ours.
As with all tabby patterns, they can come in any colour and any pattern combination....
The Spotted silver tabby British Shorthair
If Cruella De Vil had a British Shorthair, she would have a silver spotty for sure! These beautiful kittens tend to be more silver/paler than the other tabby patterns, because there is less of the black pattern on top of the silver.
See a litter of our silver tabby kittens growing up:
The genetics of the silver tabby British Shorthair
The spotted gene is an additional gene that works on top of the underlying tabby pattern. The spotting gene is not yet fully understood, but there are two main theories to explain it. The first is that the spotting gene is a mutation and a unique and additional gene. The second is that spotted cats are simply mackerel tabbies that have been bred over the years in such a way that the stripes have become interrupted to the extent that they now appear like spots. There is some evidence of this because some mackerel tabbies can look almost spotty at times, and some silver spotties can look almost like mackerels. Of course, this could be due to a selection of polygenes.
The Classic silver tabby British Shorthair
The classic silver tabby pattern is very unique. It is also called the blotched or marbled tabby. The pattern resembles the wings of a butterfly over the back of the cat. In a black silver tabby cat the pattern is in silver and black, and creates a striking appearance.
The Bicolour silver tabby
All types of tabby and silver tabby British Shorthair cats and kittens can also be bicolour. Bicolour kittens have the White Spotting gene that restricts the development of pigment on the tummy, the legs and part of the face of the kitten. This gives them a white 'face mask' that is very striking. Find out more about the bicolour tabby here, and read more about the British Shorthair Bicolour.
The blue tabby British Shorthair
Blue tabbies are very rare, and incredibly pretty. Read more about the blue tabby British Shorthair cat.
Silver tabby eye colour
All British Shorthair silver tabbies should have either hazel, orange or green eyes. Initially, these cats were supposed to have hazel or orange eyes, as non-tabby British Shorthairs should. Over time, more green eyed silver tabby British Shorthairs started to emerge, and their popularity grew. As a result of their popularity, green eyed silver tabbies were eventually recognised and now British Shorthair silver tabbies can have eyes of either colour. Read more about British Shorthair eye colour.
Silver tabby kittens available
We specialise in tabby varieties, and have spent years developing our lines. Throughout the year, we can have unusual and interesting tabby kittens. We have traditional silver tabbies in Classic, Spotted and occasionally in Mackerel patterns, and also have tabbies in various other colours and in bicolour. Find out if we have any silver tabby British Shorthair kittens available.
Looking for another colour?
- the blue British Shorthair
Remember - sometimes the kitten chooses the human!
All of the cats and kittens you see on our website, social media and YouTube Channel are Bombadillo cats and kittens.
We are expert British Shorthair breeders. We specialise in the more unusual silver tabby patterns and colours.