Do Tabby Cats Get Big? (All Your Questions Answered!)


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Tabby, named for “atabbi,” a type of patterned fabric from Baghdad, isn’t a cat breed but a coat pattern or color, and many different cat breeds may inherit a tabby color. The coat pattern of tabby cats makes them look like wildcats.  That being said, many cat breeds can have the Tabby coat pattern, so some people ask, do Tabby cats get big?

Tabby cats have a reputation for getting big because they’re often household pets and can gain weight quickly. However, Tabby size is dependent on their cat breed and other factors such as overeating, lack of exercise, gender, and health problems.   

Their reputation can also be attributed to their depiction as the fat and lazy characters Garfield, Morris the Cat, and Heathcliff. Although not all tabbies conform to this stereotype, it’s common to see them grow relatively large. Please continue reading to learn more about tabby cats and their tendency to become oversized. 

Pro-Tip:  If you are thinking of buying a cat or are a cat owner already, then you should be aware that taking care of the litter box can be a real chore.  In this age of smart products, an automatic litter box has been created that actually makes life easier with taking care of the litter box.  If you want to make your life much easier with a litter box that means you’ll never have to scoop litter again, check out the best automatic litter box on the market (in my opinion) on Amazon. 

Are Tabby Cats Large?

Some Tabby cats are large, depending on their cat breed.  Many cat breeds carry the Tabby variety, which means the size of Tabby cats can range drastically.  For example, Tabby cats that are Munchkins will be much smaller than Tabby cats that are Maine Coons.

Appetite and lack of activity can contribute to the increased size of tabby cats. Due to their friendly nature, their instinct to eat any time food is available, and because they’re often pets, they tend to overeat and, thus, get big. 

Because humans often adopt them as indoor pets, they tend to eat whenever you offer them food. However, since they’re friendly and affectionate, it can be tempting to provide your tabby cat treats, and they’re known to eat wherever food is available. 

Gender can be a factor in how large a tabby cat gets. If you have a male tabby, he may grow to be larger than a female. Male cats of the same breed as females are generally larger than their female counterparts, which should hold true if the cat is also a Tabby.   

To learn more about Tabby cats, check out my article:  Are Tabby Cats Rare? (Explained Super Simple).

What is Considered a Large House Cat?

A Domestic Shorthair cat is usually considered to be the ordinary house cat. However, a large Domestic Shorthair cat is greater than 15 pounds (male) or greater than 12 pounds (female). Therefore, it is essential to take a house cat’s nutrition and exercise seriously to help prevent feline obesity.

The Domestic Shorthair is generally considered to be the modern house cat in the United States.  In the UK, this cat is often referred to as a Moggy.  A Domestic Shorthair is a medium-sized cat and usually comes in a Tabby coat pattern.  My Domestic Shorthair, Charlotte, is a Tabby, and she weighs 11 pounds, which makes her just a bit smaller than a large cat.

To learn more about the Domestic Shorthair, check out my article:  Do Domestic Shorthair Cats Shed A Lot?

When Do Tabby Cats Stop Growing?

Tabby Cat

Many cat breeds have a Tabby coat pattern.  This means Tabby cats will stop growing depending on their cat breed.  For example, the Ragdoll cat breed, which has a Tabby variety, will stop growing at around four years old. 

If you are purchasing a cat, you should make sure you understand when your cat will become mature and stop growing.  To a layman, it may be harder to identify which cat breed you have if it is a Tabby.  Therefore, consulting your veterinarian may be a good idea. 

If you purchase a purebred cat, you should know exactly which cat breed your cat is since you should have the papers proving it. Usually, these papers are included in the significantly higher cost of a purebred breed, even if your cat is a Tabby variety of the certain purebred cat breed.

To read more about Tabby cats and why they are so common, check out my article:  Why Are Tabby Cats So Common? Detailed Answers!  

Are Orange Tabby Cats Bigger?

Orange Tabby cats may be larger than other Tabby cats based on their cat breed.  Many cat breeds have a Tabby coat pattern; therefore, some Tabby cats will be bigger than others.  Orange Tabby cats are like other Tabby cats except for their color, and that Orange Tabbies are usually male.

Orange Tabby cats are incredibly popular in modern culture.  Most people know the famous cartoons, Garfield and Heathcliff.  These cats are often portrayed as large, so it is no surprise that some people might wonder if Orange Tabby cats are larger. 

People often think Tabby cats are friendly.  To learn more about this, check out my article:  Why Are Tabby Cats So Friendly? (Genetics, Environment).

How Can You Tell How Big Your Cat Will Get?

In order to tell how big your cat will get, you should consider cat breed type, cat gender, the physical attributes of the cat’s parents, and how much you feed your cat. In addition, it is a good idea to ask your veterinarian their opinion on how large your cat will get.

It would be best to look closely at how much you are feeding your cat because overfeeding could lead to feline obesity. However, if you do your research and dial in the right amount of calories to feed your cat, you should be able to predict what weight your cat will maintain.

Your veterinarian should be able to help you figure out how big your cat will get. First, they will regularly weigh your cat as you bring it in for checkups. Then, depending on your cat’s age and maturity, they should be able to help you figure out when your cat has stopped growing.

One large cat breed is the Maine Coon.  To learn more about the Maine Coon check out my article:  Will A Maine Coon Kill Chickens? Best Reasons Why.

Why is My Tabby Cat So Fat?

Tabby cats may gain weight easily if they are overfed or under-exercised. Cats love food and will overeat if allowed to graze often. If the weight gain is drastic or sudden, your Tabby may be experiencing a medical problem. 

There are four main reasons a tabby cat will get fat:

  • Overeating.  These cats will eat up to four or five times a day if given a chance. They enjoy any food, including human and cat food. In addition, they often have a huge appetite and tend not to get full after eating, so they’re known to overeat. Their natural instinct is to eat when food is available, so keeping them on a regular feeding schedule is vital to avoid overeating.  
  • Not exercising.  Ordinarily, tabby cats are adopted by humans and live in enclosed homes. Because they’re not roaming about outside, they don’t usually get enough exercise, contributing to weight gain.
  • Medical problems.  Keep in mind that if the weight gain is sudden and noticeable, you should check with a veterinarian who can screen for diabetes, pest infestation in the GI tract, or some other medical problem.
  • Depression.  Because many tabby cats live inside, they may experience loneliness and boredom, which can cause them to become depressed and take in too much food. In addition, as your cat ages, they may become more likely to gain weight. Older tabbies may become lazy and lethargic. Depressed cats don’t move around as much and, therefore, gain weight. 

Besides food, your Tabby cat will need water.  To learn more about the relationship between Tabby cats and water, check out my article:  Do Tabby Cats Like Water? (Swim, Bath, Drink).

Do Tabby Cats Like To Be Held?

Most domestic tabby cats like being held and cuddled. However, the breed is a better determinate of how affectionate a cat is. Tabbies have a reputation of being loved and needing love because they’re the most common type of cat.

Tabby cats are friendly and lovable and get along with people and other animals. If a tabby is homeless, it probably won’t be so for long. They tend to be very pleasant and will win you over with their charm to get snuggles and affection. 

If you are holding a cat (even a Tabby cat), you may get cat hair on you if it sheds.  To understand if Tabbies shed, check out my article:  Do Tabby Cats Shed? (6 Ways To Limit Cat Shedding).

What Is the Largest Cat Breed?

The largest cat breed is the Maine Coon.  The Maine Coon frequently weighs more than 20 pounds and is a strong and long cat.  The largest cat on record was a Maine Coon named Barivel.  Maine Coons use their bodies to their advantage as they are excellent hunters.

According to Purina, the Maine Coon Barivel was on record as a Guinness World Record holder for the longest cat.  Maine Coons are frequently born as Tabbies, and I can only imagine that their Tabby coat pattern helps them camouflage when they hunt their prey.

Sometimes larger cats will even bully dogs.  To understand if Tabby cats will like dogs check out my article:  Do Tabby Cats Get Along With Dogs? (Breed Matters Most!).

Keeping Your Tabby Cat at a Healthy Weight

Tabby Cat

Cat owners should be responsible for ensuring their pets are healthy and engaged with the world around them. So keep an eye on your Tabby cat to see if it appears overweight.  Some ideas for keeping your Tabby at a healthy weight include the following:

  • Make sure they get exercise. Give your cat some activity by taking them for a walk on a leash with a harness. It’s possible to train cats to walk on a leash with a harness, especially at a young age. (A collar alone won’t suffice!) Be sure to avoid dogs and remove the harness as soon as you return. You can provide indoor exercise by spending 15-20 minutes of playtime with balls, plastic mice, feathers, and other playthings. 
  • Keep them stimulated. Indoor cats may tend to get bored and restless, which can contribute to overeating. Opening window blinds provides easy entertainment for your indoor tabby cat, as they enjoy watching the world outside. Switch out their cat toys occasionally to provide a variety for them. You can also purchase cat trees or perches, which are usually made of carpet to encourage scratching. 
  • Feed on a regular schedule (no unlimited food/free-feeding) and limit treats. Remember that only 10-15% of your cat’s diet should be composed of treats, and it’s best if you combine treats with exercise. For example, hide the treats and encourage your cat to look for them. This provides entertainment and exercise. You can also try replacing dry food with canned, which will have more protein and fewer carbohydrates.
  • Take them regularly to the vet for checkups. Regular checkups ensure your cat is healthy and at a good weight for its breed and gender. 

With regard to cat exercise, I mentioned walking your cat on a harness and leash.  To learn more about this, check out my article:  Are Cat Harnesses Cruel? (Complete Analysis).

How Big Can an Orange Tabby Cat Get?

Orange Tabby cats can get big, but their exact size will be based on the cat breed, gender, exercise level, physical attributes of their cat parents, and amount of food.  Orange Tabby is a coat pattern, so merely being an Orange Tabby will not determine cat size. 

Orange Tabby Cat Size ChartDescription
Cat BreedOrange Tabby is only a coat pattern.  So, what is the cat breed?  Different cat breeds will be different sizes.
Cat GenderMale cats will generally be a little larger than female cats.
Exercise LevelHow much exercise does your cat get in a day?
Cat Parents Physical AttributesHow large were your cat’s parents?  This can be hard to determine if your cat is not purebred. 
Amount of FoodHow much is the Orange Tabby being fed?  Is the cat being overfed?

How Big Will a Mackerel Tabby Cat Get?

To determine how big a Mackerel Tabby cat will get you must consider the cat breed, the cat parents’ physical characteristics, activity level, and how much is being fed.  Mackerel Tabby is a coat pattern which is a characteristic that will not determine a cat’s size.

Mackerel Tabby Cat Size ChartDescription
Cat BreedWhat is the cat breed?
Cat GenderMale or Female?  Male cats are typically a bit larger.
Activity LevelHow much activity does your cat get?
Cat Parents Physical CharacteristicsWhat was the size of the cat’s parents?  You should know this if the cat is purebred.  
How Much Is Being Fed?Too many calories may lead to an overweight cat.

How Big Will a Male Tabby Cat Get?

To determine how large a male tabby cat will get you should consider how large the cat’s parents were, cat breed, exercise level, and daily food intake.  Male Tabby cats will probably be a little larger than female Tabby cats that are the same exact breed of cat.

Male Tabby Cat Size ChartDescription
Cat Parent SizeHow big were the cat’s parents?
Cat BreedProbably the most important factor.  What cat breed is the male Tabby cat?
Exercise LevelHow much exercise does the cat get?
Daily Food IntakeHow many calories is the cat eating a day?

Types of Tabby Cats

This table shows the different types of Tabby cats and their physical descriptions.

Types of Tabby CatsDescription
Mackerel TabbyCurved stripes and spots.  Most Common.
Classic TabbyCurved bands with bullseye mark on side.
Ticked TabbySalt-and-pepper look, Agouti hairs.
Spotted TabbySimilar to Mackerel but has spots instead of stripes.
Orange TabbyOrange and white.  80% of Orange Tabbies are male.

Conclusion

Video: Tabby Cats 101

Tabby cats are friendly and make extremely loving and intelligent pets, but they may overeat if given too much food. Depending on their breed and gender, they may become overweight if given too much food and too little exercise. Taking good care of your Tabby involves keeping them at a healthy weight, feeding them on a schedule, and ensuring they get enough exercise. 

I know all this firsthand because I have a Tabby cat myself.  Her name is Charlotte, and she is a Domestic Shorthair cat, which is commonly a Tabby.  I take time to ensure I am feeding my Tabby the right amount of food each day to ensure I am not overfeeding her.  It is important to me to set my cat up to be healthy because I want her to live a long life.

This is the dry cat food that I feed my cat off Amazon (affiliate link):  Here is the dry cat food that I feed my cat!

This is the wet cat food that I feed my cat off Amazon (affiliate link):  Here is the wet cat food that I feed my cat!

I ensure that I feed my Tabby cat the right amount of calories each day to keep her at an ideal weight. Otherwise, I might overfeed her and then I will end up needing to put her on a diet.  I’d like to avoid my cat dieting, so taking an interest into her nutrition has been a good idea.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out a few more:

  • Are Domestic Shorthair Cats Hypoallergenic? (Allergy Talk):  Click Here.
  • Why Are Persian Cats So Expensive? (With Average Cost):  Click Here.
  • How Much Do American Shorthairs Cost? (Best Details):  Click Here.

Here are some of my favorite cat products

In addition to checking out some other More Meows articles, I hope you’ll check out some of my favorite cat products as well.  These are affiliate links, so if you end up using them, I’ll get a commission at no extra cost to you.  These are the products I really do find most helpful.

Litter Box:  I started out with normal, traditional litter boxes for my cat.  Then, I tried this automatic litter box on Amazon (affiliate link), which helped reduce the litter upkeep.  Finally, I am now a believer in the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on Amazon (affiliate link).  This robotic litter box is not for everyone based on the price tag, but for me the benefits (very little upkeep, works efficiently, clean, mobile app) far outweighed the cost. 

My Cat’s Litter-Robot 3 Connect (with night light on) – See the link above the photo!

Cat Tree:  I have purchased a couple of this Amazon Basics Cat Tree on Amazon (affiliate link).  My cat spends a lot of time on and around this cat tree, which I position near my sofa.  She uses the scratching posts on this cat tree multiple times a day, which means she is not scratching the sofa instead.

Cat Water Fountain:  I love this cat water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link).  There are three main benefits to having a water fountain like this for your cat.  The first benefit is that it keeps water running so that my cat doesn’t need to drink still water.  The second benefit is that it filters the water.  The third benefit is that my cat uses it – keeping my cat hydrated is important.

Christopher Carlson

I have an Domestic Shorthair Tabby named Charlotte. She is full of energy when she isn't sleeping most of the day. I share what I learn about cats on this site.

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