Black and White Cats


From Sylvester (the cartoon cat) to Socks (the presidential cat), black and white cats are some of the most famous in the world.

In fact, they are the most desired and popular cats on several cat-themed and cat adoption websites.


A Coat Pattern Only

Black and white cats do not belong to any specific breed, and there is no Cat Fanciers’ Association registered cat breed that is required to be black and white.

Rather, there are a variety of cat breeds, both purebred and random-bred (mixed), that display this color scheme.

Thus, black and white is simply a color combination, not a specific breed.


Common Titles for Black and White Cats

Black and white cats are often referred to as bicolor or piebald cats, which are defined as cats that have white fur and fur of one additional color, usually black or tabby.

There are at least fifteen different recognized bicolor pattern variations, all with different nicknames.

American Shorthair, Persian, British Shorthair, and Manx are just a few of the purebred cats that commonly display a black and white color palette.

Tuxedo cat photo

Photo by E Photos

“Tuxedo” cats typically have the appearance of wearing a tuxedo, with all-black or mostly black faces and white patches on their chests, paws, and belly.

Tuxedo cats are sometimes called “jellicle” or “billicart” cats, for they were named this in T.S. Eliot’s book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Both long and short-haired cats can be tuxedo cats, and while the majority of them are mixed breed, some purebred cats qualify as tuxedos, too.

The American Shorthair, American Curl, Scottish Fold, Persian, Oriental, and Norwegian Forest Cat are just a few of the purebred cats which can feature a tuxedo coat pattern.

Turkish van cat photo

Photo by NoirKitsuné

Turkish Van cats are a rare breed, originally developed in the United Kingdom.

With semi-long hair, they display what is known as the “Van pattern” of bicoloring.

This pattern was named after them and is characterized by an all white body with black splotches between the ears and a black tail. 

Cow Cat photo

Photo by koziro

One of the most memorable, odd, and humorous types of bicolor cats is referred to as the “moo cat” or the “cow cat,” since its markings often resemble those of a cow.

They are an in-between variation of two recognized bicolor patterns, the “mask-and-mantle” and “cap-and-saddle.”

A cat with a “mask-and-mantle’ pattern will feature white limbs with a black tail, wide black stripe across the length of the central back, and a black face.

The “cap-and-saddle” variation features a white face and body with black ears, a black tail, and a long black path resembling a saddle on the central back.

Cow cats“will have some combination of both of these patterns, and they are usually short-haired.

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