The Silver Tabby British Shorthair cat

The silver tabby British Shorthair is a very stylish creature. Discover the variety of silver tabby patterns.


silver tabby British Shorthair kittens for sale

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.

*We have classic silver tabby and spotty kittens available soon*

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. 

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

Mackerel silver tabby British Shorthair kittens for sale

Think of Tigger! Mackerel tabbies are beautiful, stripey cats a little like zebras. The original Whiskas cat is a black silver mackerel tabby. Black silver mackerel tabbies are a real favourite of ours.

The Spotted 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 spotties can look almost like mackerels.

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 

Silver tabby British Shorthair bicolour

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.  Read more about the British Shorthair Bicolour.

The blue tabby

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

During the year, we have silver tabbies in Classic, Spotted and occasionally in Mackerel patterns. Find out if we have any silver tabby British Shorthair kittens available.

Looking for another colour? 

- the blue British Shorthair 

- the Bicolour British Shorthair 

- the colourpoint British Shorthair 

Remember - sometimes the kitten chooses the human!