Get to know the Tuxedo – a ‘smartly’ dressed cat

Tuxedo cats: Bailey (right) and Jack (left).

Combined ShapeCaption
Tuxedo cats: Bailey (right) and Jack (left).

By definition, a tuxedo is a single-breasted or double-breasted jacket worn by men – often with loud protests, in the case of my husband, Ed – to semiformal events.

The tuxedo is a dignified, confident look. People say tuxes bring out big personalities.

The tuxedo is also the pattern color for many cat breeds including Persian, Manx, Scottish Folds, Norwegian Forest Cats and American Shorthair. These felines can be long or short hair, fluffy, shaggy or silky.

These cats get their name from being mostly black and white or gray and white, as if they were wearing a tuxedo. According to, there are ginger-colored tuxies and reverse tuxies – cats who are white on top and black on the bottom.

These felines can also have black coloring around their eyes with a white chin or nose as if wearing a mask. Most tuxedo kitties have white whiskers and green eyes.

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Our family’s 1-year-old cat Pippin (Pip) is a tuxedo. Pips sports a gray jacket, well-defined mask, white whiskers and yellowish-green eyes.

Pip has personality plus. He struts around our house like he owns the place, much to the chagrin of our 6-year-old Lab, Teddy.

According to, many tuxedo cat parents believe these kitties are super smart.

Pip comes when we call, brings us toys to play with and knows to jump on the porch’s ottoman when we say “would you like to go outside?” so we can put on his harness and leash. And forget about privacy. He has figured out how to open the double doors to the master bathroom.

Kathy and John, who have lived in Dayton for 24 years, are also tuxedo cat parents. They had two of the “well-dressed” kitties. Bailey, a black-and-white tuxedo, passed away at age 19. Currently, they are living with Jack, a 13-year-old gray-and-white tuxedo.

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Both cats were adopted from the then-Oakwood Petco, Baily in 1999 and Jack seven years later. Kathy says they adopted both because of their personalities. Through the years, they learned just how smart the two dapper felines were.

Bailey was a textbook example of the tuxedo cat. His coloring was symmetrical, as if someone had painted on the black and white colors. According to Kathy, he had a triangle of white on his face that encompassed his nose and mouth. His white legs resembled a horse’s fetlock.

The feline was wicked smart. Bailey came when he was called. He could open doors by stretching to his full height and turning the doorknob. He opened the basement’s bi-fold door by pushing his head against it to go down the stairs. If the door was closed when he wanted to come up, he’d stick his paw underneath, near the middle break, and pull until it opened.

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The smart tuxedo would look directly at Kathy when she was speaking to him and seem to understand every word she said. If she said, “Go wait for me by your water dish in the mudroom,” he would.

Kathy says Bailey was the most intelligent cat she had ever known. After learning about his antics, I think she could be right. At the very least, Bailey wore his “tuxedo” well.


1. Sylvester: Warner Brothers’ “Looney Tunes”

2. Penelope: Warner Brothers’ “Looney Tunes” (Pepé Le Pew’s love interest)

3. “The Cat in the Hat”: Dr. Seuss

4. Mr. Mistoffelees: T.S. Eliot’s poem, the musical “Cats”

5. Tom: Hanna-Barbera’s “Tom and Jerry”

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals, all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

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