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Are Tuxedo Cats Aggressive? Facts & Common Behavior

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

angry or yawning looking black and white tuxedo cat

Cats have long been considered classy and above reproach, but we cat parents know the real truth: They can be just as silly and hilarious as any pet!

But what about tuxedo cats? After all, they look like they are wearing a tuxedo, so surely, they are always calm and refined?

It turns out that tuxedo cats tend to be more aggressive than other cats!

Let’s discuss tuxedo cats in more detail, including what exactly a tuxedo cat is and how aggressive they are.

Click below to jump ahead:

What Are Tuxedo Cats?

They aren’t cats wearing tuxedos, but technically, they could be! Tuxedo cats are bicolored black-and-white cats that have a specific coat pattern. They can be of nearly any breed, but in order to be considered a tuxedo cat, they must be predominantly black (or sometimes gray) with jaunty white whiskers and white on their chin, chest, belly, and paws.

Tuxedo Ragamuffin Cat
Image Credit: Kill_Baal, Shutterstock

Are Tuxedo Cats Aggressive?

In a 2015 study, researchers used 1,274 surveys that cat owners had filled in online to determine if there was a link between coat color and aggressive behavior1.

They found that black-and-white—as well as gray-and-white—cats can react aggressively toward humans in three different settings:

  • During everyday interactions
  • During veterinary visits
  • When being handled

That sounds like it’s almost at any time! The researchers also found female tortoiseshells, calicos, and torbies (tortoiseshell tabbies) to be aggressive in these situations.

However, it’s likely that there are many tuxedo cat owners out there vehemently disagreeing with this. It’s not fair to paint every cat breed—or cat with a specific coat color—with the same brush.

Unlike dogs, cats have primarily been bred for appearance and not as much for temperament. A 2019 study found that there are inheritable behavior traits among breeds, but since much of what makes up a cat’s personality can be quite individual, it’s not likely that every tuxedo cat is aggressive2. Also, the tuxedo is not a breed but a coat color, so the chances of all black-and-white cats being aggressive are slim.

Here are more findings:
  • The cats that were ranked highest for aggressive behavior were the black-and-white cats. Following tuxedos, calicos and gray tuxedos were next in line for aggression.
  • Tuxies also topped the scale for cats that don’t like being handled by people unless it is on their own terms.
  • The cats considered easygoing and docile were tabbies and all-black and all-gray cats.
  • Torties were considered the moodiest of all coat colors.
  • Grey-and-white cats were the most likely to react aggressively during a visit with the veterinarian.

Are Tuxedo Cats Affectionate?

Tuxedos are known for having a little cattitude, but they are also known to be quite loving. In general, tuxies are spunky and affectionate, but according to the study, they only want to be handled on their own terms, which just sounds like most cats.

So, like aggressive behavior, whether a tuxedo is affectionate depends on the individual cat and their environment and upbringing.

tuxedo cat is smiling
Image Credit: slidesl, Shutterstock

Top 6 Facts About the Tuxedo Cat

Tuxies are gorgeous and interesting cats, so we want to give you more information about these rather distinguished felines.

1. Not All Tuxedo Cats Are Black and White

While most tuxedo cats are black and white, it’s the pattern that makes them a tuxie. They are considered tuxedo cats as long as they are predominantly one color (like gray or orange) and have the specific white markings (white chin, chest, belly, paws, and whiskers).

tuxedo cat in the tree
Image Credit: bookwurmee, Pixabay

2. Tuxedo Cats Can Be Male or Female

If you’re a lover of all things cat, you’ve probably heard that calico and tortoiseshell cats are genetically almost always female and that ginger cats are predominantly male.

Maybe it’s the tuxedo look, but while they are often mistaken to be mostly male, they are just as likely to be female.

3. Tuxedo Cats Can Be Almost Any Breed

Since the black-and-white coloring is just a coat pattern and not a specific breed, many different breeds of cats can be tuxies. Maine Coons, British Shorthairs, American Curls, Persians, and even Sphynxes can all be tuxedos.

Tuxedo Ragdoll cat in the garden
Image Credit: Donna_la, Shutterstock

4. A Tuxedo Cat Doesn’t Need a Tuxedo Parent

The tuxedo doesn’t need a tuxedo parent; they just need to inherit a black gene and a white spotting gene. So, if one parent gives the offspring the white spotting gene and the other parent gives the black gene, the kitten can be born a tuxedo even if neither of the parents are tuxedos.

5. Many Tuxedo Cats Have Been Owned by Famous People

There’s no actual proof of some of these famous cat owners, but it’s said that Ludwig van Beethoven, Sir Isaac Newton, and William Shakespeare all owned tuxedo cats!

The Clintons owned a tuxedo named Socks during their time in the White House, which was a rescue cat that Chelsea Clinton adopted.

A tuxedo almost became the mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. His name was Tuxedo Stan, and he was even endorsed by Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper! Sadly, he didn’t get into office.

Back in 1998, a tuxedo cat named Sparky was the richest cat in the world, as he inherited $6.3 million when his owner passed away.

tuxedo cat
Image Credit: Esin Deniz, Shutterstock

6. Tuxedo Cats Are Not Expensive or Rare

Unless you’re buying a purebred tuxedo like a Maine Coon, regular mixed-breed tuxedos are not hard to find and shouldn’t be expensive. If you find a breeder with a tuxedo telling you differently, look for your cat elsewhere.

In fact, since tuxedos are quite common, you can easily find one at your local animal shelter or rescue organization, so why not adopt a tuxie?


So, are tuxedo cats aggressive? It’s possible that they’re more persnickety than cats that are all black (which are seen as the sweetest cats), but it does depend on the individual cat.

Also, in that study linking them to aggressive behavior, we don’t know the breeds of the tuxedo cats that were a part of the survey. It’s more likely that the breed of the tuxedo cat might have influenced their behavior and not just because they were tuxedos.

At the end of the day, coat color doesn’t really matter. Caring for your cat and keeping them healthy and happy for their entire lifetime is far more important.

Featured Image Credit: CameronGallant, Shutterstock

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