Cats come in a variety of breeds and colors with different markings. You may see cats with patterns, stripes, spots, white socks, or other distinctive markings, but there are consistencies in the patterns.
For example, most cats have the shadow of an “M” on their forehead, right above their eyes. While no one knows exactly why cats have this coat pattern, cats aren’t the only animals that have this. If you want to learn more about cat coat patterns, this article is for you!
Cat coloration and markings are defined by genes and appear before the hair develops. Even wild cats, like jaguars, leopards, and tigers, have defined stripe or spot patterns.
Tabby coat patterns are among the most common throughout cat breeds, but cats can differ in color patterns, from white and cream to black, brown, or gray. The forehead M is a standard aspect of tabby patterns, but it may be more apparent than others on specific coats and patterns.
Legends of the Forehead M
The tabby’s forehead M is prominent in folklore and shows up in various mythologies. Here are some of the known legends:
Based on biological research, animals may develop patterns for mating, to warn off predators, or to defend themselves. For example, a tiger’s stripes may help it blend into the surrounding environment and ambush prey. A peacock’s eyespot feathers create the look of many eyes, which scare off predators.
We may quickly assume a zebra’s stripes are for camouflage, but they don’t blend into the environment. In fact, a recent study revealed that zebra stripes may have evolved to disrupt the flight patterns of flies. Horses and zebras respond to flies very differently because of the threat of African fly species and disease.
According to the study, flies have no problem with stripes from a distance, but they fly past or bump into them up close. This may indicate that stripes disrupt the fly’s ability to land safely on zebras. It’s possible this is because their low-resolution eyes can’t interpret stripes effectively.
Despite thousands of years of evolution and numerous genetic variations, the tabby pattern is always expressed in domestic cats. It’s possible that we may learn the reason why tabby is so common among domestic breeds and why the signature M is expressed on its forehead.
The forehead M is a common marking for tabby cats and other types of cat patterns, but we don’t know the reason why. It’s possible that it’s a defense mechanism or provides some other evolutionary advantage, but either way, it’s a beautiful addition to the tabby cat that highlights its beautiful eyes.
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