close up portrait of the face of a tabby mane coon with huge whiskers

Long Haired Tabby Cat – A Buyers Guide!

Are you interested in adopting a long-haired tabby cat and want to know more about these fluffy cats? Read on to find out all about these cats – how long they live, their rarity, cost, colors and patterns, personality, and which common breeds feature them. 

Find out if a long hair tabby kitten is going to be the ideal cat for you!

What Breed Is A Long-Haired Tabby Cat

Many people think that tabby cats or indeed, long hair tabby cats are a breed. The truth is they are not a specific cat breed but they can be a variation of a breed! 

Let me explain. A tabby cat is a cat with a coat that has a tabby pattern. Purebred cats such as Persian cats can have a tabby patterned coat – indeed the word tabby is believed to originate from Persia, but a cat of mixed, unidentifiable breeding can also have a tabby patterned coat and be a tabby cat!

Likewise, long-haired cats can be purebred or can be domestic longhair cats. Some breeds like the Maine coon are considered to be long hair cats but additionally, a pair of shorthair cats of a non-specific breed can produce longhair kittens – these kittens would be domestic longhair cats!

So, long haired tabby cats are not a specific breed. A pair of cats of indistinct heritage and mixed breeding can produce a long hair fluffy tabby cat – but a purebred Persian or Maine Coon can also be a long haired tabby cat! 

This is important to understand because breeders may charge significant money for a purebred long-hair tabby whereas a domestic longhair tabby of no specific breed may hold little sale value except for that arising from potential novelty value. 

Additionally, some pure breeds are coveted for temperament and other characteristics, so if you want a long hair tabby with a certain type of temperament you may have to pay more for a tabby from a specific breed known for the characteristics you seek!

long haired tabby cat outdoors

Are Long Haired Tabby Cats Rare

So, if a long haired fluffy tabby cat can be a mixed breed or a pure breed there must be loads of them? They can’t be rare at all? Well, you would think so…..but life is never simple!

For instance, it is believed (but not proven, as counting feral cats is particularly difficult) that there are 400 million house cats on the planet (world atlas). Of these, as many as 60-70% are tabby cats, the rest being solid color, bi-color, tri-color, or color-pointed cats. 

That means there are literally over 200 million tabby cats wandering around the place! But, how many are long haired? Well, this is where the odds drop off dramatically. 

Long hair is a recessive gene in cats meaning that for cats to express long hair they have to inherit a long hair gene from each parent. So, a pair of long haired parents will produce longhair offspring, and a pair of shorthair parents that both carry the recessive longhair gene may produce a kitten with longhair. The fact that long hair is a recessive gene is believed to have led to the fact that only 10% of all the cats on the planet have long hair. 

So, some very rough maths would lead you to believe that worldwide there must be literally 20 million long-haired tabby cats walking around the place! Sounds like a lot – these cats are not rare! But hold on, let’s look at the big picture. 

There are thought to be 75 million cats living in the USA, which means potentially 48 million are tabby cats, and maybe 4.8 million are long haired of all breeds…

Now the USA has more housecats than any other country in the world (China and Russia bring in second and third places) and with a human population of 329 million people, I am afraid you are going to have to just duke it out amongst yourselves if you want one of the 4.8 million long hair tabby cats in the USA! Simply put, considering 45.8 million US homes have at least one cat (actually averages 1.8 per home) – you ain’t got enough to go around if you all want one! These cats are not as common as you might assume!

domestic long haired tabby cat reclining outdoors

Long Haired Tabby Cat Colors And Patterns

Ok, so we are not blessed with big numbers with these cats, is there anything else to consider which might narrow choices down even more? Well, yes! Tabby cats come in different patterns and colors!

So if you are really picky you might struggle to find exactly what you want if you have pre-formed requirements!

For example, all tabby cats are one of five predominant patterns – mackerel or striped, classic, ticked, spotted, and orange. In addition to this, you then have various color options – grey, brown, black, blue, cream, lilac, and red.

So, if you want a Persian longhair tabby cat that has mackerel tabby patterns and is grey on black – you may be looking for some time! They are possible, are recognized under the breed standard, and appear at shows – but can you find one when you want – no!

Again, what about a long-haired orange tabby cat of any breed or pattern type? Perfectly possible – rare as rocking horse droppings! That cat, if you can find one, is going to cost big bucks! And if they are a show cat breed with papers – get ready for a huge bill!

Basically, even amongst long hair tabby cats, there are lots of pattern and color variations. If you want a black on grey classic long hair tabby cat or an orange ticked longhair tabby cat or simply a black and brown striped long hair tabby they potentially exist – whether they are available when you look is another matter.

Long Haired Tabby Cat Breeds

So, we know that long hair tabbies can be produced spontaneously within the normal, mixed genetics cat population just as a variation of nature, but what about if you want a cat with specific attributes beyond their hair length and their coat pattern? 

In these instances, you are going to most likely want to pick a recognized cat breed broadly known for specific characteristics. But which cat breeds might offer a long hair tabby version because not all breeds will? 

Well, we have compiled a list of six breeds that are popular, common, and come with defined characteristics that might fit the bill. Check these out…  

Maine Coon Tabby Cat

long haired Tabby maine coon sitting on a stone wall

The Maine coon cat breed is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. These cats are renowned for their enormous size. Maine coon cats have held numerous size records for the last 20 years but beyond size, they are also known for their shaggy coat that is neither short nor long but a mid-length. Ear tufts and a shaggy mane, as well as size, give these cats a very distinctive look!

As characters, they are known to be sociable, family-orientated cats that can get on with other pets and are intelligent to such a degree that they can be trained and are often thought to be slightly dog-like in their intelligence and manner. They like water and are one of the cat breeds that is known for being a swimming cat. So these guys are unusual.

In terms of colors and patterns, brown/black tabby colors and classic or mackerel patterns are common. Fur can also come in silver varieties which is when the hairs are colorless nearest the skin. 

Norwegian Forest Cat

A charcoal silver and white long hair tabby norwegian forest cat sitting in a garden staring to camera

The Norwegian Forest Cat is smaller than the Maine coon but still considered to be a larger cat compared to other breeds. 

This breed is a natural breed that has evolved over time without human interference. It is a fluffy, semi-long hair cat that has a coat that is ideally suited for outdoor life in a nordic country – cold!

They have been around forever – it is believed that their lack of caution around water and water repellent outer coats saw these cats do active duty on Viking longships keeping vermin at bay and they have been living on Norwegian farms since time immemorial.

They have a different temperament to Maine Coon cats – they are friendly and social within the family environment and are extremely playful, able to get on with other pets, and appreciate human company – but they can be shy and standoffish with strangers. They like to climb, and occupy high spots, both indoors and out which may be part of the reason for the forest cat moniker – they like going up trees!

These cats come in all color and coat pattern varieties apart from colorpoint so a tabby, long hair option should be possible.

Persian Cat

Grey and white tabby persian cat sitting next to garden planter on a sunny day

Persian cats have been cat show favorites since the very first cat shows in the 1800s. This popular breed only comes in a long hair variant and is thought to date back millennia. As the name suggests they originate in ancient Persia.

Persians are recognizable by their long luxurious coat and flattened face. They have a very distinctive look thanks to the flatter face which is all the cuter for the rounded eyes these cats tend to have. 

They are a mid-size cats compared to other breeds and tend to be favored as solid, single colors and patterns, but purebred cats are recognized and certified with tabby markings.

Tabby Persians are recognized in classic, mackerel, and spotted tabby patterns. They have all the standard tabby colors but are disqualified from the breed if they exhibit any white patches on their tabby coat.

Persians are generally considered to be low-energy cats that like to hang out at ground level. Basically, many people consider them to be lazy and prone to feline obesity due to their lack of activity – but this can work out well if you want a lap cat or a cat for an older person. 

They are social within the family environment and very loyal cats – they just can’t be bothered to spend all their time entertaining you and running around like loonies! They are regal cats at heart that like pampering and a laid-back lifestyle. If you want a cat for a home that is empty for a period of the day the Persian is a good choice. They won’t fret, they will just kick back and enjoy the peace and quiet with a nice snooze!

British Longhair Tabby 

cute british longhair tabby kittens. longhair grey tabby kitten and longhair chocolate tabby kitten with orange eyes

The British Longhair is rare outside of Europe. Basically, it is a long-haired sibling of the British Shorthair. The breed is essentially a combination of British Shorthair and Persian. The Persian was bred with the British shorthair after WW2 to try to improve the stock of the British Shorthair whose numbers had declined during the war period.

They are a muscular, powerful, stocky mid-sized cats with a dense semi-longhair coat. 

Their characteristics represent their lineage. On the one hand, they have the power and physique of the British Shorthair – a teddy bear of a cat, renowned for hunting skills and brought to the British Isles by the Romans to protect their military grain stores. On the other hand, they have a slightly shortened nose caused by the Persian influence and a semi-long coat also from Persian influence.

In attitude, they are more like the British Shorthair – like to be around the family environment without being in the center of it, like to watch over rather than dive in the action, favor some interaction and petting but will leave once they have had enough. Basically, slightly aloof but loyal, and an active hunter. The cat that is always around the home, but is not demanding and has its own lifestyle.

In terms of coat, the pattern is not important as it often can’t be determined due to the hair length and density, colors are all the usual tabby colors but the stand-out feature is the eye color – always copper, orange or deep gold – no blue or green permitted in this breed.

Oriental Longhair Tabby

The oriental longhair is a medium size cat with a mid-length, fine, silky coat. The oriental longhair is a sibling of the oriental shorthair which in turn, is essentially a non-colorpoint siamese cat. Basically, these cats are a siamese cat in all but coat color and type!

They have the typically siamese cat body – athletic, lithe, and slender. Their face and head is triangular with sloping oval eyes and larger ears. 

Personality-wise, they are intelligent, vocal, like to be the center of attention, and need company. They are active family cats but are not cats that do well living alone.

They come in a range of solid colors such as black, grey, white, chocolate, red and fawn, tortoiseshell patterns, and tabby patterns.

Oriental longhair tabby cats can come in classic, spotted, and mackerel patterns and a whole multitude of tabby colors including brown on black markings, blue on black markings, chocolate, red, and lilac.

If a Siamese cat is a breed you feel an affinity for but would like a longhair version with tabby markings this would be your first port of call.

Long Haired Tabby Cat Prices

long hair orange tabby cat sitting outdoors.

So how much are these fluffy tabby cats? Well, if they are available when you are actively seeking one then prices vary according to breed, certification status, active or nonactive certification, and distinctiveness of the kitten’s coat.

For example, in my geo-location right now there is a domestic longhair tabby cat (a mixed breed cat) with a brown tabby coat that has white patches on the chest and legs. It might be argued that the white patches detract from the kitten’s aesthetic, but this long-haired tabby kitten is available for £50 or $61. The kitten has had vaccines, is neutered and chipped – so has no other significant initial costs.

Alternatively, if you are interested in a specific breed then there is a whole variety of options.

An orange tabby Maine coon kitten with certified 5th generation parents and certified non-active (not for breeding but available for showing) is currently available for £1000 or $1200. A British Longhair tabby cross – £150 or $180, a British Longhair tabby kitten certified, active certification £900 or $1100. A Persian tabby kitten with no certification £550 or $665. A Persian tabby kitten with 4th generation parents and a nonactive certificate for £1000 or $1200.

As you can see there is some availability and choice but the price is affected by many factors. A pure breed that is certified active for breeding is considerably more expensive than a nonactive pure breed which is, in turn, more expensive than a purebred cat with no certs.  If your needs do not necessarily stretch to a show cat then a domestic longhair tabby kitten may be as inexpensive as $60.

Long Haired Tabby Cat Personality And Temperament

Woman holding a huge red tabby maine coon cat length ways in her arms. long haired tabby cats.

In general, long hair tabbies are not specifically known to have any specific temperament or personality traits. They have the same personality as many cats. 

Essentially, most cats’ personalities and temperaments are defined in kittenhood by their exposure to people and other cats and animals. A kitten that is exposed to people in the first few weeks of life and who sees its mother interacting with people will be socialized and may behave in a calm, accepting manner around people. 

A kitten that is not exposed to people in the early stages of life will end up becoming feral and will never be able to live with people – they will always feel stress around people and will not allow themselves to be handled by people voluntarily.

However, some specific breeds are known to have broad personality traits and distinct temperaments. 

Persians are known for being laid back and lazy cats, Maine coons are family cats that are intelligent enough to be trained and like being around people, other cats, and pets. A British longhair will be aloof but social with their family – but not needy, they appreciate their own time.

The best way to assess a cat’s personality is to actually go and interact with the animal. Assess the cat’s energy level, willingness to approach, acceptance of touch, willingness to interact and play, and willingness to approach male or female, young or older individuals – if you want a cat for your children you need a cat that is confident enough for the noisy interaction children will instigate.

Do They Shed?

Maine Coon Tabby Long Hair

A long hair tabby cat will shed hair. This can be problematic if you are someone who has allergies to cat dander or who is simply house proud and finds furnishings and clothing covered in cat hair to be off-putting!

Cats tend to shed hair in spring and autumn as they alternate between winter and summer coats, but if you have an indoor cat it may shed constantly year round. The shedding cycle is driven by changes in exposure to light – indoor cats can have their cycle messed up by artificial light meaning they consistently shed!

Long hair cats tend to have a longer hair life cycle than shorthair cats simply because growing long hair takes longer. This means the time between the emergence of a new hair and the shedding of the hair at the end of the cycle is longer. But, when the hair is dropped there is more volume due to the length of the hair.

Grooming a longhair cat several times a week may be the only way to reduce the volume of hair spread about your home – additionally, it is good for your cat’s coat and prevents hairballs that long hair cats are often more prone to than short hair cats!

How Long Do Long Hair Tabby Cats Live?

The simple answer is that these cats live the same lifespan as most other cats. Most indoor cats that are fed a sensible diet can average a lifespan of between 12 and 15 years although it is not unheard of for some cats to make their 20s!

Outdoor cats live shorter lives as they tend to be exposed to additional risks such as predation by foxes or coyotes, potentially road accidents, and exposure to environmental poisons and parasites that an indoor cat simply won’t have to deal with.