A coat of ginger swirl
Born to a Colorado barn cat, Athena’s days on the farm were limited when Kiersten Lockwood and her family learned of orange kittens being given away. Shortly after their visit to the farm, the Lockwoods found themselves home with a tabby kitten and Athena with a new family, bed and food.
Athena carries a strong Greek name, one of reason, wisdom and war, but she displays a gentleness with her soft, swirled, ginger-orange coat. She wears a distinguished “M” shape on her forehead just above her eyes which was thought by some to stand for either ‘Mau,’ the Egyptian word for ‘cat,’ the Virgin Mary, or Mohammed, who is said to have loved tabbies.
Tabby refers to a category of cats that are not a recognized breed. Tabby is the name to describe their markings on their coats. They are distinguished by five coat patterns: classic, mackerel, spotted, patched and ticked. It is thought that their origin started with the mackerel pattern, which is the natural coat pattern of the African wildcat. Athena is far from wild. She is easy going with a laid-back temperament, making her “a joy to hang with,” said Lockwood.
All orange cats are tabbies but not all tabbies are orange. In simple terms, tabbies are cats with stripes of various colors of white, brown, gray, cream, orange and/or black. Orange tabbies are known for their beautiful orange pigmentation due to a specific pigment known as pheomelanin, the same pigment that produces red hair in humans. Female orange tabbies are rare: only 20-25% are female, which makes Athena more unique and special to the Lockwoods.
Orange tabbies are known for being quite talkative and are so affectionate that they get a little cranky if they do not get the attention they desire. Athena will hide around new people but when it comes to the Lockwood family, she acts more like a guard cat, always keeping her eye on what everyone in the house is doing. “She is not a lap cat by any means but loves to be petted and brushed and starts purring very loudly when I get out her brush,” shared Lockwood.
Athena is very friendly and adventurous, and Lockwood loves that about her. She is also very playful, which is a common trait in tabbies. Athena’s favorite toys involve a red stuffed dog, a feathered toy, twist ties and annoying her older cat sister, Kitty. When she is not playing or being groomed, Athena may be found looking out the window.
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Kiersten Lockwood