Tabby

a cat, so called because the brindlings of the tabby were thought to resemble the waterings of the silk of the name. (French, tabis; Italian, etc., tabi; Persian, retabi, a rich figured silk.)

Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima reclined.

Gay.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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