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Does Massachusetts Have a State Cat? History & Contributions


Jun 1, 2023
State house, Boston, Massachusetts

In the realm of state symbols, people often admire majestic birds or vibrant flowers. But what about our feline friends? Yes, you read it right—cats!

Only three US states have official cats:1 Massachusetts, Maryland, and Maine. Massachusetts, specifically, is beloved for its state tabby cat, which followed a long history to its title. If you’re looking to read more about the state’s official cat, you’re at the right place.

Keep reading to discover how the beloved tabby became Massachusetts’ official cat.


What Is the State Cat of Massachusetts?

The tabby cat is recognized as the official state cat of Massachusetts. It holds a special place as a beloved companion and symbol in the state.

This designation acknowledges the significance of cats in the lives of Massachusetts residents. It also highlights their role in the state’s culture and communities. The recognition of the tabby cat as the state cat adds to the diverse array of state symbols of Massachusetts.

a tabby cat with collar and tag lying on the floor
Image Credit: Sydneymills, Shutterstock

History of the State Cat of Massachusetts

The history of the state cat of Massachusetts is relatively recent. In 2019, the Massachusetts House of Representatives bill chose the tabby cat as the official cat. The proposal recognized the significance of tabbies in the lives of Massachusetts residents.

House Bill 2593 sought to establish the tabby cat as a state symbol alongside other recognized symbols. That included the state bird and state flower. The tabby cat was chosen for its popularity among the state’s schoolchildren.

After its introduction, the bill underwent the legislative process. The process involved committee review and public hearings. The proposal also promoted responsible pet ownership, feline welfare, and controlling the stray cat population.

Eventually, the bill passed through the legislative process. On August 1, 2020, the Governor of Massachusetts signed it into law. Since then, recognizing the tabby as Massachusetts’ cat has brought joy to many cat lovers. It has also provided an opportunity to showcase the special qualities of tabbies. The designation serves as a promotion of the welfare of cats in Massachusetts and beyond.

State Cat’s Contribution to Massachusetts’ Identity

The state cat of Massachusetts contributes to its identity in many ways. For example, the tabby cat represents the unique cultural fabric of Massachusetts. By designating a state cat, the state acknowledges the special place cats have in its society.

Tabby cats are known for their companionship and affectionate nature. By embracing the tabby cat as the state cat, Massachusetts also emphasizes the importance of the human-animal bond.

The title of a state cat allows people to raise awareness about feline welfare issues. It can serve as a platform to promote local animal shelters and rescue organizations. Massachusetts can use its state cat status to advocate for cats’ well-being and proper care.

selective focus photo of gray tabby cat
Image Credit: Erik Jan Leusink, Unsplash

Plus, state symbols contribute to a sense of pride and unity among residents. The tabby cat symbol helps residents feel connected to their state and its identity. It provides a source of shared pride and fosters a feeling of belonging within the community.

State symbols can also be incorporated into educational initiatives. Schools in Massachusetts can use the state cat as a teaching tool to educate students about the significance of state symbols.



While the state boasts many symbols, the quest for an official cat had the most interesting story. It gained its title due to the wishes of the state’s schoolchildren. Also known as the official cat of the commonwealth, Massachusetts’ state cat is the adorable tabby.

The tabby contributes more to the state than you may think. The title of a state cat promoted efforts on animal welfare and conservation. Now that you know the significance of the tabby, you can appreciate it as the state’s official cat.

Featured Image Credit: David Mark, Pixabay

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