All domestic cats have the tabby patterning gene apparently, originating from the African wild cat. The pattern is a camoflage which works well in a treed environment, but in most domestic situations is fairly irrelevant for stealth and is more decorative.
The dark lines running from the eyes toward the back are called the 'tabby mask' also known as an "M" with several folkloric tales around their origin. Besides striped tabbies (called 'mackerel', like the fish.) there are blotched tabbies, spotted tabbies, and ticked tabbies.
The name tabby is believed to have come from the word atabi a type of silk spun in the Attabiah region of Baghdad. This silk was exported in large quantities to the British Isles where it was noticed how similar the stripped pattern was to the coat of the tiger cat. These tiger cats soon started to be called tabbi cats and later tabby cats