Conscious Cat

August 17, 2009 13,979 Comments

“Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats

Posted by Ingrid

tortitude tortoiseshell cat personality

Tortoiseshell cats are named for their distinctive coloring – a combination of patches of black, brown, amber, red, cinnamon and chocolate.  The size of the patches varies from a fine speckled pattern to large areas of color.  The term “tortoiseshell” is used for cats with brindled coats that have few or no white markings.  Cats of this coloring with larger areas of white fur are called calicos. Sometimes, these colors present in lighter versions such as lilac or cream.  Torties with this lighter coloring are called dilute torties.  Occasionally, the typical tortoiseshell colors are also seen in a tabby (striped) pattern, and these cats are sometimes referred to as “torbies.”

Tortoiseshell cats are almost exclusively female.  Tortoiseshell and calico coats are the result of the interaction between genetic and developmental factors.  The occasional and very rare male tortoiseshell cat is the result of a genetic mutation.

In addition to their distinctive coloring, torties also have a reputation for unique personalities, sometimes referred to as “tortitude.”  They tend to be strong-willed, a bit hot-tempered, and they can be very possessive of their human.  Other words used to describe torties are fiercely independent, feisty and unpredictable.  They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr.  These traits are stronger in tortoiseshell cats than in calicos – it seems as though these traits are somewhat diluted with the addition of more white to the color scheme.

As of the writing of this post, I share my life with Amber*, and those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while have gotten to know her in her Amber’s Mewsings posts.  You will soon be able to read all about Buckley in Buckley’s Story – Lessons from a Feline Master TeacherThe photo above shows Buckley in the front, Amber behind her.

Prior to Amber and Buckley, there was another tortie in my life.  Virginia was the first office cat at the animal hospital I managed.  She was my introduction to torties, and my love affair with this particular type of cat began with her.  She, too, had the “tortitude” I so love about these particular cats.

Do you have a tortie or calico in your life?  Does she have “tortitude?”

*Sadly, Amber passed away on May 13, 2010, after a sudden, brief illness.  I now share my life with Allegra and Ruby, two tortoiseshell cats who have their own columns here on The Conscious Cat, titled Allegra’s World and Ruby’s Reflections.

Photo ©Ingrid King, all rights reserved

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13,979 comments to ““Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats”

  1. Bernie says:

    Hi everyone. Well I some of you know that Jay commissioned Bernadette Kazmarski, artist and writer to do a portrait of Steeler. Jay told you all he had did this. I told you all you would have to wait to see this beautiful piece of art, until Bernadette did her story on the portrait and Steeler. Well today she has blown me out of the water with a beautiful article with the portrait of Steeler and even showing the portrait I commissioned for Jay a couple of years ago for father’s day. Please everyone go to her Creative Cat.net and see her very fantastic works of art. I have waited for her to do her story before I would show the portrait. Bernadetter, you are one of the very beautiful and good people in this world. Thank you for being so special and bringing my Steeler to life with your words and portrait.
    http://thecreativecat.net/commissioned-portrait-steeler/#.VGRk8L5rXSc

    • Ingrid says:

      What a wonderful portrait! Bernadette has a unique ability to capture a cat’s spirit in her art. I know you’ll treasure this, Bernie.

      • Bernie says:

        Ingrid Bernadette captured the soul of Steeler. You are so right, this portrait is my greatest treasure. Bernadette gave me more than a portrait. She gave me the eyes of Steeler looking at me again.

    • Glen says:

      Wow, that is quite impressive.

      It is a wonderful talent to be able to create something like that.

      • Bernie says:

        Glen, Bernadette can work magic with her hands and eyes. She sees the depth of the soul and puts her heart and soul in all her work. She is so truly talented. And to think, this fabulous woman is our friend. Wow, how lucky we all are.

    • Jay says:

      Bernie, I just posted something on CC not knowing that you had seen Bernadette’s article. Might be redundant but I was so happy to surprise you.
      And you being speechless is like meeting an honest lawyer. Rare – real rare. :)

  2. Jay says:

    As many of you know, Bernie had a portrait of my animals done a few years ago by Bernadette Kazmarski – a famous artist in Pittsburgh.
    She had me holding Steeler and another of me holding Stirfry in the same painting. As you all know this is the only way those 2 Torties would ever get together. There are some cats with Tortitude but only a few where Tortitude is ingrained in every cell. Steeler and Kasey are such cats. Brooke almost as bad. And I know that any book on Tortitude would have Stir’s picture on the cover.
    Well, I had a picture of Steeler commissioned by Bernadette as a present to Bernie.
    It took a while until we were able to stop by and pick it up. I don’t get to travel out that way too often and Bernadette is so busy with Rescue groups, art exhibits and such.
    Well, in Oct. it finally happened and Bernie and I were able to travel to Carnegie and see 5 famous black cats and 2 fosters. Bernie was surprised to see a painting of Steeler and was speechless.
    Bernadette did a write up of this along with links to my painting and a trip to Virginia for Friends on CC to get together and meet Ingrid at a book signing.
    I placed some pics and a video on my FB page but here is a link to Bernadette’s article.

    http://thecreativecat.net/commissioned-portrait-steeler/#.VGTKyOktDIU

    • Bernie says:

      I know many of you have seen that fabulous work of art by Bernadette by now. Now let me say to you it is art, to me it is a priceless treasure, bringing my beautiful and loving Steeler in such a wonderful loving way to me to be the first face I see every day when I awaken and the last face I see before I turn off the light. Bernadette words show the love she had in her heart for Steeler because it comes through in her words, which she so eloquently put to paper. This was a labor of love, I know that Bernadette. Every stroke on Steeler’s portrait is done with a tender stroke. I will forever treasure that.
      Now for those of you who were not here a few years ago, let me explain a little of how we all met. Bernadette, Jay, Ingrid, Harry, Julie, Rachel, a child who shall not be tagged, and myself went to Ingrid’s book signing in VA. What was a group of strangers (most of us) became a group of lifetime personal friends. Little did I know then that I was going to need each of you so very much. These wonderful people became my beloved extended family. They were right with me, during the worst period of my life. A phone call away. And when I called, they were ready to just listen or talk. I will forever love you all. I think those words need to be told to your loved ones while you can and not when their time is gone. So I have always told this extended family I love them.

      Now for Jay. Jay, yes you can savor the “moment in time” when I truly was speechless. That may not happen again for many years to come.

      I cried as I read Bernadette’s words and the tears were mixed with sadness and happiness. I shall forever be grateful to Jay and Bernadette for this everlasting loving surprise.

      • Harry says:

        Let me just say that I have no idea what she’s talking about and I have never met any of these people :P

        (The best part of the experience was when my teenage daughter said, “Dad, let me get this straight… you’re going to meet people that you only know from the internet? Is that a good idea?”)

        • Marg says:

          That’s brilliant, Harry … (“Dad, let me get this straight… you’re going to meet people that you only know from the internet? Is that a good idea?”) …

        • Bernie says:

          Harry and Rachel Oh yes, this was a brilliant idea. :)

        • Jay says:

          Typical Lawyer – deny everything. :)

          I remember that meeting. I was so looking forward to trying the cat named food at The Stray Cat Café and having a mixed drink. Feral Hiss and Neuter Shooter were the names. But I was sick with Bronchitis and could barely eat. The drink was awful. But the Company was fantastic.
          I was threatened with bodily harm by 2 women so I must have had fun. :)

          And meeting the Shubin Cats was a highlight. I never knew a Tortie could lay near another cat without wanting to tear it apart.

      • Bernadette says:

        And I nearly got carsick from Bernie’s driving ;) !

        • Bernie says:

          Hush!! My driving is not all that bad, but then we did make good time. :)

        • Jay says:

          I have driven with Bernie many a time and never had a problem.
          ( I have to say most times I have gone that fast I was at 40,000 feet in a jet though)

          And Bernie did say that the conversation of Bernadette and her Garmin was entertaining.

      • Bernadette says:

        Thanks everyone for your compliments on Steeler’s portrait. You know my work comes from my heart, my art and my writing both, and it’s not a commitment I take lightly. Knowing all that Steeler meant in Bernie’s life made the portrait an emotional experience, and then writing about it a delicate undertaking, not to focus n the extreme sadness of the story, but the good that came to everyone from this one cat, to remember her and how special she was, and all the people she touched. it’s an honor to be a part of it.

        • Jay says:

          Steeler brought us all together. She was a truly wonderful cat. And who knew that a Tortie would have people all over the US cheering on a football team at the Super Bowl. People who never watched football. Until then I just watched it for the Commercials. Now I am a Steelers fan and have a Terrible Towel that Stirfry lay on every weekend.

  3. Jay says:

    Going thru some old folders

    Something Ingrid wrote back in 2011
    Just as nice now as it was then.

    A Cat Poem

    From Ingrid King

    Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor

    peering apprehensively into the cages.

    I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

    I meowed, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.

    As she read the sign on my cage I hoped that she

    wouldn’t feel sad about my past.

    I only have the future to look forward to

    and want to make a difference in someone’s life.

    She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.

    I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up

    against the bars to comfort her.

    Gentle fingertips caressed my neck;

    she was desperate for companionship.

    A tear fell down her cheek and

    I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

    Soon my cage door opened and

    her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

    I would promise to keep her safe.

    I would promise to always be by her side.

    I would promise to do everything I could

    to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

    I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.

    So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors.

    So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

    I rescued a human today.

    • Marg says:

      This is so beautiful – it makes me cry every time I read it. AND, I think it’s so true – I thought I had rescued Gracie – but I’m pretty sure she has rescued me as well.

      • Bernie says:

        Marg, I know Steeler rescued me. So I do know how you feel about Gracie. This is truly a beautiful writing. If you close your eyes you can see those precious little ones in there enclosures coming to the front to feel your touch. I would take them all if I could. Each and every one is precious.

    • Ingrid says:

      I did not write this, as attributed in the original post on my site, this poem was originally written by Janine Allen CPDT, Rescue Me Dog’s professional dog trainer. Janine’s passion is working with people and their dogs. She provides demonstrations for those who have adopted shelter dogs, lends email support to adopted dog owners that need information beyond our Training Support Pages, and aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding dog behavior to increase their adoptability. Copyright 2011 Rescue Me Dog; http://www.rescuemedog.org/. It is a beautiful poem. Please remember to share it with the proper attribution if you share it outside of this site as well.

    • Glen says:

      We rescued Gigi at the end of February 2013.

      She was already fully grown, approximately 5 years old. She had lived with a couple since she was about 8 months old. The wife had passed away and her husband was moving and could not keep her.

      He was desperate to have someone take her, otherwise he had no choice but to take her to a shelter.

      This 15 pound, quiet, long haired torti “gentle giant” would likely not have done well in a shelter environment.

      We met her and it was apparent she was a nice cat and would be a very compatible addition to the cat family.

      So, she was rescued and came home; her former owner was very thankful, we were please to give a nice cat a second chance.

      Her “people” were of French Canadian extraction, so they had named her Gigi, since that was her name for 4 plus years, there was no question that we would keep her name.

      At the time I was reluctantly aware of Kasey’s age and growing health issues. While I tried to be realistic about her condition, in March and April 2013, it seemed like some med.’s and special food had her coming around, gaining back weight and seeming to improve.

      Still I had no idea we would lose her within 2 1/2 months of adopting Gigi.

      It was very tough for me to lose my “soul cat”.

      However, having my big “fluffy” torti did did help somewhat through the whole, sad experience.

      So it would seem that, in a way, Gigi rescued me.

      • Jay says:

        True Glen.
        I think maybe our cats know when they will have to leave us and somehow send out the word that another cat or kitten should come to us. 2 Panthers had been to my house all summer and I had planned on trapping at least one. Never knew I would lose Tabby and Stirfry before Summer was over. And Onyx came to me the night of my heart attack.
        Justice and Liberty were sent by Steeler and Freedom had been around for a few years while Steeler was with Bernie.
        Never try to guess the Logic of a Tortie.

        • Glen says:

          Yeah, it is really sad to lose our soul gats, but it is funny how that seems to work out.

          Gigi and Kasey had about 2 1/2 months together. Kasey accepted her unlike she did with any other cat, like they were “sisters from different litters”. It was noticeable and very unusual.

          It is great that through the unfortunate losses that the Panthers came along. From your other post, it sounds like they are fitting in pretty well.

          • jay says:

            And the great this is that thru Ingrid’s blog that Kasey, Steeler and Stirfry will never be forgotten. They became Famous and known thru out the world as the peak of Tortitude. They also went from being a one family cat to Our family cats. I cried just as much when Steeler and Kasey passed as when Stirfry did. Now I know they are all together and waiting for us.

          • Bernie says:

            Glen and Jay, we all three have had the same, albeit slightly different, changes in our lives when our soul Torties left us. Each of us have seen somewhat of what happens when our soul kittens leave. They make sure in their own way, we find happiness but they will always be our only real soul Torties. I know Jay and I grieved the losses of these three very precious Torties, Stirfry, Kasey and Steeler. Even when I come to this site, I immediately remember our three. They gave so much to everyone without us realizing it until after they had to leave. We will forever remember these bigger than life, Torties.

        • Glen says:

          For Jay’s Panthers;

          https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=537280426325028&set=vb.467244503328621&type=2&theater

          This is from a very good cat adoption facility that has a great reputation in a town not too far from me.

          • Jay says:

            I loved it.

            Never had any panthers before ( Frankie as a Tuxie was my closest). Sharing Bernadette’s and Harry’s helped.
            But Onyx and Eclipse are so adorable. So glad I have them.

          • Glen says:

            The recently retired vet who founded the clinic we take the critters to lives a few miles away and belongs to the local chapter of the BMW Motorcycle Riders, that I joined after buying one, myself.

            He and his wife have 5 black cats of varying ages, all short hairs.

            They are very social and when we go there to visit, it seems there is always an audience of at least 2 or 3 little panthers. Once you pet the one, he believes that you should continue to pay attention to him.

  4. Glen says:

    It would seem that Tim is finally being put in his place.

    He is just over 2 years old but still very kitten-like; VERY active, plays like he is 12 weeks old and has no cat manners.

    He pesters the other cats constantly.

    They have allowed this, with a few exceptions.

    Taz was a former immature, hyperactive orange kitten, but he is now 16 years old with arthritis. The inner kitten in him still likes the idea of mixing it up with Tim, but at his age he tires of it. He is good with the little guy but when pushed far enough, he will use his 22 pound bulk to squash him once and a while, but not enough to curb his behavious.

    Gigi, the gentle giant would play with him, but would usually run away when things got rough, although there have been incidents like the recent one where she ran him over.

    It seems they have been reluctant to hurt the “kitten”.

    However, this week I have seen a change. Two days ago it seemed like Gigi started to channel a bit of Kasey.

    Tim was incessantly bothering Gigi but this time, she did not scoot away.

    She turned on him, adopted a glaring “torti stare”, went into a semi crouch and slowly started moving towards him in a menacing fashion.

    This puzzled and unnerved him, he did not seem to know what to do. He made a few ineffective swings at her but she just kept stalking him, he kept backing up. She wound up backing him up about 10 feet, then he ran out of the room.

    Yesterday morning, she assumed a Kasey tactic, “guarding”, she lay down in a “pinch point” in the house where everyone had to pass by to get from one place to another. When Tim would go by, she would swing at him. The latter she repeated the process of backing him up.

    She doesn’t pick on him all the time, it is just done occasionally when his is particularly annoying to her. He does desperately need to learn some cat manners and it appears she is finally teaching him some ;)

    • Ingrid says:

      Tortitude in action :-)

    • Jay says:

      You can only push a Tortie so far. Then look out !!!!!!!!!

      Diver and Frank are doing the same thing with Onyx. They play with him and use the weight advantage to keep him in control. Diver holds him down with one paw and will alternate between play biting on him or grooming kisses. He’ll run away but seconds later come back for more.
      Even my semi feral Eclipse has played with him.

      • Glen says:

        This morning, I noticed, she is still friendly and not hostile to him, but he has not been pestering her either; and pestering has been his normal routine up to last week.

        Moral of the story, awaken the “inner torti” at your peril ;)

        • Marg says:

          I have decided that I am part tortie … sometimes people awaken my “inner tortie” … and then they don’t know what’s hit them.

        • Bernie says:

          This statement is so true of even my life “awaken the “inner torti””. I know I have this along with my Torties. I think Steeler left me with the “Tortitude” of her spirit. Stirfy let me her Tortitude to defend t all costs attitude and Kasey let me with the “Tortitude” of never give up. Add all that together and “Yes I am definitely made of of “inter Tortie”.

      • Bernie says:

        Jay, Onyx is a baby. He is the all that is sweet and lovable. Diver, Frankie, Eclipse and yes even the Goddess, Arianrhod have taken to the little one. Now, Styx, is the opposite. She is acting out Tortitude at everyone equally. Although she is nothing like Stirfry, she shows she is a Torti. Every kitten in your house loves, plays, and gives kitty kisses to the little one, but not Styx. That Tortie is nothing to mess with. Not a Stirfry, Steeler or Kasey, but she has a jealous streak in her when it comes to you. She wants no one or no furry little ones around you.

        • Glen says:

          Well, this morning, Gigi ran Tim pretty hard.

          She isn’t mean to him but does use her 15 pound “presence” to get and keep him on the run.

          By the chirps and body language, it is all in fun, but she definitely stays in control of the situation unlike before.

          It would have been over before it started with Kasey, she did not grasp the concept of play fighting ;)

  5. Glen says:

    Well, I am sidelined for a bit, I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee, yesterday.

    It was for some, old injury from years ago. The discomfort used to come and go, but last spring, it came and stayed.

    I am typing this at 4:45 in the morning because my schedule is out of whack, plus the Tylenol 3’s wore off. They tell me it will get better.

    When I left for the hospital yesterday, Taz looked worried and tried ti follow me into the garage; something he normally doesn’t do.

    Anyway, the cats like me being up at this time and I expect I will have “nurse cats” today.

    • Ingrid says:

      I bet your cats will be wonderful nurses, Glen! Wishing you a quick recovery.

      • Glen says:

        Thanks, right now, it is Tims turn, he actually can sit, quiet, like an adult cat………………………well, sometimes.

    • Bernie says:

      Glen, It is great to hear you have gotten your knee taken care of. There is not better nurses, especially in the very early wee hours of the morning than the little kittens nurses and purrs. They will stay by you side all night and keep you company. Even the younger ones know when we are not up to par. Get better soon.

    • Marg says:

      Glen, best wishes for a speedy recovery. The anaesthetic will no doubt have some impact on you for a few days to come – so, rest, rest, rest and then rest some more. Let the cat nursing comfort you!

      • Glen says:

        Thanks

        This was the first time I have had a general anaesthetic since 1970. It was an odd experience, they put a mask over my face, it seemed like it wasn’t working, the next thing I knew, I was awake and they told me it was done.

        Right now, Taz is on watch, sleeping in the cat bead beside my chair.

    • Jay says:

      Glad to hear that you being well taken car of by the purrmedics. Gigi is going to be a good nurse, Taz and Tim are probable worried that you won’t be well enuf to go out for food. Not sure how Kasey would have been but Stir would look at me as to say ” Get better and get me dinner or your on the menu next”. ( actually Stir was always worried if I was unwell. )
      I know cat purrs always make you feel better.

      PS – I love anesthetic
      For my broken leg they cave me catnip for humans – I was on Cloud 9
      Did not feel a thing for hours.

      • Glen says:

        “( actually Stir was always worried if I was unwell. )”

        Yes, that’s the way Kasey was, she would stay with me most of the time when I was not well.

        • Jay says:

          So miss those Torties. They fought hard, played hard and loved hard.
          Stirfry had the heart of a lion and everyone knew it.

          • Glen says:

            Yeah, I think about them every day, and miss them.

          • Bernie says:

            Those three Torties were and always will be the Torties for the times. Steeler, Stirfry, and Kasey. Always protective and always ready to rumble so to speak. Missing them is as natural as breathing. They left huge sets of paw prints on ours and so many others hearts.

  6. Glen says:

    Comment on the snow storm in Buffalo NY.

    You may have heard in the news about this.

    We are so close, I can drive to the bridge to Buffalo in 10 minutes, from my driveway.

    The storm has missed here in about as close a miss as possible. We can see the storm clouds which are only about 5 miles at the most, south west of here. I can see them from the front window anf it has been like that for days.

    Lake Erie is still comparatively warm, capable of giving off water vapor, the unseasonally cold west wind have picked this up and dropped it on the east end of the lake, as snow. This band of snow has been there since Tuesday. It is starting to collapse roofs there.

    I feel bad for the people over there, we can get the same thing here, and have. All it takes is for the wind to shift a few more degrees out of the south west and we would be dealing with it here, too. We have 6 to 8 inches here at the most, a short distance away, they are measuring it in feet.

    Next week we are supposed to get a thaw and all that snow will melt, the terrain in the Buffalo area is conducive to creek flooding. I hope they catch a break over there.

    • Bernadette says:

      Glen,

      I had no idea you were that close! I’m in Pittsburgh, about four hours south of you at the most! I’m glad it’s not snowing like this on you!

      I went to college in Edinboro, PA, just about 20 miles south of Erie, PA and, of course, Lake Erie, and walking about on that flat campus in the middle of that flat farmland after living in relatively warm and very hilly Pittsburgh all my life I learned about “lake effect snow” in October of my freshman year. Erie would get a dusting, but we got three feet in a day, and no one at home believed me! Those flat gray clouds would move in and start with little pellets that would slowly grow larger as the temperature dropped into big snow clusters and it would snow like that for three days. They never called classes! There was so much snow that on graduation day in May there was often still a pile of ice around the base of the light poles in the parking lots where it had been plowed. Of course, I was in my glory–Pittsburgh had had rainy or just cold winters with very little precipitation for a decade or more and I LOVE SNOW!!!

      If I ever take Giuseppe to visit Mlle. Daisy Emerald in Hamilton I’ll be sure to wave as we pass through the border!

      • Jay says:

        Has Giuseppe gotten his passport yet ?

        And unlike you – I HATE SNOW !!!!!!!!
        Bring on Spring with green grass for my critters and nip growing wild.

    • Jay says:

      Glad to hear it missed you. Did not know that was so close to you.
      If I lived in Buffalo ( or Erie, Cleveland or any city like that) after a year or 2 of that I would leave.
      Right now Texas, Florida, Arizona and New Mexico are looking really good.

      What city are you in ?

      • Glen says:

        Jay

        Not exactly a city, Fort Erie, in some places here, you can hear the banjo’s playing ;)

        We can get some years without much snow but it is the big snows that everyone remembers, then the rest of the year is pretty nice, I think thats why most stay in the area.

        But days like those this week in Buffalo get old, real quick.

        I work at our company’s field office at our port facility at Port Maitland, on Lake Erie. It is a busy place in the navigation season but this time of year, there are 4 of us there. It is in the middle of nowhere but we are fully tied in multiple communications equipment.

        We monitor the weather very closely and are prepared to bail if it gets bad. Getting trapped there is not an option, oddly for a petroleum company, everything is electric at the office, if you are snowed in and loose power, i means no heat, water, lights or cooking. The rigs are demobilized for the winter so we couldn’t even start the generators for power.

    • Ingrid says:

      I never understood this whole concept of “Lake effect storms” but I sure am glad it missed you!

      • Glen says:

        Here’s a brief explanation.

        http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/the-science-behind-lake-effect-snow-how-did-so-much-snow-fall-on-buffalo-on-tuesday/40280/

        Once the lake gets colder, this is less likely to happen.

        A trade mark of nov. and Dec. around here is the huge bank of cloud that looks like mountains, hanging over the lake. It is always present and quite visible from a long ways off.

        It is water vapor over the relatively warm water. Later in the winter, the lake cools off and this subsides, mostly.

      • Bernie says:

        I know about those “lake effect snows”. We have on occasions had a few of them come down to us. It depends on the wind current. Now if the finger lakes are frozen over, then the lake effect snows are very minimal or none at all. However, those lakes are not frozen at this time of the year and the temps have dropped to such a low so quickly that the weather that should be rain, is a huge snowstorm. Hence the term lake effect story. The winds pick up the water and send it on as snow.
        When I was still with Allied, I had to go to Buffalo and Syracuse plants on business. No fun in the winter. I like visiting there in the summer, but no way do I want to live in that stretch of our Country.
        I will stay here in our mountains, and take my chances. I, like Berndette, like some snow, but that kind of snow is no good for anyone or anything. I just hope those folks gets that off their roofs before the temps go up and rain comes down on top of it. That will collapse many building. We need to hope for the best for all those folks.

    • Ingrid says:

      Yeah, somebody didn’t do their research, that’s for sure. According to the study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, 1 in 3,000 torties is male. Still rare, but not that rare!

      • Jay says:

        To me Diver is 1 in a million. He is a big gentle cat who gets along with everyone. Plays with a feral cat and acts like a Mom to a kitten. Why someone would throw him out on the streets makes no sense at all. But I am glad he was rescued and Bernie found him for me.

        • Bernie says:

          Diver really is one in a million. He is the most gentle giant of a Tortie ever. He loves everyone and everything. However, he has a really irritable behavior. If Diver has to go into the car ( trust me I know), he howls to and from. There is no consoling him. I droved him across the state of Ohio to my home in PA for Jay. He howled the entire way. I tried everything. I kept him here until the end of the week then took him across PA to Jay. Again he howled the entire time. I will now let Jay do the transporting of Diver. I will also have Jay transport his Frankie, if Frankie has to go in the car. That is a whole different story. When Diver was here, Liberty and he would walk thru the house like the rat pack, two gentle giants, side by side. Then Diver crossed the line with my youngest Tortie, Dajudge. He took her place on the window ledge. That was the first time I ever seen Dajudge show her Tortitude with a hiss heard all over town. She did not care for him being here from that point on. Diver just ignored her.

  7. Sher G says:

    As I sit here with a Torti on lab and one behind me in my chair, I am most grateful for this post. I have adopted my first torti as a child, as I felt she looked like an owl, and feared may not be adopted as a result. :) With each one that passed on, a new one would come into my life. Their personalities are always similar to one another. They are true “mama’s girls” and the only cats I own/have ever owned that actually welcome other cats into our home. While this is not the case with all torti’s, it has been my experience with 4 thus far. I was once told they are “good luck” as they are the only cat that cannot be bred. I will always have one, or two, or more. I rescue adult torti’s.
    They have inspired me in such a way that I have created products that contribute to animal welfare… Thanks again!

    • Ingrid says:

      I had heard that torties are “good luck kitties,” but I never heard the explanation that it’s because they can’t be bred. I love that, Sher!

      • Bernadette says:

        I had always heard torties and calicos were good “fortune” too, as in money, and only found a number of explanations that seemed to translate to “people liked them best” and figured it was on the same level with polydactyl kitties being good luck–they are unusual and people like that. But I used to turn and ask my four torties–tortie Cookie, tortie Kelly, dilute tortie Nikka and torbie Fawn–when the fortune was headed our way. They told me I was simply fortunate to know them.

        • Harry says:

          Brooke tells me I’m fortunate that she doesn’t hurt me. Like some torties are wont to do :)

          • Bernadette says:

            And their unspoken response to me was probably that I was extremely fortunate that I had four nice torties instead of the other sort!

          • Jay says:

            Harry, Which Torties would you be talking about ?
            A certain Tortie from Canada and one from Pittsburgh ?
            They have a reputation from what I have heard.

          • Glen says:

            A long time ago, I related a story where I sat on the floor and both Kasey and Taz, my 22 pound “orange giant” came to visit me on opposite sides.

            I was petting Taz under the chin and even though he is an old boy, a bit of the orange kitten surfaces once in a while and he tried to bit me and took a playful swing at me.

            Almost quicker than you could see, Kasey leapt to my defence, going right over top of my lap in an all out attack on Taz, quickly driving him off.

            Of course, in her mind, it was OK if she bit my fingers, but no one else could.

            Gigi on the other hand, is a”gentle giant” torti, the only one she attacks is Tim, with extreme provocation, he has no cat manners and desperately needs to be taught a lesson ;)

        • Bernie says:

          I have read where Torties were good luck and fortune. However, I am with the rest of you wondering where is the fortune or wealth as it is put. I think the wealth is their being our best friends. Also in ancient times, I have read where the Tortieshell cats where worshipped. Well the hasn’t changed, now has it. They are a most unbelievable feline. Never know from one minute to the other what they may do or have done. Love those Torties.

  8. Glen says:

    Cats and milk?

    We have a bit of a small dilemma with Gigi.

    It appears she wants milk and I know while there is a common theme in the general public that milk is a “natural” cat food, I know it isn’t and is not really a good thing for them.

    I am wondering about the implications of giving her a teaspoon of it once and a while, as a treat.

    The full story;

    Ever since she came here in Feb. 2013, she would sit quietly in the kitchen, looking up, asking for something. However, she does not have any interest in “people food” or commercial cast treats.

    I initially asked the fellow we adopted her from and he said she used to do the same thing and they could not figure it out, either.

    They took her in at 8 months of age, so I suspect this behaviour may have been from a first home which she may have been initially until she got away from them, or was “thrown away”.

    So the dilemma is, do we give her a bit of what must be comfort food, occasionally, in small quantities, or not?

    • Ingrid says:

      Most cats can’t tolerate milk since they don’t have the enzyme to digest it, and it usually causes diarrhea. However, a teaspoon full just to give her a taste as a treat every once in a while would probably be okay. Worst case, if she ends up having problems, you don’t give it to her again.

      • Glen says:

        Thanks, Ingrid

        Well, if thats the case, I will try her on a small quantity, occasionally as a treat.

        It is not something I would start with the others, and fortunately they are not interested, anyway. But she doesn’t get any other treat and I am sure for years for her, it has been a case of “I have been asking nicely, I wonder why they don’t give it to me”.

        it is nice to give her a bit of “comfort food”, if it doesn’t do any harm.

  9. Glen says:

    Orange boy’s and feeding.

    Taz and Tim like to eat together, from the same bowl.

    There is no hostility at all, but they take turns bumping each other away from the bowl with their heads.

    Even when offered the same food in an identical bowl 12 inches away, they both still eat from the same bowl.

    Gigi does not participate in this, probably this conduct is too crude and impolite for the “Empress” ;)

    • Jay says:

      Glen, most of mine will eat from the same bowl too. Onyx is fearless for a kitten and will eat near everyone. Frank and Diver share easily. Arianrhod tends to wait and Styx has been known to smack at anyone so everyone is wary. Eclipse is just starting as he was feral but when Onyx comes over he just moves a bit and shares. Stirfry was the only one who no one would eat near. She could eat and growl at the same time. Frankie tried one time and I got a video of it. He very slowly tried to move in. Stirs growls got louder and he even put his nose into the bowl. But good sense prevailed and he chirped and backed away. Stir was never one to attack a cat (Steeler is another story) but if anyone pushed her it was awakening a Demon.

      • Glen says:

        Jay

        That reminds me, NO ONE ate, or even approached the food when Kasey was at, or even near, the bowl.

      • Ingrid says:

        It’s really interesting to me that most of yours will eat from the same bowl. It’s not a very common behavior in cats, as in the wild, cats are solitary hunters and once they’re adults, they won’t share their prey with other cats.

        • Glen says:

          It is odd, I thought the same thing.

          But then Tim and Taz are different. Taz will groom Tim like a mother cat would a kitten, defying my impression of how they would be have towards each other in the wild; it does look funny to watch.

          • Bernie says:

            I have been reading through the posts that I have missed. This is interesting about the eating together. Freedom eats alone and if either of my Torties even walks within 5 feet of her she lets out this guttural growl, while eating, and the Torties walk the long way around. However, my Torties Justice and Dajudge do not share at the same time. They eat separately and not from the same bowl. I have seen Jay’s kittens stand in a row and eat from the same bowl. Not here. Each has different bowls.

        • Harry says:

          Feeding time at our house is the feline version of musical chairs – except there’s no music, and everyone *does* have a plate. The cats constantly circulate, maybe wondering if the next plate might have better stuff. Bobby – who spent the first 6 months of his life in the shelter, loose with other cats, seems happiest sharing a bowl with someone. Usually, it’s his sister who tolerates that – he knows better than to attempt to share with Queen Victoria, or – shudder – Brooke. I generally place his plate next to someone else’s and that makes him happy.

          • Jay says:

            Harry, that happens at my house too. I set out 6 plates and as soon as someone’s plate is 80% finished they will check out the other plates. Styx is a slow eater as she has an underbite and cannot pick up food easily. Frankie will give his up easily Arian growls but backs away. Eclipse and Onyx ( my panther hogs) will finish everyone’s.

            I wondered about Brooke – like our other 3, she is a Ruler and demands respect. Touch her food and suffer the wrath of the Tortie.

        • Jay says:

          Eclipse is still somewhat feral and I saw him fighting over food 2 months ago ( the other black cat which could be a littermate). Now after being inside for just under a month , he is playing with Onyx – play fighting but not aggressive – claws retracted and teeth just grazing. And he will eat off the same plate as Onyx, Diver and Frank. No aggression – just pushes his nose right on in.

    • Gail N says:

      (sigh) Reading about all of the feeding arrangements you are all enjoying brings back fond memories of “how it used to be.”

      Everyone used to eat happily together and the only problem I had was that Bailey would eat very fast and then try to steal everyone else’s dinner.

      The situation has changed since I adopted Tyler (Maine Coon mix) several months ago. Tyler has determined that the entire house is HIS and, since he is quite large, the other cats are terrified of him.

      So, my regular dinnertime pattern is to feed Tyler in the kitchen. Misha (my stealth tortie) lives in my bedroom (her choice) mainly on top of the bureaus (the floor to her is lava so travel is across bureaus and curtain rods) so she is fed on top of one of the bureaus. Willow has taken up residence on top of the chinchilla cage (in order to stay out of Tyler’s way) so her dinner is served there. Kai has decided that the best place to be is in my office on the shelf under the windows (previously she was living on top of the kitchen cabinets, so dinner service involved a step ladder) and she gets served there. Tawny, my actual tortie, had decided some time ago (pre-Tyler) that she would live in a downstairs bedroom and, therefore, dinner is also served in the lower level.

      At least I’m getting exercise!

  10. Haley says:

    I know about tortitude all too well! My girl, Cricket, has always been quick to let me know what she wants and that she wants it now! She always gets her way, whether it’s going outside to catch some squirrels, or telling me I need to hurry up with the cat food!

    • Ingrid says:

      “Let humans know what you want and that you want it now” is probably the first thing mentioned in the tortie rule book, Haley!

    • Bernie says:

      My two torties are becoming more vocal as they grow into their 3rd year. They show what they want. I am always surprised when company comes, Justice, one of my Torties will use her paw to hit at the snack bag for someone to give her a snack. When that doesn’t seem to be getting attention, she will pick the snack bag up in her teeth and carry to them. She is definitely a determined Tortie. However, you do not touch her unless she is in the right mood. Now my other Tortie Dajudge will shy and stays at distance. Once she makes friends with you, and it takes several visits, she will allow a few strokes of her back. Other than that, she says no to any other touching. She also will stare at the treat bag and then back at me or whoever is near it to get a treat. She does not vocalize for treats.
      Dajudge loves the catnip pickle as a toy. She will carry it around the house and try talking while carrying it. I have no clue what she is trying to say, except she maybe having a little catnip trip.

  11. Stefanie says:

    My cats name is Envy she was born with only ONE eye and has a whole ton of personality.

    I had a boyfriend come over to watch a movie. She sat right between us and hissed at him every time he moved. She hates all of my male friends although she strangely loves my male gay friend.

    If talk to her when she is sitting by a window, door, or when I get home after a long day she will respond multiple times in a variety of different mews and sounds. She hates being picked up and will meow in complaint the whole time, but, she never jumps out of my arms and she usually purrs between meows… Its as if shes trying to say- I like this petting but I don’t like the location. She comes when I whistle, purrs if I just talk to her, and adores when I put my head on her stomach.

    If I rub her belly she will rub her ear! Her favorite game is hide and seek. First she will hide and I have to find her (usually with her but hanging out from what ever she hides behind) If I pretend I cannot find her she gets all wiggly and excited. Then I have to run and hide she usually waits a bit before coming to find me. On the rare occasion when she cannot find me she starts meowing and meowing until I respond. If I hide underneath a blanket she will meow and dig at the blanket until she sees me.

    I adore my cat!

    • Ingrid says:

      Envy sounds like a wonderful cat, Stefanie. Feel free to post photos of her on our Facebook page, we’d love to see her!

    • Jay says:

      Envy sounds like a wonderful Tortie. How did she get her name ?

      Mine try to hide without realizing that a tail and butt will give them away.
      And yes – Torties get jealous, my Styx is not a fan of females. Ask Bernie.

      • Stefanie says:

        She got her name because we used to joke that she was envious of people with two eyes. Styx is a beautiful name how did you come up with that?

        I would love to post a picture on your fb page is the name Tortitude?

        • Stefanie says:

          Also what is the picture in your facebook page?

        • Jay says:

          Styx was Bernie’s Mom’s cat and named Pumpkin. Pumpkin did not like her Mom. Bit and clawed her many times. When she had to go into a nursing home Bernie took her. She had 3 kittens then and Pumpkin attacked them. I told her I would take the Tortie. I had Stirfry and after that no cat scared me. I took her home and while driving was listening to the radio as the cat was crying. Renegade by Styx came on and Pumpkin calmed down. I already had a cat named Pumpkin (Stirfry’s son) and was thinking of names. Styx is also the Goddess over the River Styx and as Torties think they are Goddesses the name fit. My silver Russian Blue cat is named Arianrhod after the Goddess of the Silver Wheel. She is show cat beautiful and know it.

          I have had 4 Torties – Tabatha – a gentle Tortie with white, Styx who has some attitude, Diver my male Tortie with no attitude and Stirfry who took it to the next level. I fond Ingrid’s blog while trying to find out why my cat was different. Someone said she was a “Tortie”. I met a wonderful group of people and some very unique cats. I know Stir had no superiors but found she had some equals. Steeler, Kasey and Brooke ruled their houses with an iron paw. I knew I had found friends here.

  12. Jay says:

    I just check the TV schedule for today. At 1 PM eastern it’s Tortie Football. New Orleans Saints vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams are Black and Gold – Tortie colors . I will have Styx, Diver and Onyx watching ( Onyx is my little black panther and it looks like he will have gold eyes).

  13. Danielle says:

    I have my own torti, little Spitfire, because when my fiance and I rescued her and her siblings from a snowstorm she came being carried through the door spitting and growling and hissing for all she was worth, we had to wrap her in a tshirt and place her in front of the heater and leave her alone for several hours. She’s identical to another torti we had that recently passed, her name was Hyena. Both (quite possibly related) had beautiful black/gold markings and Spitfire even has orange stripes making her a torbie! Spitfire has calmed down a lot and is a sweet purr machine that loves to be involved no matter what I’m doing, and when she’s tormented by the older cats we have, some of that famous ‘tortitude’ comes out in vengful fury! RIP to Spitfire’s little sister Blaise, a calico who didnt make it. Their solid black brother PanThor is alive and well.

    • Ingrid says:

      Spitfire is such a perfect name for a tortie, Danielle!

    • Bernie says:

      Danielle what a great rescue story. It is sad that one could not survive. Sounds like the best of the Tortie comes out only when necessary (to her). What a great name for a Tortie. PanThor now that is a really hot name for a black kitten. I can only guess they get along just fine with each other. I know how Torties have to be “helping us, especially with our paper work or when on the computer”. Reading the paper or writing a letter is now called multi tasking by me. That is move one Tortie off the paper and then stop the other one from trying to take the pen or pencil. I find myself laughing at those interactive tactics. They do know how to get our attention.

  14. Jay says:

    Danielle, you picked some great names.
    Spitfire is Purrfect for a Tortie. She sounds like she lives up to her name.
    RIP Hyena – a very good Tortie name- she and Blaise will have good company across the Bridge.
    Steeler, Kasey and Stirfry will watch over them. We have said that when you hear Thunder that’s our girls playing. And PanThor fits a black cat so good. I have 2 now and they are so much fun to watch. Can’t see them in the dark though.

    • Danielle says:

      Stirfry love it lol We’ve also had a Kasey, she lived to a ripe old age but she was a gray and white. Our prized spoiled rotten baby Whitey (who’s 10lbs and around 8mo old and looks like a siamese with ice blue eyes, even though he’s a DSH) Whitey is raising PanThor like a big brother and Spitfire takes her duties as my assistant/secretary at work seriously lol

      • Jay says:

        Danielle, those Torties I mentioned were feared by all. They took tortitude to a new level.
        Steeler was Bernie’s 1st cat and Ingrid and Bernadette wrote stories about her. She was famous in the Pittsburgh area. Kasey was Glen’s Warrior Princess and ruled up north in Canada. Stirfry was a feral that I took in 13 years ago and she stayed wild all those years. She loved me and I miss her greatly. All the other cats in my house knew that when she came into a room knew not to mess with her. When my mini Donkey Buell 1st met Tabatha , my Tortie with white he had her rub against his ankles in greeting. A few days later he met Stirfry. He put his nose down and that 13 lb cat smacked him upside his nose. Same coloring he though but totally different personality.

        • Danielle says:

          my other cat Sheba the Destroyer is a tabby with calico orange undertone beneath all her silver patterned glory and has an attitude of she does whatever she wants and theres nothing anyone can do about it.

          • Ingrid says:

            “She does whatever she wants and there’s nothing anyone can do about it” – if that doesn’t describe tortitude to a T, I don’t know what does, Danielle!

  15. Jay says:

    This morning I heard noises in the living room. I have one of those cat toys with 3 balls that roll around in a circle. Onyx, my little panther loves to play with it. I went out and saw Arianrhod laying on her side and batting the ball.. I grabbed a camera and filmed Arian playing and little Onyx run out and play with her. It was like watching teatherball where they would hit it back to each other. Finally Arian left and went onto the counch. Onyx kept playing and would look up at as if to say “come back and play”. She did come back down but did not join in.
    Arian had always been and upstairs or basement cat and would rarely come dow to the main floor. If she was in the bedroom and Stirfry came in all I would see is a silver flash leaving at top speed. I never heard her meow at all. Within a week after Stir crossed the Bridge, I hear a loud meow from her. Now she will growl with a wildcat snarl at anyone (usually Eclipse) who crosses her. Not nearly as scary as the sounds Stir made but close. I guess they are trying to decide who the top cat is.

    • Glen says:

      “Now she will growl with a wildcat snarl at anyone (usually Eclipse) who crosses her. Not nearly as scary as the sounds Stir made but close”

      Yeah, there’s that certain type of torti that takes sounds to another level.

      Kasey was the same, here normal voice was a series of “eeps & squeaks”. However, her challenge sounds could be best described as “not of this world”.

      Gigi on the other hand is a kinder, gentler torti. This large, long haired, torti with white and a ginger face gets along with everyone. She has a very pleasant, mellow meow and also chirps; she will hiss at Tim under extreme provocation. (Extreme provocation is his specialty)

      • Jay says:

        So true Glen. When a certain type of Tortie express displeasure ( or rage ) their sounds are those that haven’t been heard for 11,000 years – saber-toothed cat. I had video’s of Stir that even over the phone scared Bernie’s cats – not Steeler who was a kindred spirit. Steeler dues to damage to her throat before Bernie was claimed by her, could not meow. Can you imagine the sounds of Stir and Kasey together :)
        Cops would be called and probably the National Guard put on alert.

        Now we have the Thunder when they play together to remind us they are watching over us.
        I look forward to summer storms now.

    • Bernie says:

      I know her growl. She did inherit her grandmother Freedom’s huge roar. Really different and definitely says “get our of my space, NOW”. I have the same thing here, except not as often as Jay. Mine even tho Justice is Freedom’s offspring and Dajudge is her other granddaughter, Freedom shows no discrimination in raising the hairs on the back of my neck when she goes off on that roar. If she does this in the middle of the night, it is frightening to hear.

  16. Glen says:

    Christmas Tree Predation

    I was wondering how this plays out for everyone.

    The tree went up this week, it is an artificial tree, but still “interesting”.

    The usual cat friendly procedures are followed such as, no tinsel, no breakables below 3 ft., etc.

    Taz, at 16, is pretty sedate, he likes to den up under it but will sit and rub the lower branches with his head.

    Tim, being orange and 2 years old is the most persistent and active. There’s no wild jumps or climbing but anything within sitting up range gets attention.

    Gigi is having her second Christmas here. Last year she did not bother much with it. Since she came from a good, stable home, I think she took a while to realize this was home now. She has now decided this is home and that has translated into tree interaction. At 15 pounds and being a big cat, she parks under the tree and sits up in a ponderous, deliberate manner, then swings at decorations until scolded.

    It was different when Kasey was here. She had never seen a Christmas tree until she was 8 or 9 years old, though she was well acquainted with real trees. She had no interest in the tree except it was a very good thing to “den up” under. Once she was settled in under the tree, no one else was allowed to approach it, and so there was minimal interaction between the other cats and the tree.

  17. Bernadette says:

    I haven’t had a tree of any sort inside since the second year I lived here. A totally different group of cats in those first two years!

    I had a real tree the first year, set it up and ended up nailing the tree stand to the floor after it went over a few times–easy to leap from the steps to the middle of the tree, perfect for knocking it completely over–put lights on and they chewed on them. Ended up with a bare tree nailed to the floor, later moved it outside to the front porch.

    Second year pulled out the vintage mid-century white plastic tree, the type you couldn’t put lights on because it would melt so most people used one of those floodlights on the floor with a four-color filter that revolved slowly in front of it. I didn’t inherit that so I just had lights under the white felt underneath and bright red bows all over the tree and an angel on top with a light that did not touch the plastic–pretty! On the floor the next day, and the first generation of plastic eaters began devouring the ends of the branches. Also moved outside to the front porch.

    Then I made a swag out of boughs from my blue spruce and hung just a few decorations on it and a few lights. Made it to just after Christmas when one of them finally figured out a way to get to it high up on the wall with nothing underneath, but it was hanging by the cord for the lights.

    All decorations are now outdoors.

    Always meant to illustrate their antics, but spent the time cleaning up after them instead.

    • Bernie says:

      I decided a several years ago not to put up a tree. I still don’t. I know my girls would find a way to bring it down. Justice and Dajudge are big, big Torties. Now I mean big as in long, tall and big. They are so into running thru the house at odd times of the house, I believe Ingrid calls it the Zommies, anything in their way is subject to being knocked down. They especially like to play trapeze artists on the tops of the backs of my dining room chairs. I can’t tell you how many mornings I go to the kitchen and see a chair on its side. Those girls, which include Freedom, still run throughout the house and love running up and down the staircase. I do believe they have a system and a reason for all this. I just can’t figure out what it is. I will tell you this, if I leave any type of paper, mail or news on the table, I can assure you in the morning the girls have cleaned off the table. They don’t knock things off the counters but papers on the table to them are fair game.

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