“Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats

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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14,095 Comments on “Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats

  1. Glen
    March 31, 2015 at 8:41 pm (1 day ago)

    Gig has a favorite song, or at least one she responds to whenever it is played; “Daylight Katy” by Gordon Lightfoot.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYDnwekLH0

    Sometimes I play music on Youtube and when this is on, she always comes over for attention.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 1, 2015 at 6:03 am (15 hours ago)

      She has good taste in music, Glen! :-)

      Reply
      • Harry
        April 1, 2015 at 12:14 pm (9 hours ago)

        I’d forgotten how much I like that song. I used to set the bedroom stereo on quiet music for an hour or so after going to bed, but lately the sound of purring drowns it out so I haven’t bothered. Charlie’s taken to sleeping with me every night and I swear purrs in his sleep, Henry’s back in bed now that he’s doing so much better, and Ms. Brooke seems to have shelved her tortitude and can manage to share the bed. The three of them purring is amazing.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 1, 2015 at 2:22 pm (7 hours ago)

          Nothing better than being purred to sleep.

          Reply
    • Bernie
      April 1, 2015 at 5:43 pm (3 hours ago)

      My little ones don’t pay any attention to music. They seem to be immune to all that plays. Now when it comes to kitties purring when I am trying to sleep. That is great with me. However, I have Freedom, as most of you are aware is the Russian Blue feral, about 12 years old now. Well sleeping and Freedom are not synomous with each other. Freedom is a loving girl, and these past few months has taken to showing her love by doing that bread punching thing with her front feet. Sounds great, she is a happy domesticated cat now, but, she uses me for her bread. She will come onto the bed, whenever the urge strikes her, and she will start using her paws on me as if she is making bread. Then she will just step up on me and lay down on my chest and go to sleep. This little lady, is really making up for lost loving when she was feral. I had thought this was just a once or twice thing with her, but it is a nightly (as soon as the lights go off) here comes Freedom. She will repeat her process a few times a night into the am. I think she is trying to tell me, she wants me to see the sunrise. I am trying to convince her I want to see the sun over the top of the house, around noon. Don’t tell me to close the bedroom door, there will be a chorus of kitties calls of the wild along with scratching and such. I do wish music were the choice for Freedom. :)

      Reply
      • Marg
        April 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm (3 hours ago)

        Bernie … that brought tears to my eyes (I almost typed ears … now that would have been weird … sometimes my fingers get in front of my brain when I’m typing). Freedom is obviously just so HAPPY and LOVED … and obviously she loves you very much in return. She has come a long way in a short time!

        Reply
        • Bernie
          April 1, 2015 at 7:45 pm (1 hour ago)

          Marg, my friend, Freedom has come a very long way. No one is more surprised than I about how she has begun to show her affection to me. She would let me pet her early on, but she has made this decision all on her own. I am happy to know she has come to feel safe and loved. I do wish she could hold off on the loving (other than laying beside me as I sleep) until it is later in the AM. I am definitely not a AM person. I don’t have it in me to tell her not to do that. It is her way of showing her love. I will just have to work with her a little and whisper in her ear, to just sleep beside me for a while. She is a precious kitten. Freedom is truly a gem. Always gentle.

          Reply
      • Jay
        April 1, 2015 at 7:31 pm (1 hour ago)

        Sounds like that talk I had with Freedom worked. Why waste a whole day of Sunshine when things can be done (mainly litterboxes, playing with kitties, feeding them, letting them watch the birds while you do litter boxes AGAIN) and so much more. I’m gonna have to talk to Justice and DJ. :)

        Reply
        • Bernie
          April 1, 2015 at 7:49 pm (1 hour ago)

          Jay, you best not talk to my girls any more like that. I can clean litter boxes into the night, quite late if I want. Their cardinal is still coming to the windows at the sunroom and teasing them. They have cat TV going on all day long. So they are entertained, naturally. No need to change the Torties. Justice and DaJudge do just fine until they see me awaken. They do show respect for Freedom, though. If Freedom is getting “mommy time” they each stay away on the kitty tree or in their kitty beds and give her all the time she wants. They never interfere with that alone time with me.

          Reply
  2. Glen
    March 22, 2015 at 5:09 pm (1 week ago)

    I had some entertainment with something Gigi did one morning last week before I headed off to work.

    This involved Tim, the 2+ year old orange guy, who seems quite intelligent but has not mentally matured much beyond that of a 12 week old kitten. An important part of the story is that Tim is patterned after a 9 pound cougar; long legged, lanky, with a tail that is so long, it would drag on the floor if he didn’t keep a curl in the end.

    Gigi is large, mature, rather ponderous in her movements and stately enough to be called the “Empress of the House”. Gigi will play, very vigorously, occasionally, when she chooses.

    Gigi was reclining on the kitchen floor in a dignified manner, asking for attention from me.

    Tim strolled by her, tail carried low to the floor. His tail was waving aimlessly, as a result of his usual pent up energy.

    Uncharacteristically, as Tim went by, Gigi took a deliberate but slow, almost symbolic or ceremonial (and ineffective) swing at the tip of his tail with a front paw.

    Just this one swing, that was it. It did not connect and Tim just kept on walking. oblivious to what had happened.

    Gig was like, “there, that done, now on to other things”.

    Who knows what that was about, I have seen her in action when she means business and she could have caught it if she had wanted to.

    Reply
    • Jay
      March 22, 2015 at 10:47 pm (1 week ago)

      Glen, she was checking to see if the need to keep him in check he was within range. Onyx is constantly swiping at Eclipse’s tail and he will turn lightning quick to see who it was. Any other cat and their would have been a big fight. Seeing it’s Onyx he puts a gentle paw on him and holds him down.
      Arian is very protective about her tail and watches Onyx just in case he goes for her.

      Reply
    • Bernie
      March 22, 2015 at 10:59 pm (1 week ago)

      Glen and Jay. You guys have the tails swiping going on. Both of you have kittens that stay hey, just a reminder, I’m here. Gigi really comes off well as Empress of the Room. She and Tim have been together since Tim’s first day. She could really hit him but sounds like she is treating him more like her kitten. Jay (really my Onyx) Onyx goes around tail swiping at any of his kittens. Eclipse is the surprise to both of us. He was so feral outside and once inside with the kitten Onyx, he became domesticated very quickly. Eclipse is the surprise. He won’t hut the kitten. He will swirl around like lightning and puts his paw softly on Onyx’s head. No hissing or hurting going on there. So it sounds like your family of kittens and Jay’s are truly treating each other as their own little ones.

      Reply
  3. Michelle
    March 18, 2015 at 12:03 pm (2 weeks ago)

    I have just found your website and it made me smile to read some of your stories. I had to say goodbye to my beautiful, loving brindle tortie Lucy on Monday after she developed a tumor. She was my first cat and we spent 15 happy years together. My heart is breaking but I know that she knew she was loved and she loved me back. God bless all the special little cats in our lives.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 18, 2015 at 5:04 pm (2 weeks ago)

      I’m so sorry about Lucy, Michelle. Losing a cat is always devastating, but losing that first one is extra hard. My heart goes out to you.

      Reply
    • Bernie
      March 18, 2015 at 11:38 pm (2 weeks ago)

      Michelle, I am so sorry for your loss of your beloved Lucy. Saying goodbye to our little ones is extremely hard. We, and I believe I speak for most on Ingrid’s site, have had this horrible heartache.
      Our little ones do love us back much more than anyone knows. They are like children. They are family, not thought of as cats.
      So glad you found this page. I welcome you, even under the sad circumstances. <3

      Reply
    • Marg
      March 18, 2015 at 11:46 pm (2 weeks ago)

      Michelle, I’m so sorry for your loss … these little ones fill a bit part in our lives and in our hearts. It’s always heartbreaking when they have to leave us.

      Reply
      • Michelle
        March 19, 2015 at 5:42 am (2 weeks ago)

        Thank you all for your kind words. I am lucky that I have people around me who understand my loss but I’m finding it incredibly hard to get through at the moment. The house seems so quiet without her – she had a habit of following me around, especially every time I went into the kitchen or anywhere near her food cupboard! Letting her go is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but as my mum said, sadly the loss is the price we pay for loving them and them loving us. Give all your cats an extra hug today…

        Reply
    • Gary
      March 19, 2015 at 9:59 pm (2 weeks ago)

      So sorry. I had to put my calico Suelee down a year ago…hurts. I now have Hope, a tortie.

      Reply
      • Bernie
        March 20, 2015 at 9:53 pm (2 weeks ago)

        Gary, I am sorry you had to let your Suelee go. So now you have a Tortie! What did you name her? How old is she? We are all owned by Torties on this site, in addition to all other types of cats. But somehow our Torties have always been special. Welcome and hope to hear more about you Tortie.

        Reply
      • Glen
        March 22, 2015 at 4:55 pm (1 week ago)

        I am very sorry to read about the losses of Lucy and Suelee.

        Ingrid has written in the past about how difficult the loss of what she has called a “soul cat” is.

        It will be two years this May since I lost my rescue torti, Kasey, often referred to here as the “Warrior Queen”. Even after two years, I miss her terribly.

        I have some consolation in having taken Gigi in a couple months before losing Kasey. Gigi is a large, gentle, long hair torti; we were her last hope before she would have had to go to a shelter, she a real pet who has been a joy to have around.

        Reply
        • Jay
          April 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm (3 mins ago)

          Michelle and Gary, I just read these post and am so sorry to hear about the losses of your little ones. It is never easy to watch them go. Like Bernie said, we have all lost some fur kids. Thru Ingrid and her Blog, we have share their stories and their antics. They became “Community Cats”. But Steeler, Kasey, Diesel, Cookie & Kelly and my Stirfry were all mourned when they crossed the Bridge and we all cried. We will all meet again. I have others that I have rescued. No cat wants to be unwanted and those that were in a home without love, a field out back or living in a junk yard and now happy and can play and sleep without worry.
          If you are given a chance, rescue another in Lucy or Suelee’s memory.

          Reply
  4. Jay
    March 2, 2015 at 7:33 pm (1 month ago)

    Early this morning as I was drinking coffee I heard and felt a huge weight hit the bed. Sounded like a 15 lb bowling ball. Close, It was Frankie jumping onto the bed and in 2 bounds up onto the headboard to the window – right on his heals was Onyx. Probable weighs under 5 lbs. but a very playful young cat. Within minutes they were both off into the living room.

    Today was a day of Snowblowing and shoveling. Yesterday started out with fine snow coming dawn. after 2+ inches I used the leaf blower on the deck and steps. around 4pm I did it again and by the time I was finished it had turned to sleet/freezing rain. Today I used the snow blower on the driveway. Took almost 2 hours. I saw the outside black cat (Eclipse’s relative early in the morning.
    Around noon I saw Frankie running in the kitchen and then back to the bedroom. He lowered himself and looked into the kitchen with his butt in the air. Soon a butt wiggle and he was off. Chasing Eclipse. Shortly after I saw Eclipse come around the corner and look both ways then run off. He was chasing Frank. Both house panthers are making sure Frank gets a workout.

    Reply
    • Jay
      March 2, 2015 at 7:36 pm (1 month ago)

      Spell check messed up again – heels. :)

      Reply
    • Bernie
      March 2, 2015 at 9:14 pm (4 weeks ago)

      Jay’s life is never dull. The addition of Eclipse and Onyx has brightened and enlightened all the furbabies.. Onyx, the littlest panther, (my panther) won’t take “No, I don’t want to play from any of the others, except for Styx,(sometimes). Eclipse as you can see doesn’t seem to know he was a feral kitten. Those two little panthers keep Frankie, (who really needs the exercise) playing. I listen on the phone, while talking to Jay and it sounds like a group of little children at times. Clipsey has a call of the wild and howls, while playing. Frankie and Diver are kept busy with these little panthers. Diver has taken Onyx as is own kitten and takes care of him. If he doesn’t see him, or hears him use that squeak (no meow yet for him) he takes off like a ball out of a cannon to make sure he is ok. The playing and bonding of all these little ones is something special. I wish I could be there to see more of it, but mother nature hasn’t been very cooperative with weekend travels. In the meantime, Jay is spoiling these little ones, all of them, beyond belief. He doesn’t get home from work until well after midnight every day. He puts the outdoor barn minis in the barn and feeds them. He then goes into the house and is calls me while trying to open a can of cat food to give each of them a midnight snack. He calls each by name, and I can hear each of the speak back to Jay. I could call mine all day, and they will come when they are darn good and ready. So by this time it is usually around 2AM and he has to get some sleep. Now once he gets into his bed and before we hang up, the kittens, Styx, Diver, Frankie, Onyx and Clipsey all come to bed with him. Imagine 5 kittens come when he says kittens bedtime. Now he does have Arianrhod, Freedom’s granddaughter. She is the “GODDESS” and she acts like one. She doesn’t join in them in bed. No not her. She does join in the midnight snack. Each of his kittens come to meet him as he comes in the door. If one isn’t there he calls it by name and bam,there it comes. I wish my girls would be like that, but they are independent and all do their own thing in their own time. All are related to Arianrhod. So I think that explains Arian’s aloofness. She inherited it from her Grandma and cousins.

      Reply
  5. Jay
    March 2, 2015 at 10:25 am (1 month ago)

    Ingrid, I received a e-mail on March 2 that you and Glen were on CC. But when I click on the link it takes me to Jan 27 and the latest post. This has been going on since your new web design. Did you know this ?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 2, 2015 at 10:54 am (1 month ago)

      We’re working on getting this corrected.

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 2, 2015 at 6:58 am (1 month ago)

      Beautiful!

      Reply
    • Bernie
      March 2, 2015 at 10:31 am (1 month ago)

      Glen, there is nothing more wonderful that to see when a little one is adopted from a shelter or rescue and given a loving, forever home.

      Reply
  6. Jay
    February 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm (1 month ago)

    As cold as it’s been recently Bernie was concerned about Styx. (You know she must be Bernie’s favorite) I received a package in the mail and it was a kitty sweater for Styx. I put it on (not hard with her) and even though she rolled around on the floor and kicked at it with her back legs – 10 minutes later she was walking around as if no big deal. Eclipse came into the room and was talking, I grabbed the camera and set it to video. Caught Eclipse on the kitchen chair and he attempted to hit Styx who was under it. A Feral cat might be a skilled and nimble hunter in the wild, but I think her forgot something. He almost fell off the chair and grabbed for the back of it. Kicking and hanging on with 1 paw he scared Styx who ran off. Guess he’s an indoor cat now. :)

    Reply
    • Bernie
      February 27, 2015 at 11:37 pm (1 month ago)

      Styx is a Tortie. Don’t get me wrong, but she is not in the top 5 of my favorites. I love this crazy Tortie, but she on the other hand, will attack me in the blink of an eye (and she has). It isn’t all her fault. She had been my Mom’s tortie and my Mom didn’t know a thing about a cat, especially a Tortie. She would pick her up from the floor while Styx was in a sound sleep. Naturally Styx would attack. She would try to force Styx into being a lap cat and at that time Styx just didn’t want anything to do with her. So I did promise to take Styx when they couldn’t do it. I did. She attacked me several times and I ended up at Med Exp. twice. Once required stitched. So Jay came and within seconds she was his. So I do love Styx, she just does not trust or like women. I would do anything for this kitten and all the kittens. Styx is so very thin, and with this horrific cold weather, I felt she could use the extra warmth. I am looking for a 2nd sweather for her, maybe a little better, but in knit and with bright colors.
      As for the panthers, gosh, what can I say. Jay is co-parent of my Onyx. For reasons I won’t go into here, Onyx has to stay with Jay. He is adorable and yes, he makes every kitten in Jay’s home play. Sometimes even Styx. Eclipse, was so feral when I brought him in for Jay, (Jay was in the hospital with his heart attack). That Monday night Eclipse decided to go into the hag-a-heart trap. He was so feral. Now he is so domesticated. Jay is truly a cat whisperer. Each cat comes to being called by name. That speaks volumes about how he is with those little ones.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        February 28, 2015 at 7:23 am (1 month ago)

        Has Styx had a check up recently? Your description of “very thin” raised all sorts of alarm bells for me.

        Reply
        • Jay
          February 28, 2015 at 3:31 pm (1 month ago)

          Not recently Ingrid. I will check my records and see what her weight was. Can compare it to now.

          Reply
        • Bernie
          February 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm (1 month ago)

          Ingrid, Jay’s memory is short these days. I took Styx to his vet in early Oct. 2014. Had his vet run full blood panels, stool, urine and x-rays. She tested out as fine. No thyroid, heart, lung, kidney or other organ problems. No bowel problems. Blood panels were all with normal limits. I took her then, because even then I felt she was very thin. She remains about the same. She eats very well. Jay feeds her her wet food in a room to be sure she gets to eat it without the little stealth panthers getting to it. The vet advised kitten food to help her gain weight. We did try it, and she would not eat it. Styx is not sick and never brings her food up. So at that time her overall health is very good. She is now about 12 years old now. I am a worry wort about kittens health and Jay’s vet worked with me and ran all tests and x-rays. Teeth are fine. She is feisty and moves about quite well. Her only thing that she does have is an overbite. So she eats slowly, but she eats well. Jay gives dry and wet foods to the little ones. I just want her to be warm. I measure body heat for her by me. If I am cold, I feel a thin kitten must be cold. I believe we had her to Jay’s vet 2x in 6 months. I know Jay had taken her, and she had told Jay she was fine, just a little dehydrated. She did not give fluids. If Jay recalls, I didn’t like that so I had Jay put my name on the records also so the vet would work with me on the little ones also. I then made that appointment for Styx about 3 weeks after Jay had her there. I asked if she is dehydrated give her IV Sub-q’s. She showed me then that Styx was no longer dehydrated, but If I insisted she would give her the fluids. I then became very sweet and suggested she run all the tests on her. I had already brought her stool sample. So she did every non invasive test for me. Yes, you know after what I had gone thru, I was not just going to accept “a little dehydrated”. So you know me, if for a nano second I feel any of the kittens need attention, we make sure they go. I am not accustomed to “thin” kittens. You folks that know me, know if a kitten so much as sneezes it goes to the vet.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            February 28, 2015 at 5:33 pm (1 month ago)

            I’m glad to hear she’s been checked out, Bernie.

  7. Glen
    February 26, 2015 at 10:06 pm (1 month ago)

    Here’s a video of a cat that had enough of a small dog’s barking.

    Had this been Kasey, the barking part of the video would have been much shorter and the attack would have been immediate, ruthless and pressed with complete focus.

    Kasey would not have considered this a worthy opponent, but would have attacked anyway.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jCWIBtVWg8

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 27, 2015 at 7:07 am (1 month ago)

      Poor puppy just wanted to play! :-) I love how the other dog tries to comfort the one that was chased> Too funny how the cat hangs around a bit to make sure the puppy got the message.

      Reply
      • Jay
        February 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm (1 month ago)

        I agree Ingrid, the puppy wanted to play as his tail ( or what he had) was wagging. But some cats don’t play well with others. A few Torties that I know of. Stirfry would have been like Kasey and Steeler. Diver and Onyx would have been playing at the 1st bark.

        Reply
        • Glen
          February 27, 2015 at 1:31 pm (1 month ago)

          Yeah, It depends on the cat, for sure, some are easily slighted.

          Tim would be the opposite, everything to him is play.

          The dog in the video would have, over time, regretted getting Tim’s attention to play though, because once Tim finds something amusing and entertaining, he can’t let it go and becomes obsessed, never forgetting it.

          Based on what goes on around here, Tim would drive the dog crazy. A favorite game is “tapping”, this involve either a high speed galloping pass, tapping the “victim” on the with a front paw on the way by and continuing running by at high speed. Or hitting from ambush and scooting.

          He does not tire of this activity but it does become a source of aggravation to other animals.

          Reply
          • Jay
            February 27, 2015 at 9:32 pm (1 month ago)

            Glen, Onxy is the same way. He loves to play and an ambush is the best way to get his victims attention. He goes for the tail. If any other cat would grab Eclipse’s tail the get into a full on feral fight. If he turns around and see’s it’s the little Panther his paw comes down softly and he either touches the Onyx’s head or lets him play. Diver has given him soft head taps or run from him. Even Frank and Arian will let him play. Styx is the only one that has a problem with him and growls or hard taps come his way. But minutes later Onyx is back to playing again.

  8. Bernie
    February 25, 2015 at 5:49 pm (1 month ago)

    Hi gang,
    Most of you who know me know I am not a morning person. So now it seems my Russian Blue, Freedom and one of my Torties have decided to try to change my sleeping habits. So here is a short version of how these girls have learned to interact and work on their Mom’s sleeping habits. They get my other tortie, Dajudge in on their shenanigans and I may end up a morning person whether I want to or not. So enjoy this short version of my girls. Sharing this with you here, I hope will bring a smile to you all thru this bad weather.
    “Wow, I have not said anything on here about my little ones lately, but then what could I say except they are fabulous and I love them. Now do they love me? Well now, Freedom has decided she wants me to awaken earlier in the AM. So she has started for the past 2 wks. doing the bread pushing on me to wake me up. I thought it was a fluke, but nope she is still at it, and she won’t take a bribe of a treat to stop. So this morning somehow, she convinced Justice to help her. Now Justice is a Tortie, so her first paw was full unsheathed claws onto my shoulder. Girls, Meowmy is up now.’

    Reply
    • Jay
      February 25, 2015 at 7:29 pm (1 month ago)

      Good for them. Don’t want you wasting the day away. Steeler was a Morning Cat and she is telling Freedom and Justice to get you up like she did. Mom, the treats are under the pillow and they aren’t gonna open themselves up.

      Reply
      • Bernie
        February 25, 2015 at 9:34 pm (1 month ago)

        “Mom, the treats are under the pillow and they aren’t gonna open themselves up.” Yes they are. Steeler always knew that and would give one good claw to the shoulder to get them. She, on the other hand, would then go back to sleep and let her Mom sleep. These two are not that giving. They want me to stay up! I always enjoy seeing the changes in them as they grow but this one, we could have skipped.

        Reply
  9. Martin Babb
    February 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm (1 month ago)

    Just wanted to add my name to list of Tortie lovers. I seem to have attracted Torties my whole life.. I had a couple as pets growing up, and two that have spanned my adult years.. Bunny and, following her death, Kali. I’ve had many many cats play a part in my life, but I can attest that the Torties are unique and though often bossy, demanding, and controlling (God help me if I pet another cat- I will hear all about it!) I love them dearly. Long live Tortitude!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm (1 month ago)

      Long live Tortitude indeed, Martin!

      Reply
    • Bernie
      February 25, 2015 at 5:41 pm (1 month ago)

      I have my 2 torties now, and a Russian Blue. Life without them would be very dull. They do keep us “entertained”.

      Reply
    • Jay
      February 25, 2015 at 7:26 pm (1 month ago)

      Welcome Martin, tell us more about Kali and Bunny.
      Is Kali a talker ? Is Kali named after the Kali the Goddess of Destruction?
      I have had 4 Torties at 1 time. Tabatha and Stirfry crossed the Bridge late last year. Now I have Styx (some Tortitude) and Diver – a Male with no Tortitude at all. Diver is one of those rare cats who loves everyone and never met a cat he did get along with (until he met Stirfry).
      Where are you located? I am in Lancaster County in Pa. Bernie and Bernadette are located in Pa near Pittsburgh. I am always looking for other Tortie caretakers nearby.

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 22, 2015 at 9:57 am (1 month ago)

      Awww, poor frustrated kitty!

      Reply
    • Bernie
      February 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm (1 month ago)

      This kitten had a really good workout on this “fishing trip”. I have friends with one of those backyard fish ponds. They do freeze over and they are not deep. They have a large white angora who goes out (farm land) no roads, and will try to fish with her paw in the summer. No luck. I have seen her do this in the winter. She will then go into the the house and just lay on the windowsill looking out at that pond. Carol and I often thought she is just waiting to see a fish jump. Cats are very good entertainment and great for making us feel better during our stressful times.

      Reply
    • Jay
      February 25, 2015 at 7:31 pm (1 month ago)

      Love it Glen. I can see Kasey unleashing a claw and cutting a hole in the ice. She knew how to get an easy meal.

      Reply
      • Bernie
        February 25, 2015 at 9:38 pm (1 month ago)

        Glen’s Kasey most likely knew how to ice fish before he rescued her. She was and always will be one of a kind and his Warrior Queen. I can see my Steeler, just snatch that fish off someone and take off with it, without so much as a thank you. I often called her my little terrorist. Now Stirfry could have melted the ice with just the hot fiery breath she breather and all the fist would have been gone forever.

        Reply
        • Bernie
          February 25, 2015 at 9:40 pm (1 month ago)

          Need to use spell check here. “breather” breathed and ” fist” fish.

          Reply
      • Glen
        February 25, 2015 at 9:40 pm (1 month ago)

        Yes, Kasey was all business when it came to catching things, both large, and small.

        Reply
        • Bernie
          February 25, 2015 at 9:48 pm (1 month ago)

          Glen it seems these Torties of ours (Kasey, Stirfry,Steeler) will always live on in our stories and hearts. It will soon be 3 years since Steeler went to cross the rainbow bridge and yet, I recall her moves and expressions as if she standing right here with me. Time does not erase the images and feelings we have for our special girls. I, for one, never want to forget anything about my little Steeler. She taught me how to love kittens and how much they give love in return. She also taught me, and quickly, I may add, who was the boss here. She rescued me. She owned me. No doubt about it.

          Reply
          • Glen
            February 25, 2015 at 10:00 pm (1 month ago)

            Yes, they were strong willed cats with plenty of character, that never did anything by half measures; whether that was going after something, or showing affection to “their people”.

            It has been a year and nine moths since I lost Kasey and I still miss her terribly.

            At least I was able to make the last 1/3 of her life comfortable, and happy.

          • Ingrid
            February 26, 2015 at 7:22 am (1 month ago)

            I don’t think we ever stop missing these soul cats.

          • Jay
            February 25, 2015 at 11:18 pm (1 month ago)

            Glen our 3 were all rescued cats. Your Kasey and Bernie’s Steeler had it really rough and suffered injuries by thoughtless people before we took them in. Stirfry was really a very young cat but very feral when I rescued her (or she adopted me). I know no one else would have her after seeing her attitude and I know I gave her a great life. Her way of playing was definately Tortie-like but I knew she was having fun. They loved us for giving them many happy and safe years. And with every thunderstorm we will hear them playing.

  10. Jay
    February 19, 2015 at 9:47 pm (1 month ago)

    It has ben bitterly cold down here in PA (Colder yet for Bernie and probably worse for Glen) Temps a 0 or below and wind chills of -25 to -30. Yesterday I forgot to leave the gas logs on low. Came home and the house was cold (55). My house is a Dome and insulated to R45. It usually hold the heat real well. I turned on my gas logs and put a electric heater on in the bedroom and also the electric blanket (Thanks Bernie). Went to bed at 2 and woke up at 4 with a large cat tight against me. Diver was on my right side, Styx under my left arm and Onxy (who is no longer a kitten) on top of me. Frank and Eclips were about an arms length away. This morning after I got up I put the critters out (Buell, Harley & theia) and made coffee. I saw Eclipse and Styx both on the hearth in front of the gas logs.

    Reply
    • Glen
      February 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm (1 month ago)

      “(Colder yet for Bernie and probably worse for Glen)”

      It was -18F on Sunday morning.

      That was the worst I have seen in a long time, here.

      This time of year, it should be just below freezing, typically.

      Reply
      • Jay
        February 19, 2015 at 11:31 pm (1 month ago)

        Just below freezing would even be welcome here.

        i am still seeing the outside black cat. it is Eclipse’s brother or sister and stll feral. Runs off if it even sees me looking out the door. Might be a while till it comes in. Until then I am making sure he/she gets fed. Along with the outside feeding is a possum (saw last week) and a mouse (saw 2 days ago) Diver was watching the mouse – midnight snack ?

        Reply
      • Harry
        February 19, 2015 at 11:32 pm (1 month ago)

        It should be 47/26°F here. Today’s high was 17°F, and right now (10:30 pm) it’s 12°. Supposed to be -4° tonight. I’m blaming the cold, rather than a sign of the coming apocalypse that Charlie, Bobby, PHolly, Pearl *and Brooke* slept together on the bed today.

        Reply
        • Jay
          February 19, 2015 at 11:55 pm (1 month ago)

          Brooke on the bed with the “Normal” cats ?
          I’m putting my money on the coming apocalypse.

          If it wasn’t for THAT Groundhog, we would have 80 degree temps right now. Told Bernie I was planning on a hunting trip to take him out. Bernie thought I might get caught. I figure when they start looking for likely suspects – they would start in Buffalo NY and Boston Mass. first. Normally I won’t hurt any animals but in this case I might make an exception.

          Reply
          • Bernie
            February 20, 2015 at 1:48 am (1 month ago)

            Apocalypse, my money goes there too Harry. Below zero seems to be running a “new normal” on this side of the mountains. Winds howling, white outs, and -20 wind chills and that is a warm day. My little ones are staying on their little blankets in front of the hot water radiators most of the day. They aren’t dumb. Jay’s Eclipse took a heck of a chance getting on the hearth by Styx, but again, Styx is no dummy and Eclipse has become an indoor only kitty really quick. It is again -5 here and getting worse. I am so over this winter. I know Harry and those folks are not accustomed to their harsh weather and I feel for them. On the other hand, while I have had some wicked weather here in the past, this month has to rank up there as the worst in memory. High winds, snow, blowing snow, freezing rain, sleet and sub zero temps are the normal lately. I have both my garage doors up about 6″ for any outdoor critters to go into and get on old blankets to stay out of this weather. A heated water bowl and food. I know it is being used by the little footprints at the garage doors. I don’t know if it is only cats, or other critters. All I know is they need a place to go into to be safe too. I have a litter box out there and to my surprise, it has been used. My electric blanket is on and my furnace seems to run constantly. I had my thermostat turned down to 58 and the furnace kicked on before dawn. Now that is cold. I do have a bed full of kittens tho. They like the heated blankets too.

        • Ingrid
          February 20, 2015 at 6:59 am (1 month ago)

          It has been ridiculously cold here, although our PA friends are certainly much worse off – not to mention our friends even further north. I’ve kept my furnace running at a steady 70 degrees. I know my electric bill will be equally ridiculous, but as the commercial goes: a warm house? Priceless. Interestingly enough, even though the inside temperature of the house certainly hasn’t changed all winter, the girls do seem to want to cuddle closer at night than they normally do.

          Reply
          • Harry
            February 20, 2015 at 9:33 am (1 month ago)

            It’s +6°F as I write this – quite a winter here. We were up at our beach house in New Jersey last weekend, where Saturday night the wind was 60 mph howling off the ocean, and the large (100 car) ferries across the Delaware Bay were frozen in and cancelled. There is nothing quite so drafty as a nearly 100 year old house… I put “insulation” on my to do list. (I’d put “new windows” too, but we’re in the historic district and that’s not an option. In fact, the wind tore a piece of siding off the eve, which will probably necessitate a midnight repair – when the historic preservation commission is sleeping. We did expose and restore some previously painted surfaces – the once-again sky-blue painted porch ceiling – but the less exterior painted surface there is, the happier I am. We visited the rescue where Charlie, Bobby and PHolly came from, and played with the kitties. It’s a mostly cage-free environment, where the cats really all get along and are much more relaxed than in an adoption center at Petsmart, like the one I used to manage. Unfortunately, it’s a small town, and they do not do a ton of adoptions. We did not bring home Charlie’s buddy Marmalade. Marmie’s their longest resident, but exceptionally shy – he was hiding inside a box of blankets in the laundry room when we found him, given away by one orange tabby paw sticking out. We just don’t have the resources at this point to socialize (or feed/vet) a 9th cat…

          • Jay
            February 20, 2015 at 7:16 pm (1 month ago)

            Harry, contact me in the Spring (about 3 years from now as the way the weather is behaving) and I will see about taking Marmalade. Orange kittles alway seem so gentle and I miss Punky. With Diver who gets along with everyone and Onyx who has the kitten ability to get everyone to play, he might come out of his shell. Too cold in my basement now where my holding cage is, to leave him alone at night. Diver only stayed in that cage for an hour or more before he came up to join the others. Easiest of any cat as to joining my crew. Styx took the longest and Stirfry never joined anyone. But Marmalade needs to have a forever home. If he is still there I will try to arange transport.

          • Bernie
            February 20, 2015 at 7:53 pm (1 month ago)

            Harry, Glen, Ingrid, and Jay. I am not moving around to far in the house. This freezing cold is absolutely taking its toll. I hear cracking of the snow wish I assume is the springs freezing and thawing as tho they have burst on the far side of the house. My kittens, have taken up resident in front of the hot water radiators, all where they can watch me. Last night it seemed as tho the cold had penetrated every wall in the house. Even tho there is very good insulation, if you get close to the outer walls the cold is there. The little ones have the right idea. Curl up in front of the heat and only move when necessary.

          • Bernie
            February 20, 2015 at 7:55 pm (1 month ago)

            Jay, if anyone could bring a very shy adult cat to a loving friendly indoor cat, it is you. You are the cat whisperer. Harry, see if you can help out here. Transport can most likely be arranged.

          • Jay
            February 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm (1 month ago)

            And send us to work to earn money to keep the heat on, lots of litter and kibble and toy mousies. What we do for our little furry kids.

  11. Mel: Leelu & Stitch
    February 17, 2015 at 12:32 am (1 month ago)

    All the comments on Tortie noises prompts a tale from me!

    Leelu (Tortie) is fairly loud as far as her meows go. No chirping but loud ‘MAH-Owww’, a kitty yodel, indignant ‘Eee-ew’ when we cuddle her while she’s sleepy and… The growl.

    She doesn’t growl often as she’s a sweet girl (like Gigi but with shorter fur). But we had someone come by our window and the growl she let loose-Let’s just say the hairs on the back of my neck were standing UP. It was low, deep and she opened her mouth with ears back for it.

    Leelu hasn’t made that noise since.

    Reply
    • jay
      February 17, 2015 at 1:48 pm (1 month ago)

      Some of us now that growl well. A Tortie not to be messed with.

      Reply
  12. Glen
    February 16, 2015 at 7:23 pm (1 month ago)

    Cat voices sure vary, even their “challenge” vocals.

    Kasey, when issuing a challenge (which was a frequent occurrence) would make a sound roughly like a cougar snarl but with more of an evil, not-of-this-world effect.

    I think the sound alone often got various creatures, large and small, on the run rather quickly.

    Tim, our 2 1/2 year old orange guy never grew very much. He is right around 9 pounds and wiry. He never did get his “big boy” voice. He makes a series of small squeaks, chirps and warbles.

    Sometimes he challenges Taz. This comes out as a barely audible squeak.

    You wouldn’t know it was a challenge, except for his posture; you can tell he thinks it is the real deal. However, it is amusing and there is nothing the least bit intimidating about it. It is funny to watch, though.

    Reply
    • Bernie
      February 16, 2015 at 7:49 pm (1 month ago)

      Hi all.
      Glen as I read your post, it brings back so many wonderful memories of my precious Steeler. She, like Kasey, thrived as a rescued baby. She, unlike Kasey, would allow no other cat to even come near the entrance door. She had the ungodly howling snarl that left the chills go up my spine. Just like Kasey she had a sound unlike any I have ever heard.
      I, now have Justice and DaJudge, 2 Torties. Justice has a high pitched Meow. Dajudge started talking but instead of meows’ she has a mew mew mew. She will carry her catnip pickle in her mouth and go about mew mew mew. Now Justice has all the stares and body language of a torte with fortitude, but she seldom really shows her Tortitude. DaJudge has always been my gentle loving Tortie. Well I guess as with all of those aging things change. She is still loving and gentle, however, she has started showing a lot of “Tortitude”. She is a big tall and long gal going about 14#. She has found her place in the pecking order here. Freedom, my Russian Blue rescue is now about 12 to 14 years old. She is the momma to Justice and Grandma to DaJudge. Now I swear she is a Tortie in disguise. This little might mite has a snarl no meow. When Freedom is within paw distance, the Torties give her a very wide berth. The Torties are now playing together. Something I have hoped for since Liberty, my beautiful tiger tabby passed. He was the clown and agitator of the group. He would get them all playing and running insanely. I was worried the Torties may not bond with him gone, but they are starting. Freedom will always be in charge of all that happens and she is the oldest and smallest of all. So as I read about the interactions of Tim and Taz, I can only be reminded of Liberty and the Torties playing. But as I read about “Your Warrior Queen” Kasey, it immediately brings back “my little terrorist” Steeler and how she had that ungodly howling and snarling. She never had a meow. I know you miss your Kasey and I still miss Steeler. Jay, has new kittens too as you all know, but when we look over them or talk of their behavior, Stirfry, his soul cat comes up right away. She was one of a kind who loved Jay without reservation. But anyone else, better stay back, way back. So as I read on here how many of us have had huge and painful losses of our little ones, I think back to when we all had those very special Torties, the ones that left the kind of mark and hole in our hearts that will remain forever. Jay and I still say when it thunders and the lightening cracks, Steeler, Kasey and Stirfry have things rolling in the heavens and are letting us know they are watching. I sure hope they can turn off this snow tho.

      Reply
      • Jay
        February 16, 2015 at 11:36 pm (1 month ago)

        Of all mine now Onyx still has a kitten high pitch squeak like a bat, Diver rarely talks, Styx has a bark and Eclipse has a soulful wail as if she misses someone. Frankie has a meow with a question mark as if saying “who me”. And Arianrhod who never meowed until Stirfry crossed now has a panther growl. I always think of Kasey when I hear it. I’m sure no where near as scary but in my house she gets attention. Stir never meowed but her hiss and snarl were feared by all. Funny how the most dangerous of our Torties had the scariest sounds. Not small cat sounds but deep woods jungle sounds ( from prehistoric Jungle times). Sabertooths never died off – they evolved into Torties.

        Reply
        • Jay
          February 16, 2015 at 11:38 pm (1 month ago)

          Sorry – Eclipse is a he. No sex change, just my bad typing.

          Reply
          • Glen
            February 17, 2015 at 9:06 pm (1 month ago)

            “I know you miss your Kasey and I still miss Steeler. Jay, has new kittens too as you all know, but when we look over them or talk of their behavior, Stirfry, his soul cat comes up right away. She was one of a kind who loved Jay without reservation. But anyone else, better stay back, way back. So as I read on here how many of us have had huge and painful losses of our little ones, I think back to when we all had those very special Torties, the ones that left the kind of mark and hole in our hearts that will remain forever. ”

            Yes, these “fierce” cats were strong willed and agressive, but they also showed affection to “their” people with the same strong intensity.

            I think this was one of the traits that made them endearing.

    • Jay
      February 17, 2015 at 12:35 am (1 month ago)

      Only “challenge” Frankie ever issued was to a kibble. And the kibble lost.

      Reply
      • Glen
        February 17, 2015 at 9:43 pm (1 month ago)

        That’s a good one.

        Taz is a ferocious kibble killer, too.

        Reply
        • Jay
          February 19, 2015 at 11:50 am (1 month ago)

          :)

          Reply
  13. Glen
    February 3, 2015 at 9:17 pm (2 months ago)

    Snow day, Feb. 2, 2015

    The cats were disappointed today when I left for work, they thought it would be a repeat of yesterday.

    The snow was bad here on Monday and I remained home.

    My job is such that if i have my company laptop, I can work from home for up to a few days without problems, so that’s what I did.

    I set up in the basement and Gigi curled up in a cat bed nearby and watched me, with regular excursions to interrupt me for petting and brushing.

    I think she figured it should have been repeated today.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 4, 2015 at 7:17 am (2 months ago)

      I think cats everywhere love snow days!

      Reply
      • Jay
        February 5, 2015 at 12:24 pm (2 months ago)

        Cats love snow days. Horses and donkeys do not.
        Woke up this morning with a dusting of snow. No cats prints on the deck so Eclipse’s brother/sister has not been by yet.

        Glen, I am sure Gigi loves every minute you are home.
        Take more pics of her and the others. Love t see how they are doing.

        Reply
  14. Lisa
    February 3, 2015 at 1:57 am (2 months ago)

    Thanks for the article links Ingrid. My kitten’s name is Menie. Because I couldn’t think of a better name to call her. It suited her. My god-daughter found her outside our house. She was alone and we think she got lost from her mom. Now Menie thinks this is her house and she lets us live there. She is so smart and she doesn’t forget anything. Its like having a toddler in the house. Thanks for the wonderful article.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 3, 2015 at 6:54 am (2 months ago)

      It sounds like it didn’t take long for Menie to take over, Lisa!

      Reply
      • Lisa
        February 3, 2015 at 1:04 pm (2 months ago)

        No, it didn’t take long at all. She wants see every thing we do. She likes to be right in the middle of everything we do. She follows us to the bathroom or if the door is shut she will wait by the door until the person comes out. She loves to cuddle when she sleeps. Once she quits biting, I think she will be a wonderful cat for me and my roommate.

        Reply
  15. Harry
    February 1, 2015 at 11:40 am (2 months ago)

    Hey Ingrid… this is comment 13,999!

    I apologize; I’ve owed you an update for quite a while. It’s just that so much has happened so quickly, that every time I start to post, something else happens. Our lives have changed greatly this past fall as for a variety of reasons I’ve given up my volunteering with a local cat rescue, something I had done for almost 10 years. The additional time gained from no longer managing a Petsmart adoption center, no longer coordinating 1000 cat volunteers and 5 adoption events each weekend, and no longer answering 30 emails a day – has gone to other things.
    As Jay hinted last week, we do have some new house panthers. More than a couple (i.e., 3). I found Ingrid’s blog in 2010 while looking into “tortitude” when Brooke, our tortie, wouldn’t get along with the most recent addition, Sabrina, a black kitten who literally adopted me after appearing at a few adoption events and clinging to me as if her life depended on it. I always suspected that Sabrina had one orange hair somewhere, because she had the ‘tude. (All of the attitude, none of the orange warning hairs  ) As most of you know, Sabrina passed away in June of 2013, about the time that a kind soul trapped a litter of feral kittens at the Cape May NJ County airport. My daughter volunteers with Animal Outreach of Cape May, and we happened to be at the shelter the day the trap with kittens came in. They were quite feral. 6 months later, we were again at the shelter, and I was befriended by Bobby, a very engaging, black, half-grown cat. He was one of those kittens, as it turned out. Took a month of pleading, but at the end of December 2013, he came home. Another time, I’ll tell you about all the good things he did normalizing relations between our remaining 5 cats. Bobby had a sister, Polly. Polly became pretty friendly, too… and in April of 2014, she joined us. And then… there was one left. Charlie, the most feral of the litter, who didn’t really trust people. But… he liked me. I could – some of the time – approach him and pet him. By December 2014, he was a big, adult, black cat with sketchy people skills, who was never going to be adopted. So, to his great dismay, on January 2, 2015, he found himself in a carrier on his way to Virginia. Charlie has come a long way in just a month – this morning (and several past mornings) he has curled up on my lap. He is adusting quite well, is able to be out with all the other cats, though he is still a bit skittish and I try to close him in a room with me for at least some time during the day for one on one time, where he really relaxes and cuddles with me. One night this week, he actually slept in bed with me, all night.
    Meanwhile – our 4th black cat, Henry, has been very ill. Diagnosed with diabetes 18 months ago, we have had to learn to test his blood glucose twice a day, give insulin shots, and as he’s lost weight to a critical level, have added several medications for his irritable bowel disease and liver disfunction. We reached crisis state last week when what we thought was encouraging weight gain turned out to be fluid building up around a failing heart. After emergency hospitalization, Henry is now home on a long list of additional meds – but is doing well. We will treasure whatever time we have left.
    And now you know why I haven’t been around, much!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 1, 2015 at 3:44 pm (2 months ago)

      You’ve had quite a run lately, Harry. I’m glad Henry is home. I the new meds and being back home will turn things around.

      And we have officially hit 14,000 comments!

      Reply
    • Jay
      February 2, 2015 at 2:20 pm (2 months ago)

      I have been following Henry on Harry’s Facebook page but realize others ( Glen being one) is in the dark as to the new additions in the Shubin household. Sending healing prayers to Henry and I knew Charlie would fit in. Did not realize you had given up on volunteering at the adoption shelter.
      I know you will miss that.

      Hoping that maybe this year we can get another get together of Ingrid’s Blog friends. Had so much fun last time. Maybe this time I can enjoy the food.

      Reply
      • Glen
        February 3, 2015 at 8:53 pm (2 months ago)

        Yeah, that is a lot of news.

        I hope things go well with Henry.

        Reply
        • Harry
          February 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm (2 months ago)

          Thanks, Glen. It’s been a rough time, but so far, Henry seems ok. Two more meds to add into the cocktail beginning later this week, but we’re managing. Henry really seems comfortable and content. Yes, Jay – no volunteering as of the end of October. It’s a long story I’ll tell you off line at some point, a combination of burnout, creative differences, family issues, and such. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back.” (Or was that Gen. McArthur?) I take solace in having time to spend with my own cats – time to tame a fraidy cat like Charlie, who sat on my lap for an hour this morning (only to be replaced by his sister). And if you’re wondering if they remember each other – a few minutes ago Brooke started behaving aggressively to PHolly, and Charlie interceded between them, gave Brooke the stink eye (impressive for a non-tortie) and then licked PHolly’s head.

          Reply
  16. Glen
    January 31, 2015 at 7:32 pm (2 months ago)

    Now here’s something you don’t see every day, courtesy of Gigi, this afternoon.

    A large, 15 pound, long hair torti chasing her tail on the living room rug.

    She was in rare form today, she is very happy here.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 1, 2015 at 6:56 am (2 months ago)

      I love it when they do that! I’ve never seen Allegra chase her tail, but Ruby does it occasionally.

      Reply
    • Jay
      February 1, 2015 at 10:35 am (2 months ago)

      And why would she NOT be happy. Your cats( along with all ours) have got it made. Love, attention and playmates to keep in shape by keeping them active. Onyx has a challenge with Frankie – but he does play with him.

      Reply
      • Glen
        February 3, 2015 at 9:00 pm (2 months ago)

        I was concerned about Gigi at first when we brought her here.

        She had come from a very caring home, which had gone through some unfortunate upsets, then she was brought here, to a different place that she was unfamiliar with.

        She spent a substantial part of her first 4 weeks here hiding and she would come out for a bit.

        She was allowed to go at her own pace and the hiding stopped in time.

        For the first year, here, she seemed pretty happy but I wondered if she was just waiting, thinking she might eventually get back to her old home.

        Over a year ago, she seemed to change for the better like, “this IS home” now. She is much more settled, like she owns the place.

        Spontaneous tail chasing was just another sign as to how settled, happy and energetic she is.

        Reply
  17. Lisa
    January 30, 2015 at 2:31 am (2 months ago)

    I have a torti kitten. About 4 months old. That girl put the word tude in tortitude. I love her but she bites a lot. I don’t want her to lose her attitude, but I need to stop the bitting. Any sugestions?

    Reply
    • Jay
      February 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm (2 months ago)

      Lisa, tell us more about your Tortie. What is her name ? And I love Torties with Tortitude. There are so few left on here. Our main players – Diesel, Steeler, Kasey and Stirfry are angels now.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        February 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm (2 months ago)

        I beg to differ. Each tortie is unique, and each tortie expresses her (or in rare cases, his) tortitude in their own special way.

        Reply
        • Glen
          February 3, 2015 at 9:13 pm (2 months ago)

          Kasey earned her nickname “Warrior Queen”, she was tortitude on steroids.

          This was her nature and was further developed spending 8 or 9 years in a tough environment.

          She was fearless and an aggressive, very skilled fighter that actually sought out altercation with any other animal. I have rarely seen this combination of traits.

          However, she was very attached to me and showed affection with the same intensity. She seemed to know when I was coming home from work and would wait for me by the back door.

          She has been gone close to 2 years and I still miss her terribly.

          Gigi is my big, long haired, 15 pound torti.

          She is a complete opposite; she is a gentle giant who gets along with all other domestic animals and introduces a quiet atmosphere into a group of critters. She is a “nurse cat” that looks worried when another animal is ailing, or is being taken to the vet.

          It is a good thing she is like this, she is a big, strong cat.

          Gigi is also very attached to me and also often greets me by the back door when I return from work.

          She got to meet Kasey for the last two months of Kasey’s life. Kasey was feisty up until the last few weeks but she seemed to accept Gigi and got along well with her, which was very unusual.

          Reply
          • Jay
            February 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm (2 months ago)

            Yes, every Tortie is unique. My Tabatha was a gentle cat that loved most others, Diver ( a rare male – has no Tortitude and is like Gigi – breaks up fights and takes care of his kitten Onyx, Styx has a little Tortitude ( Bernie says she is just mean) and has sent people to Urgent Care to be patched up. Stirfry was my 1st Tortie and was unique in that her Tortitude was to the extreme. Had a major chip on her shoulder and did not get along with anyone. But she loved me for rescuing her and giving her all my love. There will never be another like that for me.

  18. Sean
    January 27, 2015 at 10:09 am (2 months ago)

    I also rescued my little torti from the Humane Society also. Abby is a little over a year old now. I truly believe in tortitude! It’s funny how many facial expressions I have seen coming from certain meows. The funniest one is the “yelling” at me. The little eyes squinted with the ears pinned back and the teeth showing. I always ask her “Why are you yelling at me?” and she runs off and has that little trill in her voice. She trills too when I throw her toy across the room and she chases after it. I’ve almost figured out all of the meows and facial expressions, lol. She loves to chase me and be chased. She loves to “hide” and when I “find” her she jumps in the air at me. She likes to stalk me and I’ll stalk back. I also taught her to attack me but be nice about it. She’ll grab my hand and kick with her back feet but with now claws.

    I have a question though. There is one place in the house, my attic, When I go up there with her she gets extremely happy and just starts talking away and head butting me and purrs like crazy. What causes this? I have researched and just can’t find an answer. I have a lot of boxes that she plays in and on up there. The only thing I can think of is that, that is her area and she is telling me what she’s doing when she goes up there by herself.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 27, 2015 at 10:22 am (2 months ago)

      It sounds like your attic is a wonderful playground for Abby, Sean. She’s probably giving you a running commentary on her activities up there, with an occasional “oh, Dad, this is so much fun!” thrown in. :-) I love the little trill some torties have – it’s such a sweet sound.

      Reply
    • Jay
      February 1, 2015 at 10:54 am (2 months ago)

      Congrats Sean on adopting a Tortie and taking another cat out of the system. I had a Tortie that played with me. Stirfry had a way of playing that anyone else would think was aggressive and dangerous. But I knew her and it was her way of playing – there was always a head rub and chin rub afterwards. Anyone else was in a world of hurt if they even got close to her. The other cats avoided her at all costs.
      Enjoy your playtime but make sure she controls herself. Bernadette, Ingrid and Harry are our experts on here and can teach you a lot.

      Reply

22Pingbacks & Trackbacks on “Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats

  1. […] intolerance. Those of us who love our torties for their unique personalities, also known as “tortitude,” may disagree with this assessment. Torties tend to be strong-willed, a bit hot-tempered, […]

  2. […] most of you know, I’m partial to tortoiseshell cats. People often think that torties are a breed, but they’re not. The name simply refers to […]

  3. […] most popular post is Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. I wrote this post about torties’ distinct personalities in August of 2009. As of this writing, […]

  4. […] on The Conscious Cat which extolled the unique appearance and personality of tortoiseshell cats, ” ‘Tortitude’: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats“. I had recently met the author Ingrid King at a Cat Writers’ Association conference […]

  5. […] all began on August 17, 2009, when I wrote a post titled Tortitude – the Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. The post features one of my favorite photos of Amber and Buckley, and rapidly became one of the […]

  6. […] also know that they are very unique when it comes to their personalities, often known as “tortitude.” And now scientists are finding that tortoiseshell cats also show the limits of […]

  7. […] cats already know that they’re unique when it comes to their personalities, also known as tortitude. They also have unique genetics. The vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female, because two X […]

  8. […] most amazing example of how a blog can connect people is a post I wrote in August of 2009 titled Tortitude – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. The post has generated more than 9000 comments, and has turned into the online home of a community […]

  9. […] though I have no scientific evidence, in my experience, when it comes to being talkative, tortoiseshell cats have most other cats beat. Buckley was one of the most vocal cats I’ve ever come across. She […]

  10. […] by one of our favorite blog authors over at the Way of Cats. Another one of our fav bloggers, Conscious Cat, goes into incredible detail and depth about this magical coloring and personality combination. She […]

  11. […] Or at least all the torties are talking to each other. That in itself is unsettling—imagine a world run by “tortitude”! […]

  12. […] imagine my delight when I found this […]

  13. […] adult tortoiseshell cats to each other. If you know anything about torties, you know about “tortitude.” They’re known to have some pretty distinct personality traits, and they’re not […]

  14. […] me to this type of cat. And apparently I’m not alone. In August of 2009, I wrote a post titled Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats, which, as of this writing, has more than 5300 comments and has become so much  more than just a […]

  15. […] all began on August 17, 2009, when I wrote a post titled Tortitude – the Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. It rapidly became one of the most popular posts on this blog. When you google “tortoiseshell […]

  16. […] Allegra, behind The Conscious Cat website and author of the blog post that brought us all together, “Tortitude”—the Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. I had met Ingrid at a Cat Writer’s Association conference in 2009 and purchased her book the […]

  17. […] And you can also visit “Tortie Cats Anonymous” on The Conscious Cat, a community of people owned by tortoiseshell cats who correspond in comments on a blog post. […]

  18. […] Zen the cat is almost entirely herself again after a terribly close call, and I am overjoyed. She is eating and drinking without incident, and her usual playfulness has returned. Her throat seems a bit scratchy yet, but she is regaining some of her talkative tortitude. […]

  19. […] a kitten, I’m a tortie kitten!  It’s a good thing that Mom understands about “tortitude,” because she says I have it in spades! var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; […]

  20. […] was the poster child for “tortitude” – that unique personality of tortoiseshell cats.  She had definitely read the […]

  21. […] it—Buckley took to her new life with great enthusiasm (though not without some of the expected “tortitude”). “Buckley loved everyone,” writes King. “She checked out anyone who came into the office […]

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