Conscious Cat

August 17, 2009 13,334 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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13,334 Responses to ““Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats”

  1. Jay says:

    Remember how I talked about Styx smacking Stir for no reason. Well Torties never forget. Tonight I was helping Bernie transfer phone numbers from her old phone to her new one. Stirfry woke up from sleeping at my feet and demander scratches. No problem. Well her tongue was sticking out and Bernie took a picture. Well, that led to taking a typical Stir pic which shows ears back and fangs showing. 4 pics later I put her down and she went down to the pillow at the bottom of the bed next to Bernie’s feet. Styx was sound asleep next to that. Stir laid down on the pillow, looked at Styx and lashed out with a quick right paw and a hiss. Scared the hell out of Styx. I scolded Stir but might as well talked to the lamp for all the good it did. Stir does not listen when in that mood of hers. Typical day at my house.

    • Bernie says:

      Yes it was. I moved my feet really fast. Stirfry is like a shaken bottle of pop that explodes when opened. Styx never moved from Stir. She just looked at her, however, Styx was all ready to run like the wind if it came to it. Right now all is calm. Right now that is. :)

  2. Jay says:

    Bernie had some broken/cracked nails and wanted to get them fixed. She would not take my advise and just bite them off. She called a local nail place and we decided to go at 3:15. I had a show to watch at 5 so plenty of time – right ? WRONG!!!!!
    We got there at 3:30 and there were no other customers. I had taken yesterdays and todays paper but did not take any pain meds. We were going to shop at the discount food store next door and then be home by 5.
    While in the nail place another woman came in 15 min later then another 5 min after that. Then a Mom with 4 kids came in and all to have nails done. Meanwhile Bernie had a guy doing her nails. I saw a Dremil tool, a tub of plaster and a bucket of paint.
    Well, 1 hour and 2 minutes later she was done.
    I told her my leg was in pain and asked what took so long. She said they had to “Build up her nails”.
    I have seen houses built in less time.
    Did not go to the store but straight home. I hobbled up the steps and collapsed into bed.
    Next time we go to the Vet and get those “Soft Claws” easier and faster and they have a choice of colors.

  3. Jay says:

    Not saying my cats are spoiled but Bernie made a dinner of salad, baked potatoes and Delmonico Steak. The 2 Torties (Stir and Styx) waited till we had a little to eat ( Styx hates to wait) and then they both had some cut up in small pieces to eat. Luckily they did not demand wine. I did but Bernie did not like my whine. So Ice Tea for me.

    • Bernie says:

      Yes we did. Then all 5 cats had steak pieces. Jay gets to whine enough all day, he is not going to drink wine while on pain meds. He is just going to have to whine. The Torties wanted wine but settled for water. :)

  4. Elsadora says:

    My torti has a major attitude. Very possessive of both me and my pillow. She sleeps on my head. I named her Lovi, and call her “Lucky Love” and my little “Love Bug.” She weighs 8 pounds…

    • Ingrid says:

      Aww, Lovi is a sweet name, Elsadora!

    • Jay says:

      Welcome Elsadora and Lovi. Sounds like a normal Tortie to me. Possessive and Attitude. Typical,

    • Sassy says:

      When Terror was a baby he used to lay around my neck to sleep. Thank God he no longer does that, he is HUGE now. It was nice in the middle of winter, we got him in March, but he grew quickly. He used to curl right around my neck like a mink stole. Now he settles for laying near me as long as I hold his paw, but he still likes his face as close to mine as I allow him to get it. He is very lovable, not your normal Tortie from what I have been reading, he is easy going with the other cats, he gets along with them as long as they don’t give him a problem, he will stand up for himself if he has to but he would rather not, he would rather be loveable and snuggle with the others.

      • Jay says:

        Not your “normal Tortie” is right. 1 in 3000 at least. Probable the same percentage as the pure Tortie as Brooke, Steeler, Kasey and Stirfry.

        How much does Terror weigh ? I know Glen’s Taz is 22 lbs. and my Punky was 21 and that is a lot of cat.

        And I do so love that name.

        • Sassy says:

          Terror is prob around 20 lbs at least, it has been a while since I have weight him, I think he was 22 at last weigh actually for his worm meds. He is rare all around, he is a HE first of all, and out of our 13 cats everyone remembers Terror when they come in the house and thank God he is so big or he surely would have been slipped under a coat by now LOL. He is persistent when he wants food, he will come to me and and stare me right in the face and meow. He then waits for me to say what do you want, show me and he will turn around and take me to what he wants, most time it is food, some times it is a toy. He has had two surgeries on his intestines because he ate string from somewhere, we cannot have one little thread hanging anywhere, he WILL find it. You know the ones that hang off your clothes, curtains, furniture, all over the house? He is insured, luckily since we insured him we have not had any more tummy surgeries, now that I am home all the time I intervene a lot when he finds those small threads. One of the cats clawed one eye so he has a cloudy eye, but he is a trooper, still acts like a kitten and he is 11 now.

  5. Betty Brown says:

    Am preparing for it to be a very interesting day around the homestead. My husband is on his way to pick up a dog . The dog we lost on Christmas had been in our home for 8 years and Columbia (my tortie) never accepted her. If Lucy got in the same air space as Columbia, hissing and slapping started. This dog is even smaller than Lucy was and much younger. Lucy was thirteen and the new doggie is thirteen months old.. In his current home there are dogs and cats and he tries to play with the cats. I am hoping that my Rocky (male tux) who desperately wants a playmate, accepts the dog, and that Columbia doesn’t harm him.

    • Ingrid says:

      Good luck, Betty! As I’m sure you know, “slow and steady” is the name of the game when it comes to introducing a new family member.

    • Jay says:

      Good luck also Betty. As much as we try it’s always up to our little ones. So far Bernie and I have been lucky. Harry not so much.

    • Betty Brown says:

      Day 1 was a little shaky. Surprisingly enough it was my Brad cat (black cat, is the only one that goes out) that we had the most problems with. As soon as he saw the dog the hissing, spitting, slapping, and growling began. Those actions of course made the dog more interested in chasing him.

      Columbia would hiss whenever the dog (Buddy) go too close, Janet (my other black kitty) just took off for the bedroom and found a hiding spot. Rocky hid for a while then he gave up and let Buddy walk past him which made Buddy ignore him. My other cats need to learn that behavior also so that Buddy would just leave them alone.

      • Ingrid says:

        It sounds like you may want to slow things down a little. Gradual, slow introductions tend to be more successful as well as less stressful for everyone involved.

  6. Jay says:

    I had a great idea as to how to get 2 crutches from 1 level to another. I had bought parachute cord and 2 metal clips. Tied a clip to either end and hook the clip to one crutch as when I went upstairs on the spiral staircase I would just pull the cord up with the other crutch and get around. Worked yesterday. Well today 2 cats (Styx and Arian) thought that was a cute cat toy and I almost pulled 2 cats up the steps. I was just hoping they would not bite all the way thru. Now I will throw treats before doing that again. Kinda like throwing a donut out the window when being followed by a cop.

  7. Jay says:

    I see Harry has made a great breakthrough with Bobby sleeping out of the bedroom with Brooke loose in the house. Show that a new black kitten can show a tough Tortie that everyone can get along. Congrats !!!!

  8. Debbie says:

    I have been blesses with a Torti. I had never heard of this bread until I watched the show My Cat From Hell. She has been living on my porch for the last year. Think someone has dumped here. I couldn’t let her in the house because I was caring for my girl Rosey. Rosey was 17 years old. Had her since she was born. Was spending all my time caring for her with her meds and special needs. She just got old and I had to put her to sleep about 5 months ago. I was devistated and still miss her soooo much. This kitty never left my front porch. She was very persistant. After Rosey was gone for a couple weeks I let her in the house. Realized how unusual her markings were. She was ready to be in the house and immediately took over. I have named her Bindy because of her brindle markings. She was thin and gained weight quickly. I could tell she was an older cat. Got a closer look at her and realized she had almost no teeth. Think she has been on her own a long time. She is pushy and insists on having things her way. Found out later this is called tortitude. Took her to vet for vaccinations and vet said she is at least 10 years old. It took some time to allow myself to love her because I miss Rosey so much. But think Rosey would approve of me caring for this elderly Torti. She has some special dietary needs because of her age and no teeth. She is now plump and very happy. She curls up on my lap and is exteamly possesive of me. She is very vocal too. I have grown to love her and her tortitude. Can’t imagine why someone would just bump such a loving older kitty. Think God brought her to me with the loss of my Rosey Girl. Bindy is part of my family forever.

    • Ingrid says:

      What a wonderful story, Debbie! It sounds like there was a greater plan at work, sending Bindy into your life when you most needed her as Rosey was starting to decline. I have a feeling Rosey is smiling, wherever she may be.

    • Jay says:

      Debbie, this story sounds so familiar. Some cats cat tell where their is a safe house and I think our little fur ones that crossed the bridge let them know when to work their magic on you. Rosey was telling Bindy to let you know you should take her in. And I do not ever know how someone could dump a cat for what ever reason out to fend for themselves. Thank you for taking her in. Tortie are vocal and persistent and always get their way. Stick around and you will learn a lot about them. They are not a breed but a genetic mix up that makes them this beautiful color of black and gold. You will find some of us on here follow 2 football teams. The Steelers or the Saints. Not because we like football but more so because our cats are the unofficial mascots of these teams. Read Ingrid’s story of Bernie’s Steeler. A few years ago we had the whole blog cheering on a team because of her.
      And there are a few of us on here that have well know Torties that have Tortitude to the extreme. Mine is named Stirfry.
      Welcome to the group.

      • clematis says:

        A lovely story from Debbie. It sounds as though Rosey had a plan and that was that! Also, Jay, “Stirfry” is a very cute kitty name. May I ask, how did you come up with such a charming name? :)

        • clematis says:

          *Oh, excuse me, got the names mixed up, argh. I meant Bindy had a plan. Sorry for that!

        • Jay says:

          Clematis, many on here know of Stir and how she got her name but some of the new ones do not. Many years ago (2001) I had been divorced and acquired my ex’s cat Tabatha who is a Tortie with White. Harry tells me that the white tames the Tortitude. I was feeding outside feral cats and one who I thought was black was around a lot. She was a small cat and probable under a year old. I had seen her chased up a tree and could not get her down. She came down over night but would never come to me when I was outside. Slowly over a few months I was able to get her to come down the hillside and eat anything I threw out to her. Hot dogs were a favorite. Eventually she came up on my deck and rubbed against me and purred. I reached down and gave her a scratch. That was the start of a love affair. From then on she was always around and followed me when I burned trash, fed my goat or did yard work. Never a bit of attitude. Then one cold winter day decided to take her in. She disappeared for 3 days and I was sure she was dead from a car or wild animal. Then she showed up. I took her in that day and the temp dropped to below zero that night . Tabatha wanted nothing to do with this cat and the black cat without a name definitely wanted nothing to do with Tabatha. I tried to find her a home with family and friends but no one wanted her, especially when she expressed her attitude towards them. I joked to my son that I would give her to an Asian couple at work and they would make Stir-Fry out of her. Well, I fell in love with this cat and she got her Furever name. Well as you know, once you name a cat she (or he) is now yours. A few months later Stirfry had kittens (now you know where she disappeared to) and of the 6, only 3 survived and I kept the only make. He was an orange & white cat and grew up to be a huge, lovable cat that would not hurt a mouse. Stirfry was a terror (nods to Sassy and her male Tortie Terror)and my vet said it was because this black cat was a Tortoiseshell. Not knowing what that was I looked it up and Ingrid’s blog was at the top of the list (Still is) I learned that that color of cat was a genetic mix up and some cats had it to the extreme. 3 others on here had cats that were Stir’s equal (can’t imagine one that could be worse and not a mythical monster). There was Bernie’s Steeler, Glen’s Kasey and Harry’s Brooke. They made up a fearsome quartet and really got the blog talking. Unfortunately Steeler and Kasey crossed the bridge a year ago and now we have 2. But they have been busy and contacted other cats that needed a home and Bernie and Glen have taken in cats that though loveable and spoiled don’t even come close to their former Torties. I am always looking for others on here to bring in a Tortie that can match Stirfry’s attitude. But like the male Tortie they are scarce. Sorry if I talked too long but wanted to bring you up to date.

          • Gail says:

            Well, I’ve told you all about Misha, my stealth tortie, and she certainly has tortitude. She has gone from a starving waif to a diva (aka witch.) Everything is on her terms, and her terms only.

            She will lounge on my lap when I’m at the computer and generally lay across one arm so that it is almost impossible to type and be super affectionate. However, if she decides that she doesn’t want to be petted, she will bite me…or whap me across the face (thankfully with claws shielded.)

            The computer room, where she recovered from her abandonment ordeal and subsequent vet visits for a checkup and to be spayed, has gone from her recovery room to her castle. The other cats enter at their own risk. Oh, and the vet tech informed me when I picked Misha up from her spay surgery that she would NOT allow them to perform their normal pre-surgery blood testing. In fact she was probably the one who was drawing blood from the vet staff instead of the other way around. She does have the nickname there of “Stray cat with short fuse” and she lives up to it in spades.

            My tortie, on the other hand, who was passed over time and again at the shelter because she was thought to be “mean” (basically because she hated a cage and let them know it whenever they tried to put her back in it) is a sweetheart, although she is quirky–very quirky.

            She has gotten herself stuck inside a wall and a suspended ceiling and has now decided that she will live in a downstairs bedroom, all by herself. She has her food and water bowls and a litter box and she occasionally graces me with her presence. She will probably stay there for several more months until she decides to take up residence elsewhere–probably on top of the living room windows or on top of the kitchen cabinets (both of which were her previous lairs from time to time.)

          • clematis says:

            Ah, thank you for the explanation, Jay. Sorry for the newbie question; I appreciate your explanation. Steeler and Kasey sound as though they were incredible exponents of Tortitude. My own tortie is named Carolina and she is currently keeping me from doing the laundry (oh, darn) by sleeping on it. Carolina picks Her Favorite Spot It’s Mine, All Mine periodically throughout the house. Does anyone else have a tortie that does this? First it was “my” favorite chair. Or, formerly “my” chair, then the Throne, and now I am being allowed to use it again. Then it was the best spot on the couch, by the window. I like (liked) to read there in the evening. Too bad for me! When her new spot keeps me from doing drudge-work, however, my objections are much weaker. I think I have a brief window of time at dinnertime tonight–6 on the dot, and she will let me know!–to grab the laundry. Our beautiful, headstrong Torties…what would we do without them? (Laundry, on a regular basis). :D

    • Bernie says:

      Debi I am so sorry that Rosey had to cross the bridge. I know you chose what was best for her. Sometimes those decisions have to be made even tho it breaks the heart. Bindy didn’t just show up for no reason. I am a firm believer in some higher reasoning. I took Steeler in after she had been around for a while. It was the best decision I have ever made. She gave me so much and all she wanted was love. She got all the love she could handle. Steeler left me before I had to make that difficult decision. But the hurt is no less for you than for me. She was a beautiful Tortie, but, as with Jay’s Stirfry, Harry’s Brooke, Glen’s Kasey, she had Tortitude enough for 10 cats. All that I have mentioned has passed over the bridge except Jay’s Stirfry. Stirfry should be in the Wikipedia under Tortitude and Tortiseshell cats. She is so full of Tortitude you have to stand back. Sounds to me like Binky has her Tortitude down pretty good, but the love she gives will give you great pleasure. Welcome to the family of Torties.

      • Jay says:

        Bernie – Brooke is still around ruling Harry’s house. Don’t let her cross the bridge for many many years off. Torties never die but cross over to rule another kingdom. Then they wait for us.

        • Bernie says:

          Harry, I am sorry for putting Brooke in with Steeler and Kasey. I was thinking about Sabrina at the time. Brooke will be around a very long time, now that she has Henry to keep her young.

          • Bernie says:

            Let me try this again. Henry is still with Harry. No doubt about that and hopefully a long time. Now the kitten I wanted to mention here, is Harry’s newest addition. That is his sleek black Bobby. Bobby has brought renewed energy to Harry’s Brooke and Piper. Having a kitten fit in is a great thing. Now if you all are confused, I have did a very good job. LOL

          • Harry says:

            At this point, I don’t even know which cats I have in the house. An update – later.

          • Bernie says:

            Harry, “Polly”? :)

          • Jay says:

            Po;;y and Charlie. :)

          • Jay says:

            Sorry that should have been Polly and Charlie.

      • Bernie says:

        Well written Jay. Thanks for the heads up on my stupid error. You really should put your words to paper. You have all you need to write a truly good book.

        • Jay says:

          I will leave the book writing to our experts Ingrid and Bernadette. Someday I hope a book will be written about the extreme Torties along with the males who are so scarce. Terror, Dooblebug (and other male Torties I forget the names of) along with Steeler, Kasey, Brooke and Stirfry who make the term Tortitude something to be feared would make for a wonderful read. For now I am just the caretaker of 5 cats and 3 mini’s and soon will acquire another Tortie with big eyes and was named for me. :)

          I tried posting earlier but seems we crashed Ingrid’s blog.

          • Bernie says:

            Folks just to clarify a part of what Jay has written ” soon will acquire another Tortie with big eyes and was named for me. ” He is referring to my very beautiful, golden eyed, sweet and gentle Dajudge, affectionately nicknamed “DJ”. Jay, DJ stays a part of her family with me. Nice try tho. :)

    • Glen says:

      It seems sometimes that cats come along at the right time to help us through a loss.

      Just over a year ago we took in a 5 year old, large adult long hair tortie, Gigi from someone who could no longer care for her.

      Within 2 1/2 months I lost my “Warrior Queen” rescue tortie, Kasey, so I have an idea of how you must feel about Rosey. It has been almost a year and I still miss Kasey very much.

      You gave Bindy a second chance and it sounds like it has worked out very well for both of you.

      • Jay says:

        Glen , some cats come along and others are sent by our Torties. Kasey was letting you know you would want another Tortie around to learn how caring you are and tell her how wonderful and Fierce your Warrior Queen was. I can only imagine what Stirfry will send my way. Since Stir has a mean sense of Humor.

    • Sassy says:

      Sorry about your Rosey, it is hard losing our babies. Several of our cats were dumps too. One of them was a pure bred black pointed himalayan, a GORGEOUS CAT! We named him Sammy. He kept coming to eat the food we put out for the ferals and strays, but at first I didn’t know what it was, all I saw was a big bushy tail as he jumped down the side of the ramp outside. The next few nights I saw him and went outside, when I called him he came right over to me so I scooped him up and brought him in the house. He was covered with fleas, ticks and burrs, it took a while to clean him up but he quickly melted our hearts, no one ever claimed him. It became apparent quickly that someone dicarded him because he was sick, so the next year and half we cared for him. He had FL and it went to his brain. He had medicine and incontinence so we put puppy pads wall to wall and when he went we just rolled up the puppy pad and replaced it. He could no longer climb stairs and he became dehydrated often. One day I told my husband he needs fluids bring him into the vet, they kept him over night to give him fluids, it is not a place that is manned during the night. He had a grande mal seizure during the night and we got a call at 7 am, I knew when the phone rang it was bad. We went to see him, he was still alive but they told us we had to put him down, the seizures could happen anytime and he could hurt himself during one or suffocate. We had asked if we could take him home and bring him back if it happened again but due to the severity of the one he had we had to say good bye. It was hard, we held him for a while, then held him while he drifted off. He was a trooper, as sick as he was he still gave lots of love and was happy to be here and cared for in his last days. It angered us so much that someone could throw away someone so precious because he was sick! It was hard knowing the end result was going to come sooner than we wanted but we were blessed to have such a great boy for such a short time, he was beautiful not just in looks but personality also.Bindy is chose your family to care for him, they know instictively I believe and seek us out. So congrats on being that special someone Bindy picked! Also when Sammy had trouble eating, though he had teeth, he loved the meat baby food, the stage 1 I think it is, especially the turkey. I would also mix it with a little of the kitten formula for vitamins for him or mushed up rice with a few left over veggies. You can also take reg cat food and puree it. It is cheaper than buying the specialty stuff. I have a baby food processor, or just a very small food processor would work, just buy your normal brand and puree it!

  9. Carrie says:

    My torty was named Missy. She had to be put to sleep at 16. I adopted her when she was 9. She was my first female and I thought that had to do with her ‘tude. I just stumbled upon this web page and you described her to a T! Every night, when I came home from work she would chase me to the bedroom, jump on the bed and tell me all about her day. She slept in the crook of my arm and stalked me from morning til night. Oh, and the bed was hers. No other cat better even think about it. I loved her.

    RIP “Cat of a Thousand Meows”.

    • Ingrid says:

      I think torties’ talkative streak is one of their most charming attributes. Missy sounds like she was a wonderful girl, Carrie. “Cat of a Thousand Meows.” I love it!

    • Bernie says:

      Carrie your Missy sounds so wonderful. Thank you for sharing her with us. Adopting an older cat, especially a Tortie is just about the best. She stayed long enough to be happy and show you what she was made of. Torties are special and talking is one of their special ways. I love to hear mine talk. I always says they have imaginary friends, because they will walk around talking to no one.

      I had Steeler, an adult Tortie that I rescued. She taught me so much about love. She was a talker and I was in total awe of her. She became so very much a part of my life, but she left far to soon.

      Love the phrase” Cat of a Thousand Meows”. Steeler did not meow, she just talked. Jay Davenport has Stirfry, that Tortie that actually is the definitions of Tortitude, she also does not meow. Then again she really doesn’t “talk” nice. When she speaks, every other cat leaves the room.

  10. Gilly says:

    Our Torti adopted us last Thanksgiving – her name is Purrdy (she purrs a lot). She showed up at our house a few weeks before the holiday, very skinny and would run when we opened the door to say hi.

    My husband had been feeding the wild life for some time, and this skinny little girl was obviously very happy he did so. Well, on Thanksgiving morning, whilst I was cooking our feast, I saw her through the window, there she was sitting next to an empty bowl mewing ….obviously asking my husband to fill it. When he went outside, she didn’t run this time, she stood at arms length and gave him space to refil the food bowl. Whilst he was filling the bowl she decided it was a good time to make friends, rubbed up against his leg…and that was the beginning of our lovely life together.

    She’s an awesome addition to our household and definitely has a mind of her own…and loves to be outside and is VERY verbal – but that’s part and parcel of owning these beautiful creatures…what great personalities they have.

    Any way, we’ve taken in another cat (previous owner didn’t want him). “Hugo” is a 2 year old Himalayan, has been an indoor cat all his life, he’s gorgious, VERY different personality to Purrdy. AND it’s been an interesting couple of weeks getting them used to each other. We’ve kept them separate for the 1st week, and this Wed we introduced them face to face thru a child gate. Purrdy hissed at him and then (with her ADD personality)…prompty forgot about him and wanted outside.

    Purrdy gets along with other cats outside for the most part, she’s good until they either move fast or run away, then she’s after them like they’re prey. So Hugo is very quiet, very shy and is fine at arms length with Purrdy, but if he moves too fast, Purrdy rushes him hissing and slaps him and then takes off. It will be interesting to see if Purrdy will eventually accept Hugo into our household – time will tell. We have many patience and love them both for their very different personalities.

    I loved reading all your stories of Torti’s….they are truly a very special mix and we’re very happy Purrdy adopted us. She’s a spitfire. She sleeps on my pillow next to my head at nights and wakes me up promptly at 5 – to go outside, get fed and play….she’s awesome. Can drives us nuts at times with her constant mewing and movement….but I wouldn’t change a thing.


    • Ingrid says:

      Thanks for sharing Purrdy’s story, Gilly. She sure picked the right home to show up that Thanksgiving Day. Just go very slowly with getting her and Hugo used to each other. Since he’s so timid, you may want to keep a “safe room” for him so he can retreat when he needs to.

      • Gilly says:

        Safe/retreat room – for sure. We only let them loose when we’re home, and Purrdy loves being outside most of the time we’re home. Hugo has a few spaces that he feels comfortable in, so I think we’re on the right track. When we’re out, Hugo has the run of the house upstairs where Purrdy can’t access, just smell and play paws under the door and Purrdy has downstairs….so far so good.

        Yesterday morning was good (2 1/2 weeks down), we had just fed them both in their separate areas, Hugo ventured out into the hallway and Purrdy walked right by him w/o hissing (what a breakthrough), Purrdy looked at him and just carried on. So things are progressing in the right direction :)


    • Jay says:

      Gilly, I just read your post about Purrdy. That story is so much like how I got my 1st Tortie, Stirfry. Feeding an outside kitty and finally having her jump up to rub against me instead of running away. That is a sign that they chose you as their protector and to give them a forever home. We all are grateful you did the right thing and rescued a lonely cat and made them happy.

      And I also know how fast a Torties personality can change. Stir’s switches back and forth in milliseconds. Be careful letting Purrdy outside. Not sure if your city or country but there are many dangers in both. Cars and mean humans are the worst. Other animals next.
      Cat introductions are an exact science. Unfortunately no one on here listens to the way we are told to do it. Mine is to give a few days in a kennel in the basement to smell each other than throw them together in thee house to see how things go. Been lucky so far with my last 3. All get along except with Stirfry.

      • Ingrid says:

        Actually, cat to cat introductions are NOT an exact science :-) That’s why behaviorists and rescue groups generally advise people to go very slowly, and to pay close attention to how cats react to each other. If there’s a problem, back up a step and go even slower. No two situations will be exactly the same, because no two cats are exactly the same. Unfortunately, simply “throwing cats together” rarely works out well.

        I’m sure Harry has some stories to share from his vast experience as an adoption counselor.

  11. george says:

    I have a female cat name money and she has all the attributes of a tortie…we call her money because we know she’s worth money from the way she is…she has attitude and she meows like she’s talking human language. She follows me all over other….we found her on our porch when she was 1 1/2 years old (according to an animal doc). Money showed us that we needed her too from the looks of things. She watches me get ready for work and she’s all over me when I get home. I can shake her. she’s playful, energetic, and say she’s fat, but she’s the best because i know she gots my back….she’s a beautiful cat. I have had cats al my life, but none like my Money…she’s all the colors too…plus, one paw is tan, and the other is black and she likes to show off her huge claws and fangs….MY MONEY..she’s now 5 and going strong…

    • Ingrid says:

      Money definitely sounds like a tortie, George. All of us here know that torties are priceless. :-)

    • Jay says:

      Welcome to the group George. Money sounds like a great Tortie. Possessive, talking , energetic and teeth and claws. And the name can also mean all the doctors bill, bandages and pain killers you will need if you cross her :). So glad you gave her a forever home and she is thanking you by watching out for you. Torties are the best.

    • Logan S says:

      Sounds just like my tortie :) I have also had a few cats in my life but none compare to my torties unique personality. She is also 5 years old, I rescued her when she was a few months old. Someone snapped her tail right in half so she kind of has a crooked tail, she doesn’t mind though it still works :)

  12. Roger says:

    Recently I took my male cat (this is not a tortoiseshell question per se) to the vet. She told me that it was not a good idea to give cats dry food because it encourages urinary tract problems. Niether my old calico nor my current tabby have ever had these problems and I have been giving them a mix of dry and wet food for years… decades even. Dry food is good because I can just leave it out and he can snack on it as he pleases. The vet suggested I mix the dry food with water. That way he will get sufficient hydration from his food and be filled up at the same time. He hates this and will only eat it when he’s starving. The rest of the time he is around my feet begging for food. Is dry food really that bad? I have never bought the cheap brands… usually Purina.

  13. Roger says:

    So if I feed him twice as much two times a day you think he will be ok and not pestering me all the time for food? “Feeding dry food to cats is no different than feeding sugared cereals to kids….” what’s up with sugared cereals? My kids had no problem with them & they’ve grown up ok. My old cat was never obese (anything but in truth ~ she died of old age) and my new one is unlikely to become so judging from the look of him. Are we doing too much here?

  14. Roger says:

    I think what I’m going to do is feed him wet food (twice as much of the meat only variety) when I’m at work and put dry food out for him at the weekend as a supplement to the wet food, so he’s not rushing into the kitchen every time I go anywhere near it. I’m still going to give him the dried bonito fish flakes as a treat. He loves those? What other treats would you recommend?

    • Ingrid says:

      The amount you feed him twice a day will depend on his weight, Roger. It may take some time before he gets used to meal feeding. Occasional treats are fine. If you’d like more detailed and personalized recommendations, I’d be happy to schedule a consultation with you.

  15. Jay says:

    To all those that celebrate Easter, Happy a Blessed Easter.
    To those like me, see ya at the stores tomorrow for 50% off chocolate.

  16. Jay says:

    A quick note. Styx was at the vet last Thursday and had some teeth removed. She is doing well and playing with the other cats. When I took her home Thurs at 5 pm she was groggy and laid on the bed with me. Around 9 she staggered off the bed and I thought she wanted food or water. Nope, she had to use the litter box. I tried to hold her in that but no luck. She got out then back in. She laid there and peed. I took her out and washed and dried her and back to bed. She slept till morning and at 5 am wanted off the bed. Still could barely walk but after some wet food was back to bed for more rest. Within a day and numerous small feeding was getting around. Even smacked Stirfry as Stir was sleeping. Course she left the bed right after she did that. Cat might be brave but not dumb. Now she is back to her normal Tortie self.

  17. Logan S says:

    Ha ha my Tortie definitely has a funny personality. I rescued my Cat Wibby and her sister around 6 years ago. Some kids were trying to light there tails on fire and threw them in the garbage. They were only probably a couple months old, I ended up giving one to my sister. The first few years I had her she was very traumatized and would only let me pet her, she would attack everybody else. Today she is back to her normal self and she is very lovable. She is very loud and demanding of me at times :p, I have always wondered what type of cat she was. Whenever people see her, they think she is a prize winning show cat. Torties are some of the most beautiful cats there are in my opinion.

    • Ingrid says:

      It’s sickening what some humans can do to animals. Thank you for rescuing Wibby and the others, Logan. I’m glad you were patient with her and helped her heal from her trauma. I think everyone here would agree with you that torties are the most beautiful cats in the world. :-)

    • Jay says:

      Logan, I too thank you for rescuing those kitties. Wibby had a rough start and I don’t blame her for not trusting humans. Were you able to report those kids to the authorities as people who do that to animals will do that to people who cannot fight back. You do not want to know what I would do to them. Post a pic of Wibby on Ingrid’s FB page if you can. I did not know you could snap a cat’s tail ad imagine it must be painful. My Tuxie Frankie has a kink in his tail and I was never sure if it was a birth defect or something that happened when he was a feral.

      • Logan S says:

        No I didn’t end up reporting them or anything. I just went up to them and asked them what the h— they were doing, and took the kitties away from them. I was only 15 at the time and there were a few of them, they also had 2×4′s they were throwing at the cats so I didn’t feel like starting any trouble. These were the neighborhood bullies, so I wasn’t too surprised to find them abusing animals. I have a couple of pictures of her if you click my profile on here :)

  18. Chelsie says:

    I have a 3 yr old torti, who is in love with me! The second I am finally sitting down she is right there, on top of me giving me head butts :) BUT the second I put her down so I can get up, she follows and almost howls at me. Sounds like she is saying “mmmoom, noooo” haha silly little thing. Then last night she got into one of her “run bat shit crazy and knock everything over” moods. She is pretty much nocturnal, hides/sleeps during the day and comes out to love me at night. She must sleep by my head or beside me, beside the dog. She is the friendliest thing ever ! :)
    Her name is Marni. She was taken away from her mother too soon and would suck on the stomach of the kitten she was caged with (SPCA), needless to say I adopted him too ;).
    All in all, I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world <3

    • Ingrid says:

      “Run bat shit crazy and knock everything over” mood – if that doesn’t describe tortitude to a T, I don’t know what does! Your Marni sounds wonderful, Chelsie.

    • clematis says:

      Ha ha! Our Tortie has the madly-running-around moods, too; we call it “catching particles.” There’s some important prey there, clearly–we just can’t see it; must be a tiny particle. She has toys as well and likes the feather wand in particular but seems most attuned to those pesky particles. Must run madly into the living room and POUNCE! Got it! Followed by a nap after such exertion. :)

      • Ingrid says:

        “Catching particles” – I love it. At our house, it’s called “the zoomies:”

        • Harry says:

          When we had a Maine Coon, who would suddenly howl at nothing and fly down the hallway after something that wasn’t there, in view of his “Down East” heritage, we said he was chasing invisible lobsters.

          • Bernadette says:

            My dilute tortie Nikka would hurry into the room and stop, frozen in place, and stare with big round yellow eyes at the ceiling over my head, then slowly down to my face, and back up. I could totally picture a huge spider lowering itself to get tangled in my hair–that happened once, outdoors, but I always wondered how she knew my biggest fear–not of spiders, but of one stuck in my hair :). I held off as long as I could, but I always looked.

  19. Jay says:

    Welcome Chelsie and Marni. You will find that Tortie are so special because of their personalities. They range from Very Friendly to Attitude with a tail and whiskers. I have both. Stick around and learn about a whole group of lovable Torties (plus some non Torties who have to live with them).

  20. Chelsie says:

    Thank you :)

    I have 5 cats (spca lovers) but only one is tortie. I also have a Calico, A Tux, A “moo moo cow” (black and white all over ;p) and a fat orange tabby :)
    I love them all, but Marni Bum as I like to call her is the cuddliest. However she does have I’m going to claw you as you walk by days.

    I call her Marni Bum because she will stick her butt RIGHT in my face, as if she is saying ” Check my bum mum” ;p

    Cant wait to learn more about everyone’s fur babies!

    • Bernadette says:

      Love the “I’m going to claw you as you walk by days”! It just keeps the human on her toes, which is a basic rule for cats. Sounds like you have a lovely mixed family!

      • Jay says:

        Bernadette, maybe the basic rule for Cats is to keep their human on their toes. But a Tortie’s rule seems to keep their human on a high ladder. At least that seems to be the rule that Steeler, Kasey, Brooke and Stirfry followed.

        • Bernadette says:

          Not ever with Cookie or Kelly, or Nikka or Fawn or Peaches or any of my foster tortie-calico varieties! I may have you all outnumbered.

          • Harry says:

            Nor Brooke – she’s wonderfully sweet with humans. It’s felines she’s not so crazy about.

        • Jay says:

          I know not all Torties are the same. They vary from very gentle ( my Tabatha) to slight attitude (my Styx). They get along with the other cats. Stirfry hates any other animal and will only tolerate a few humans. And there is only 1 she trusts. Me. Not saying I don’t get bitten or scratched daily, but she does not bite me like she would anyone else. Teeth on my skin but hardly going to the bone. I am pretty sure she was the reason the word Tortitude was invented. That or her close relatives the Sabertooth Tiger.

          • Glen says:

            “I know not all Torties are the same. They vary from very gentle ( my Tabatha) to slight attitude (my Styx). ”

            Yeah, Gigi at 14 pounds with a solid build, large feet and a great deal of strength is a long hair, gentle giant type tortie.

            My Kasey was a different story, earning the name Warrior Queen. She had no fear and extreme fighting skill and confidence to back it up.

            A lot of cats run away from something, some come back to look at it, some will fight if they must; Kasey on the other hand, sought out and welcomed a fight; and it did not particularly matter what it was.

            Just her getting up from laying on the floor would sometimes clear a room of other cats.

            However, she was very devoted to and friendly with me, or most people.

          • Jay says:

            Kasey was so feared that those others felt they must have done something wrong the day before and Kasey just now remembered what it was and gonna talk to them about it. And some Tortie talk is mostly 4 letter words. Who knows what Stirfry is saying to me. Before Ingrid she was just feared up in Canada. Now Kasey has a Reputation known all over the world.

          • Glen says:

            “And some Tortie talk is mostly 4 letter words. ”

            Yes, Kasey did not meow in the conventional sense.

            She had a loud purr but there were a series of eeps and squeaks that passed for meowing.

            There was the cougar snarl, full variety of hisses.

            Then there were noises that “were not of this world”, far worse than anything on any sci-fi or horror movie.

            I have said that if she was dropped into one of those alien planet scenes often depicted in sci-fi shows, in the dark, with horrible cries and snarls coming out of the gloom, she would not have been afraid.

            She would have seen it as her next victim making a mistake, giving its position away.

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