“Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats: Fact or Fiction?

tortoiseshell cats

Five years ago, I wrote a post titled Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. The post describes some of the unique traits that many of these beautifully colored cats seem to share: 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.

The post gets 200-300 views every single day, and has generated close to 14,000 comments to date. It’s become a place for people to share stories about the torties in their lives.

As someone who has been owned by four torties at this point, not counting my first office cat at the animal hospital I managed, who was also a tortie, I feel that I’m somewhat of an expert on these special cats. And while Virginia, Amber, Buckley, Allegra and Ruby all had or have some degree of tortitude, their personalities were and are also  very different. This appears to be true for the torties whose guardians have commented on the post as well.

torties

What is a tortoiseshell cat?

Contrary to what some people think, tortoiseshell cats are not a breed. They are named for their distinctive coloring – a combination of patches of black, brown, amber, red, cinnamon and chocolate. The size of the patches can range from a speckled pattern to large splotches of color. Tortoiseshell cats have have very few or no white markings, as opposed to calicos, who are tri-colored cats with larger areas of white fur. Sometimes, the colors are more muted. These torties are known as dilute torties. Very dark torties with a lot of black in their fur are often affectionately called “chocolate torties.” Occasionally, the typical tortoiseshell colors are also seen in a tabby (striped) pattern; these cats are referred to as “torbies.” Tortoiseshell markings appear in many different breeds.

The unique genetics of tortoiseshell cats

In addition to their unique personalities, torties also have unique genetics. The vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female, because two X chromosomes are required to produce black, gold and orange coloring. Male cats only have one X and one Y chromosome, so technically it’s genetically almost impossible for a male to inherit the tortoiseshell coloring. A male tortoiseshell has an extra X chromosome, making it an XXY. According to a study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, only 1 in 3000 tortoiseshell cats is male.

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Are tortoiseshell cats really different from other cats?

Speaking from personal experience, it appears that no two tortoiseshell cats display the exact same amount of tortitude. Virginia had definitely read the book on tortitude. The first time I met her, during my interview for the hospital manager position, she greeted me by walking over to me, looking up at me, and then digging her claws into my legs to use them as a scratching post.  Amber was the “anti-tortie” – she was a gentle, calm, almost shy cat, but she was a bit headstrong. Buckley’s tortitude manifested in her exuberance. She loved everything and everybody. Allegra is highly sensitive to the world around her, and often quick to react to something that she perceives as a threat. Ruby is the most high-spirited cat I’ve ever had. Of all my cats, she is the one with the highest dose of tortitude.

tortoiseshell cat

The experts weigh in on tortitude

I decided to check with some other experts to get their thoughts on tortitude. “I often tell clients that torties are the redheads of the cat world,” says feline veterinarian Dr. Fern Crist, who practices at Just Cats Clinic in Reston, VA. “They are beautiful, but short-tempered and quick to wrath. Of course they are not all like that, any more than every redhead is – but I always approach a tortie with a tad more circumspection than any other coat color.” While Crist takes a cautious approach to her tortie patients, she adds “I’ve always thought that the price you pay in tortitude, you get back tenfold in love.”

“There is no evidence that there is a link between color gene and personality,” says Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, a former president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and owner of two cat hospitals, Chico Hospital for Cats in Chico, CA and the Cat Hospital of Portland in Portland, OR. “It is true though, that almost all tortoiseshell cats are females, and some people perceive females as being more headstrong than male cats. However, the real determination of personality is naturally a combination of genetics and environment.”

Jackson Galaxy has worked with his share of tortoiseshell cats in his decades of helping cats with behavioral challenges. “In my experience, tortitude is a very real thing,” says Jackson. “And now that there is a a study correlating coat pattern with behavior, our characterizations have been validated. Of course, anyone who knows me, knows I try not to talk about cats in generalities.” Jackson feels that torties and calicos are more energetically sensitive. “I think that’s part of the reason why their personalities are always on full display,” he says. “I’ve always said that cats are energetic sponges. Torties, however, just seem to soak up more, which is why they’ve got so much to say.”

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Tortoiseshell cats are special

Those of us who love torties embrace their unique personalities. It is important to remember that every cat, regardless of coat color, is an individual. Not every tortie will exhibit the traits attributed to these beautifully colored cats, but the majority seem to live up to their reputation. As far as I’m concerned, tortitude is real. And while torties may, at times, seem like they have split personalities, going from purring away in your lap to suddenly racing around the house like a crazy kitten, those of us who love them wouldn’t want them any other way.

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872 Comments on “Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats: Fact or Fiction?

  1. haerea "rea"
    January 21, 2017 at 9:00 pm (40 mins ago)

    Dear people today is January 22 2017, And 13 days since my precious Sheba a dsh tortie with white passed away due to illness after 16 years with me.She was from Abu Dhabi where i worked and she was given to my boss daughter.She was more than a year old then cause her record showed she was born january 1 2000 and that was May 2001 when she arrived in their home. After my boss work term ended and they needed to return to Australia in 2003 they told me that Sheba will be advertised for a new foster parent but I got so attached with Sheba I decided to take her with me to my country Philippines.I was afraid the new mom or dad who will take her might not be able to understand her cause she was feisty, scared of other people, especially men,and can scratch and bite if any stranger would pick and pet her.But with me she was nice and obey me when there are certain things that is NO for her to do.All the years that she lived with me we created a strong bond that maybe only a few people had experienced. By just looking at each other we both understand what is needed to be done or if there is imminent danger for any of us.And all those years her presence cushioned me from getting lonely i didn’t realize she was already stucked in my heart and right after she passed away I feel my heart is ripped off with so much pain.Crying can’t even relieve the grief that I feel, all I see is bleakness even if the sun is shining.How I wish God will help me with this very difficult time and help me forget that my life has to go on without my beloved Sheba.All around the house reminds me of her and her funny antics even when she started getting sick and was unable to do her usual craziness.She saved me from possible snake bite 3 times when those critters managed to get inside the house.The first happened on march 29 2010 and december 2011 and again on july 2015 when I already moved to my new house.She notified me by scratching the front door when she sensed that there was a burglar who manage to open the gate by meowing so loud last year 2016 august.I live alone cause my husband works in Saudi, so she was my companion, my confidante,my guardian and my clown,Im never lonely with her alone.I have a 4 month old persian kitten given to me by a dear friend but this thing is tiny and quiet and very docile,as opposed to my noisy and demanding Sheba my house is still very quiet even with her presence.I really wanted very much to have a dsh tortie like Ingrid’s Buckley and Allegra who are very similar with Sheba,but here in Philippines they are hard to find and besides I might not be able to afford it.Im a 66 year old senior citizen and my husband’s salary wont be enough to buy or transport one from UAE or other countries.A new dsh tortie wont replace Sheba in my heart but at least I will have one that displays tortitude which fills my days with joy and laughter.What I can afford is only good quality cat food and all its needs and vet services is not so expensive here even if I haven’t known any that specializes on cats.My consolation now is to browse the net and look at pictures of cats from all over the world.

    Reply
  2. lise gray
    January 19, 2017 at 1:57 pm (2 days ago)

    I am going to write how i got my little SADIE! I had lost my lovely dog Sassie, to Kidney Disease, and had to put her to sleep. Anyway we picked up her ashes, and my partner said to me, why don’t we go to the shelter to look at other dogs, ( this was the furthest from my mind at this time)!!!!So we stopped at the shelter, and there were no dogs there that i wanted of course, as i was still mourning the loss of my dog. I went around the kitties, just to look at them!Just to look at them.. i looked around, there was ordinary cats, older cats, it made my heart break seeing all these cats. I was almost ready to leave, then in one crate there were 2 kitties, they were both 3 months old the woman told me. One was all these brown colors that i’d actually never seen before, and her brother was black in color. But this little brown shelled little thing had a purr that i never had heard of…she was so loud! she was a ball of fur. But the purr was what got me. She curled up in my arms. And of course purred to her hearts content… i Immediately fell in love with her. When i told my partner that i wanted her , she couldn’t believe it, as i had always loved dogs, and was not really “into” cats as she said….but this little one stole my heart. I took her home, put her into a guest room. From then on i would go into the guest room, she’d crawl up on my chest and fall asleep. She has been the love of my life. She comes on the bed still , and curls up beside me and still her purr, just puts me to sleep. She is the fiestiest at times, she never hisses, which is nice except can keep our new dog in check, can be at times, the sweetest!!!!! if she wants food, funny little thing. Of course i give in. She will be turning 4 this july. Every day, I thank the heavens that i found her. This is my story of Sadie and I …. my little sweetie. Don’t know what i’d do without her….. she is the one that is the boss of the house…and i read Ingrid’s blogg…Sadie is very possessive of me. If our other cat gets near me, there is a very low growl. Ha….this little stormy one is a cutie and stands her ground! at anything and anyone.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 20, 2017 at 6:07 am (2 days ago)

      Sadie sounds like a wonderful cat, Lise. I’m so glad you two found each other.

      Reply
  3. haerea enopena
    January 18, 2017 at 11:01 pm (3 days ago)

    Hi everyone I had a tortie with white that looks like she was wearing a white bikini.Sadly she died last January 9 2017 and it really devastated me until now.Everybodys description is exactly correct with my beloved Sheba.She was very loyal and vocal to me that when i go out and return home late she is by the door and pounce on me and even bite my leg and I get an hour of scolding or whatever bad names she calls me in cattie language and after that she wont talk to me for at least 3 hours and wont even eat if i give her food.But after the initial scolding we are friends again like nothing happened she sits on my lap when im in front of the computer, she sits on my face when im lying in bed or sofa and she sits by the door of the bathroom when im in bathing or doing toilet chores.But the biggest thing that she did was when she saved me from being possibly bitten by a baby cobra that manage to get inside our house. we have a spare room where i used as store room from everthing even grocery items and one night or rather one dawn i just came from a friend celebrating her birthday.Sheba didnt do the usual scolding and biting thing to me but instead she meow so loud when i attempted to go to the spare room to get something. She literallly blocked my way and wont let me go to that room and really bit my leg when i insisted to do so.I was so annoyed that i took my bamboo back scratcher to scare her but suddenly she came out with a wiggling thing in her mouth and i was shocked to see a snake. I told her to put it down and she did and the snake and sheba started to be sparring like agile dancers the snake flattening its face and strike at sheba and sheba hissing and hitting the snake on the head with her sharp claws. the were near the fridge and the snake hid under it that was the time i pick sheba and lock her in the bedroom and i went to fight with the snake i wont allow it to be alive inside the house.after an hour i manage to flatten its head with the scratching bamboo i was holding and i put it in a transparent plastic bag and since it was 3 am i plan to bury it in the morning.i took sheba out from the bedroom and inspected her body if she wastn bitten by the snake. At 6 am i prepared me and sheba and i took her to the vet to make sure she wasnt bitten by the cobra and the vet told me if she was bitten she wont survive until morning.I was glad and really cried and hugged my precious sheba which she seems to understand when i smothered her with kisses.After a year it happened again i was sitting in front of the computer at 12midnight chatting with my husband who is working abroad and suddenly sheba meowed frantically and keep on running to the spare room. i followed her and when i was at the door she looked up and i saw a huge snake hanging its head on the manhole of the ceiling.I immediately locked the door and the door and nervously held sheba and waited until morning and at 6 am i immediately called the landlord and told him to get rid of the snake.A guy came and inspected the ceiling but they didnt find the snake but insted found a hole in the corner going down to the grassy and wet pond on the other side of the fence.So the landlord immediately covered the hole and for the second time i was saved by sheba. thats why i am devastated when she passed away just a week ago right now im crying.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 19, 2017 at 6:19 am (3 days ago)

      I’m so sorry about Sheba. What a remarkable cat she was!

      Reply
    • Sarah
      January 21, 2017 at 12:24 am (21 hours ago)

      I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re an awesome cat mom. Sheba sounds incredible. She sounds just like my blue cream Tortie poppy. She’s 14 going on 4….. I hope she never slows down

      Reply
      • Haerea "rea"
        January 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm (8 hours ago)

        Thanks for your encouragement Sarah I appreciate it. Right this moment Im grieving and have difficulty easing the pain and the guilt that I feel because I feel I failed my sweet Sheba when she needed me most.Maybe I should have taken her to the vet every single week that I noticed she was sick.Even if I did took her to the vet when I noticed blood in her urine at the start of 2016 I was confident that she will get well with the meds shes getting.Maybe I should have done more and seek more expert vets to treat her and not allow her to suffer pain until she cant take it anymore.But here in my country Philippines there are no veterinary hospitals specialising in cats.

        Reply
    • Haerea "rea"
      January 21, 2017 at 5:35 am (16 hours ago)

      Thanks Ingrid for sympathising with my loss.Until now I still didn’t get over the grief that envelopes me on the death of my sweet girl sheba.Even if I have a 4 month old persian kitten given by a dear friend who tried to console me from my pain I am very sure nothing can replace sheba in my heart.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        January 21, 2017 at 6:21 am (15 hours ago)

        Of course no other cat will ever replace Sheba, but perhaps the kitten can help your heart heal.

        Reply
  4. jackie of jackie's crafts
    January 18, 2017 at 8:17 am (4 days ago)

    Hi I am her majesties’ Lady Black’s care. As you tell by her name she black with just a very small patch near her thought of white hires not white skin. Like most cat she loves to be up high in this way she can look down us lowly humans who have walk about on 2 legs only. She joined in early 2010 along with 3 or 4 son Dash, she was starving and stool the few very small peace of bacon I had put out for the birds. Not knowing she had been dumped I shooed her away. But later the same day she was around again 2 weeks later both were making their home with. How people can just dump a pet I do not understand, I will not get no my hobby horse about it. Sadly Dash lived up to his name at about 18 months and very much a man about town, he dashed across the road in front of my home and was knocked down. I saw him when I returned home later in the day. Lady Black and me has several sad days we hugs and nights with her on my lap. Although Dash had been spied he very much lived up to his name. Lady Black is we think is about 10 or 11 years old, she likes the quiet life now.

    Reply
    • Esme Solomons
      January 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm (3 days ago)

      For eighteen years my husband and I had a calico tortoiseshell cat. We loved and cared for her, and she loved us, even though we put her through the torture of transferring her from Zambia to South Africa by plane. She definitely had tortitude, and we put up with her whims as she put up with ours… But right now I have a very different problem: My husband died some years ago, and now I live in a retirement complex in Randburg. A year ago two young cats, a ginger, and a lilac tortoiseshell appeared in our garden, through drainage holes at the base of my wall (but over a metre above the path below), from the complex below us. They were both beautiful and very friendly. Shortly afterwards the lilac tortoiseshell cat went on heat with the usual catawauling complications, and she became pregnant. She disappeared for a while, and a couple of months later reappeared with her very slim-line shape. Not being allowed cats in our complex, I never fed her, but she likes human company. A few months later, the process was repeated, and her “owners” (whoever they are) never did anything about spaying her or castrating him. Other stray cats also come into the complex, so we have a lovely breeding ground! A month ago a white kitten, approximately 4-months old, also appeared through one of the holes in the wall, and I was actually held hostage by it for a whole weekend, over a hot holiday weekend round 16 December. Even high small windows were no barrier as it could jump and claw its way up anywhere, and windows and doors had to be kept tight shut! I contacted Friends of the Cat, and they were going to collect it on a Wednesday, so I fed it on the Monday – and then it disappeared. I can only imagine the “owners” had abandoned it for the weekend, then returned, so it went back home, and I couldn’t organise the collection. Now I am having the same trouble with its errant mother. Having tried to get Feral Foundation to collect her and get her spayed, after she delivers the present brood that appears to be incubating in her tummy, I can never depend on her to be around at any time arranged for her collection, so I am at a dead end. I love cats, especially “torties”, and much as I would like a pet like this, first it is disallowed in this complex, and second I am 88 and not going to adopt any pet that I might outlive! This little cat is driving me mad, and it seems there is nothing I can do to get her spayed, or try to find out who her actual owners are, who are so remiss as to leave her in this condition. Just another sad story, and I don’t know how it will end… Esme

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        January 18, 2017 at 6:08 pm (3 days ago)

        Can you get Feral Foundation to help you set a humane trap to try and catch the pregnant tortie and have her spayed?

        Reply
  5. Jmac
    January 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm (1 week ago)

    We have a beautiful Tortoiseshell who is now 15ys old and I agree with all the comments that they are extraordinarily sensitive, another trait that we have always found very endearing is her virtual inability to harm anything, with one exception, Dragonflies, that I would add she eats completely.
    We also owned another cat (molly) that was frankly a complete murderer who died when she was 19 some years ago, they never got on particularly well but totty was of an age where she was tutored in the art of catching anything that moved however I cant remember the amount of times either my wife or I saw our totty running up the stairs with a bird in her mouth only to release it completely unharmed and fly out of one of the velux windows.
    Another very wonderful character trait is how she responds to our voices, I have read a number of comments about them being very vocal and completely agree.
    Just last week our 8yr old male Cocker Spaniel died very suddenly and we are both still very upset, my wife was having a good cry on the sofa and despite my best efforts was inconsolable, a moment later totty walks up and starts vocalizing and in my view sympathizing, it helped immensely. Our Benson was a remarkably wonderful pet and they were the best of friends, more so from totty and he did tend to Sheppard her but she always cuddled up to him when he was fast asleep. Now he has gone (we do miss him terribly) and she is our only pet clearly we are giving her more attention that she is giving back in bucketloads.
    Light at the end of the tunnel.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm (1 week ago)

      I’m so sorry about Benson. I have no doubt that your tortie tried to comfort your wife, even though she also misses her best friend.

      Reply
      • Jmac
        January 14, 2017 at 3:11 pm (1 week ago)

        Thank you so much Ingrid for your very kind comments, much appreciated, J&D

        Reply
  6. Liz
    January 13, 2017 at 3:08 am (1 week ago)

    I have two new-ish little Tortie girls. I’ve had Ella since early April (she was 6 months when I adopted her). Manka,my second, was adopted in late May at 8 weeks.
    It took about 72 hours before these girls became the best of friends! They are both incredibly sweet and loving with me (neither fight me or even get squirmy when I clip their claws!).
    While I love, love, LOVE how sweet, loving, and tender they are with me what blows me away is their love for eachother. It’s rare that I come home and they are not cuddled together. They love grooming eacother. And they do the most adorable wrestling I’ve ever seen. I have never heard so much as a growl or hiss out of either of them. They also look after each other and share! I gave a small piece of meat to Manka and she graciously took it and ran to Ella to share.
    I’m sure this post sounds like a huge brag, and maybe it is a little. Mostly, I just wanted to post about my experience with two young Torties who have developed a bond that warns me to the core every time I see them.
    Aren’t Torties amazing?

    Reply
  7. Diane Baumer
    January 9, 2017 at 10:26 pm (2 weeks ago)

    I have a beautiful tortie named Silk. She is the sweetest, most affectionate and loving cat I have ever known. She is a bit shy, but I think that is mostly because my other cat, who is her senior, is not terribly fond of her and so not very friendly toward her. Silk never even shows aggression toward my other cat, only attempts to be friends.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 10, 2017 at 6:17 am (2 weeks ago)

      What a pretty name for a cat, Diane!

      Reply
      • Diane Baumer
        January 10, 2017 at 10:21 am (2 weeks ago)

        Thank you! I can’t take credit, though. She came from a shelter that rescued her entire litter when her mother was killed shortly after birth (2 days). This shelter names each litter by themes, in order to keep the relationships more easily recognizable. Silk is from the “fabric” litter. 🙂

        Reply
  8. Tanya Graham
    December 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I have a 5 month old tortoise shall and shes the most loving cat ive ever met.. She loves her cuddles and is foever rubbing her face on mine.. And she hardly ever gets her claws out.. But shes the dominate one out of both my cats.

    Reply
  9. Jo Black
    December 21, 2016 at 3:38 pm (1 month ago)

    I have a tortishell. My daughter named her Dashi, after an Octonaut character. She is very loveable, playful and fiesty. She will cuddle with everyone. When we come home she jumps from the floor to my arms and rubs her face on me and gives me gentle little nips on my chin, neck and arms. Sometimes she will let us know when she doesn’t want to be touched. We have a calico to help keep her company while we sleep or are out and about. That is an interesting mix of cats let me tell you. They accent each other’s personality very nicely. They love hard and play hard and when one wants to get in trouble the other assists.
    I’ve lost many cats in the last 20 years and it hurts each time. But when one leaves another seems to find and adopt me. I always find a way to hold onto the memories of each of my babies and love the current one with the love from the previous. My heart goes out to those who have lost their babies suddenly. And for those who have issues with how they behave, maybe finding a feline to compliment the one might help.

    Reply
    • dano312
      December 21, 2016 at 6:27 pm (1 month ago)

      Yes I have had a similar thing occur when my Biggles passed. I thought the other two would pine away, never to have much to do with each other. Biggles was the captain, and they respected the old man. My wife picked up our tortoiseshell cutie Callie, and she is one loving fireball. She keeps the other two on the edge of their worlds. One tight feline connection. It seems to be a trait in the majority of the torties. We are happy. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  10. isabel
    December 20, 2016 at 8:48 am (1 month ago)

    my tortishell Storm was taken 2 days ago from us very brutial way multiple cars ran over her to see her in that state and not be able to do anything just ripped at me, both me and my husband is taking her death very bad owners of these sepcial cats will only understand how much love they give to their humans,
    she was my everything, always by me talking to me following me nudging me to give her more love, always lying on my lap licking me when i rub her tummy she was very over me i felt whole when she was with me she calmed me down.

    we buried her and have been lighting candles since her death i see her spirit feel it hear it now that she is gone i feel lost empty and so raw and hurt

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 20, 2016 at 5:39 pm (1 month ago)

      Oh Isabel, I’m so sorry about Storm. My heart goes out to you.

      Reply
    • Maggie
      December 20, 2016 at 5:58 pm (1 month ago)

      I am so sorry for the pain you and your husband are feeling at this time. I know that every owner of a feline holds a Special Place in their heart for their little furry one. I hope that one day another circumstance will arise and you will be able to share the love you have with another feline and they, with your home. Please know that you have a Special place in the hearts of animal lovers everywhere and we mourn the loss of your Tortie.

      Reply
    • dano312
      December 20, 2016 at 9:18 pm (1 month ago)

      Sorry isabel
      I too well know that feeling. Some time ago OMG about 24 years ago. I remember like it was just yesterday. My then wife was volunteering in the neighborhood when she heard a faint mewing. She sent the fellow who was working with her into the woods to retrieve her. What a feisty cat that Rachel became. She never liked me, back then. We were forced to move, and slowly she warmed up to me. I grew to love her very much. About 6 or 8 months after the move. she bolted out the door. While I was at work. I drove home that evening to find her without life on the street in front of the house. You can never forget the day you lose a fur baby. Every cat I ever had after that, had more than the usual attention showered on them. Every cat I worry will get out in the cruel world. I know the person who hit her is not to blame. They move too fast for drivers to react. Get another QUICKLY, after sufficient grieving. I have a tortoiseshell now, and she is just the most outrageous little girl I’ve ever had the pleasure to love, and watch. My thoughts are with you, believe me.

      Reply
    • Tina
      December 28, 2016 at 7:34 pm (3 weeks ago)

      I’m just reading this for the first time a week later after Storm was taken from you. I’m so sorry for your loss and hope you are a little less shaken . I can only imagine how you must have felt. Take time to heal and hopefully a day at a time you will heal. Bless you.

      Reply
    • Alex
      January 2, 2017 at 8:40 pm (3 weeks ago)

      I am so sorry for the pain that you are going through Isabel. My thoughts are with you.

      Reply
    • lyn.heather@hotmail.co.uk
      January 12, 2017 at 11:12 am (1 week ago)

      I’m so sorry about Storm such a lovely name, and a sad way to go torties are special cats

      Reply
  11. michelle
    December 10, 2016 at 5:12 pm (1 month ago)

    All my life I have been afraid of cats due to being clawed by Farrel kittens when I was really little. Twice in my life I have been chosen to be there human. lol. About 5 weeks ago I was outside and a baby tortoiseshell kitten came running and jumped into my arms. I tried giving her away but she didn’t want anyone else. Needless to say it is my first time really loving a kittten and I think she knew I needed her. I was so lonely before. She will allow other humans to interact with her she loves attention. In fact she won’t play with toys unless I can see her. She tends to get jealous if I am busy and literally attacks me and bites me drawing blood and then runs away. She loves to snuggle on her terms. I have had to crate her at night because she attacks my face while I am asleep. Kind of scary. Sometimes I am afraid to pet or pick her up because she draws blood. I tend to think she is bipolar. I just love her I just don’t know what to do to stop her attacking and biting. She even bites my neck while snuggling and it was her choice to snuggle. Lol My legs are a mess from her clawing them. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 11, 2016 at 6:36 am (1 month ago)

      That’s pretty extreme behavior, Michelle. You may want to consider working with your vet and/or a feline behaviorist to get some help in modifying her behavior.

      Reply
      • michelle
        December 11, 2016 at 3:15 pm (1 month ago)

        Thank you. I am wondering if maybe her mother was a Feral cat and that it might have caused her to act this way. I am getting her spayed after Christmas and I will speak with the vet.

        Reply
        • dano
          December 11, 2016 at 7:47 pm (1 month ago)

          Wowzie Michelle. I could never imagine a tortie doing those kind of things. She seems calm and loving most of the time. Yes a vet trip is warranted. I pay attention to Jackson’s show quite readily, and it sounds like something is not just to her liking. Still a medical condition should be ruled out. Never give in to a vet that recommends de-clawing. She may be lonely or depressed that you aren’t up to pay attention with her. I’ve gotten to know hundreds of torties since we got ours. And every one is unique, quirky, but I’ve yet to find one get aggresive to the one they chose. I wish the best. Updates please!

          Reply
    • Peggy
      December 20, 2016 at 11:17 pm (1 month ago)

      Michelle,
      Just so you don’t feel like you’re the only one, I had to let you know about my tortie of about 5 years, Callie. Her mother was a pregnant stray that came to my neighbors, & we got her when she was a young kitten. She and I have a love/hate relationship. After some time of trying to figure out why she occasionally “attacks” me, drawing blood on my legs or arms, I finally figured out it is a jealousy issue with her. It happens when I’m on the phone, talking to my husband or a visitor, or occasionally when I’m typing at the computer or focusing on something else when she wants my attention. My main defense has been figuring out how to avoid the situation and watch her carefully when I’m talking to others for advance signs, like her staring or giving me the evil eye. I sometimes go into another room and close the door when I make phone calls. That helps a lot, but sometimes she still surprises me, even though I give her plenty of attention, play with her, and have toys for her. Otherwise she loves me and doesn’t want me out of her sight, and her fav spot is in my lap. I’ve thought of asking my vet if there’s a kitty Prozac. I hope things will work out for you and your kitten!

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        December 21, 2016 at 6:16 am (1 month ago)

        Prozac can be given to cats under the direction of a vet, and it can be helpful with some behavior issues, if used along with behavior modification techniques.

        Reply
  12. Kelley Spencer
    December 7, 2016 at 1:51 pm (2 months ago)

    Goodness, I just LOVE reading all of these wonderful stories! Several months ago, a feral cat had a litter of kittens in one of our storage sheds. There was 4 kittens, 1 calico and 3 torties. I was unable to have much interaction with them due to the fact that the mama cat hid them very well, but was able to catch all of them once they were old enough to move on their own from her hiding place. I kept all 4. The calico definitely has a different personality than the 3 torties! She stays on our front or back porch almost always and the 3 torties like to play away from the house–either at the creek or at the edge of the woods. They are all friendly, but the 3 torties are more skittish than the calico and much more vocal. When I baby talk to them, they love to talk back and carry on what feels like a conversation! When approaching them and I start to talk to them, they immediately drop to the ground and start rolling around. It’s the funniest thing! Before I stumbled across this article, I definitely thought that they have the most unique personality of any cat I’ve ever encountered. At least I know now that many others think the same thing:)

    Reply
  13. Fernando
    November 29, 2016 at 11:22 am (2 months ago)

    We have several cats as we rescue them, and we’ve got our first Tortie a few months ago and I can say for sure that she has the strongest personality I’ve ever seen in the cats we have rescued and taken care of. She’s adorable, but also very feisty and super talkative. She also loves us to pieces and is very attached to us, so yes, I totally agree with the “tortitude” idea

    Reply
  14. janet petzelt
    November 26, 2016 at 7:50 pm (2 months ago)

    I have enjoyed all the torti stories and have had many torties in my 82 yrs..my long haired tortie is now 7yrs old.she had been wild for 1 yr before I caught her and had her spayed.she has toritude and you can not pick her up or clip her claws.lovable on her terms only

    Reply
  15. Mary Jo
    November 21, 2016 at 1:58 am (2 months ago)

    I have a beautiful 5 year old tortie but I have to rehome her. My son has developed severe allergies to her, and she has been stressed by our dog and she hides upstairs all the time. This is no life for her. Does anyone know who would want her? Myheart is breaking.

    Reply
    • Jennifer
      November 22, 2016 at 2:39 am (2 months ago)

      Hi Mary Jo –
      I wish I could take your sweet Tortie – but I already have three cats and can’t take anymore.
      I’m not sure where you live, but you might want to try a rescue that fosters cats?
      I wish you luck in finding your cat a good and loving home.

      Reply
    • haerea "rea"
      January 21, 2017 at 9:20 pm (20 mins ago)

      Dear Mary Jo, I wanted very much to have your tortie my sheba passed away 13 days ago and she left a big hole in my heart that makes my life seems so empty and bleak.But with our distant location from each other it will be too expensive so its impossible for me to afford.I hope you will find a loving new mom for her,my heart cries out for you and your tortie who needs to depart from your care.

      Reply
  16. Christina
    November 15, 2016 at 10:06 am (2 months ago)

    Thank you for posting this! We have a tortie that was a stray -she showed up in the middle of the day, layed flat out on the driveway right in the middle of the kids basketball game! She went right to her back, as if to say “Hey! The party can start now and you can get things going by rubbing my belly” She makes her presence known and is very vocal. She doesn’t like to be told what to do, but is very patient with the little ones. No litter box for this cat, she paws at the door and if I don’t let her out when she wants to go, she definitely lets me know. On the other hand, she is such a lover and cuddle-bug and doesn’t let anything get in the way of crawling onto my lap or up by my neck. She will sit on top of my laptop or ipad if I don’t set it aside.

    Reply
  17. Rachel
    November 13, 2016 at 9:51 am (2 months ago)

    Hello , we have a tortie that is 2 years old her name is Molly my question is how does one stop them from being for lack of better words bi-polar she’ll jump up in my lap and be purring her little butt off and the next moment be clawing and biting me .. i am not her “human” per say she choose my Boyfriend but i live here and i scars all over me from her doing this !

    Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      November 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm (2 months ago)

      Molly is probably not too happy that you are getting her human’s attention – I’m afraid that I don’t have any advice – I think it’s probably a tortie thing. Does she know that she is actually hurting you. You could try letting out loud squealing noises when she scratches and hopefully she will understand. I don’t think that she means to hurt you – she just does not want you taking his attention away from her – I think she is jealous of you 🙂

      Reply
  18. M Embling
    November 12, 2016 at 2:00 am (2 months ago)

    Hi I loved reading your blog about torties. I have a little tortie, and her sister ( the sister is an ordinary black cat) that i rescued three years ago from my local cats protection, and displays many of the traits you write about. She is, and always has been a very neverous cat, and will run away at the slightest noise, but she is also very vocal especially with me! I am definately her human, there’s no mistaking that. But recently I moved from England to Wales, and brought them both with me and they have both settled in very well, although where I live i do get a visitor very often from the neighbourhood kitty much to daisy’s disgust (daisy is my tortie), when the kitty comes to near the window of my lounge daisy get’s very defensive, and often fluffs up and ” pretend fights” the visitor kitty. Although when they are confronted with each other outside, daisy will just stare the kitty out, and sometimes hisses at it. They have never actually come to blows, as I always manage to stop them, and daisy runs in the house. Although I am sure the other kitty love winding my cat up, as it rubs its scent all around my back garden, but will only do this if daisy is the other side of the patio door watching lol

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 12, 2016 at 6:23 am (2 months ago)

      Be careful that the visiting kitty doesn’t create a problem between Daisy and your other kitty. This type of thing can lead to redirected aggression.

      Reply
  19. Lucinda A.
    November 11, 2016 at 12:13 am (2 months ago)

    I’ve had my dilute tortie, Trixie, for five years now and she has some serious tortitude. She’s always vocal when she wants something. If it’s purring louder to make sure I pet her just right, or her wanting me to feed her. My mother likes to call her my therapy cat, she has gotten me through some tough times and I can’t love her more than I already do. It seems my cat is very clingy to me, and only me. She notices the other people in the household, but rarely gives them attention. Why do you think that is?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 11, 2016 at 6:15 am (2 months ago)

      I think she’s decided that you are her person, Lucinda!

      Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      November 11, 2016 at 7:03 am (2 months ago)

      It is because she loves you and only you 🙂

      Reply
  20. dave
    October 19, 2016 at 11:24 pm (3 months ago)

    your descriptions of tortie behavior are spot on for the most part- me being her first; i mean, her being my first, I’m just learning: http://imgur.com/a/1nrBu

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 20, 2016 at 5:33 am (3 months ago)

      She’s beautiful, Dave!

      Reply
  21. Elspeth Read
    October 18, 2016 at 6:01 pm (3 months ago)

    Molly our beautiful tortie, died this morning. So full of life and energy 24 hours ago….congestive heart failure at only 8.
    We rescued her in the garage when her mother was killed by coyotes. She was only a few weeks old but I saw a little head peak out under the garage door and spoke to her. I put water in the garage for her but she didn’t come out. I meowed and she answered. The third day, I went in and saw raccoon tracks and called her and she screeched in answer. I searched and found a tiny fluff ball and the rest was history.
    She was very strong willed but so high energy and played with everyone. Pulled apart egg cartons one bite at a time. She chose when she wanted cuddles and it was when I was sitting and she made me keep my legs in position so she wouldn’t fall. If my husband was lying on the couch, she would push his legs until she had a little nest.
    Molly like to sleep on a shelf in the bathroom and that is where she left us, almost full moon shining in the window. She will be so missed…..Tories are the most amazing cats….

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 19, 2016 at 5:17 am (3 months ago)

      Oh Elspeth, I’m so sorry. She was so young!

      Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      October 19, 2016 at 6:05 am (3 months ago)

      So sorry to read of your terrible loss

      Reply
    • Maggie
      October 24, 2016 at 5:17 pm (3 months ago)

      You were her Guardian Angel <3 So happy for you to have shared 8 wonderful years with this Special Treat placed in your life.
      I am trying to catch a gray mama with 2 Torties & a gray kittens for TNR. I'm going to try your meowing technique, if all else fails.
      Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
      • dano
        October 25, 2016 at 7:02 am (3 months ago)

        My heart goes out to you folks. 8yrs is too short. 24 yrs is too short. You did well with her. I hope, in time, another rescue will be with you. We have our tortie, and stories like yours help us to enjoy each moment we can, with all three of our feline kids. xoxo

        Reply
        • Claudia F
          October 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm (3 months ago)

          MY tortie’s name was Patches. I had her for 14 years, the most loving cat you could ever had. She developed complications from surgery and passed away on October 24. I cannot replace her but I am going to get another Tortie.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            October 28, 2016 at 5:22 am (3 months ago)

            I’m so sorry about Patches, Claudia.

    • M Embling
      November 12, 2016 at 2:06 am (2 months ago)

      awe Elspeth so sorry to hear of your loss of your beautiful Molly, but at least she left you with some wonderful memories and she knew you loved her xx

      Reply
  22. debbie
    October 15, 2016 at 12:03 am (3 months ago)

    My Tortie is a female and is the most loveable cat i have ever owned, she doesn’t like to be held like you would any other cat under their belly, she likes be held up on your shoulder like you would a child and she puts her paw around you also like a child, she is 5 years old and has a lot of play in her still. I wouldn’t give her up for anything or anybody, so i am having a problem finding a place to live that is pet friendly,apartments wants a deposit of $25.00-$299.00 which is rediculous, she is not or has never been destructive, but i got her declawed and fixed at 7 months and now she tries to use her claws more then she did before. She has her days and nights mixed up, to where she plays at night and sleeps during the day, she might take like maybe a 10 or 15 minute nap then she is up and ready to go, i can’t figure out how to get her to stay awake so that she is more calm at night when everybody is trying to sleep, i keep her in my room but then i get woke up with her scratching at the door wanting out, so whatever i do isn’t working, i sure could use some advise

    Reply
  23. Derek H
    October 14, 2016 at 3:09 am (3 months ago)

    A few weeks ago a tortie came up to me at night while I was outside having a cigarette. I live on the second floor, so I hardly venture down, but for some reason, I did on that night. A little kitten with a bell collar came up. She was the friendliest cat I’ve meet in a long while. She followed me up my stairs, but I wouldn’t let her inside because she seemed to have owners, and I’m not into taking another person’s animal. Last night I’m sitting at the top of my steps, and this cat runs up like she owns the place, and it turns out to be the same little kit! She’s grown quite a bit, but I know it’s her because she came all the way upstairs, and has the same markings, sounds, etc. This time she didn’t have a collar. I let her stay with me for the night, and let her back out in the morning. She promptly ran off, and what I assumed, might never be seen again. Fast forward 10 hours. I pull up from work, and who do I discover sitting at the top of my steps, waiting for who knows how long, for me to get home?! I let her back in and gave her some food (she ate like it was the only thing she had all day). I’m at a loss of what to do. I posted her picture on websites and L&F pages, but nobody responded. Her little toe razors do love my rug, though. So, this is where it gets complicated for me. If she is indeed a stray, I’d love to take her in. However, I’m leaving for a month to travel Europe in December. I can ask my mother to watch her for me, but she doesn’t let her cats outside. She lives in an area with a lot of wildlife, and she’s lost a few cats to them over the years. I’d like her to be an outdoor cat. However, I cannot just hand her over to the shelter. They have too many cats to begin with. I can’t morally hand her over to what I think is a death sentence. If she showed up in three months it’d be perfect! Instead, I’m stuck here with a crisis. Thoughts?? Please??

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 14, 2016 at 5:32 am (3 months ago)

      I urge you to reconsider making your tortie an outdoor cat. Your mother’s experience should be enough to convince you! It sounds ideal to me to have your mother watch your tortie whle you’re gone. Alternately, you could try to find someone who can stay at your apartment while you’re gone? Perhaps a college student who might appreciate the privacy? Or look for a cat sitter who will do overnight stays. Regardless of what you decide, I would not let your tortie outside while you’re away. She’s clearly bonded to you already, and I’d worry that she wouldn’t return if you let he out while you’re away.

      Reply
    • Mary
      October 15, 2016 at 11:00 pm (3 months ago)

      Our rescue cat, a female longhair tortie is a riot! She didn’t go out for a long time after being left at our hobby farm, but she has adapted well to being both inside and outside. I sure hope you found a solution.

      Reply
    • Coriboo
      October 28, 2016 at 12:53 am (3 months ago)

      she may actually have a home and just be playing you for extra attention and food,, they are master manipulators 🙂 who knows could be going around getting food at all the neighbors.. maybe put a collar and attach a note and see if you get a response?? sounds dumb but worth a try… my cat is extremely friendly and I am so afraid someone will keep him bc he goes with anyone… she might be loved else where

      Reply
  24. Ziggy Stardust and the mother from Mars
    October 13, 2016 at 1:24 pm (3 months ago)

    One of my friends cats had a litter of kittens and he was just giving them away so naturally I had to get one. There was this cute little kitty with all these colors on her and the most beautiful blue eyes. I don’t know what it was but something was telling everyone, that has to be your cat. I got her at 4 weeks ( which is too soon in my opinion, but they were really anxious to get rid of them) and she is now about 4 months. My friend that we got her from described her as a calico and my mom even agreed that she was a calico but I looked some things up on the Internet and discovered she’s definitely a tortie. Her coat pattern and her personality match everything I’ve seen on here. We are taking her to the vet on Monday and my mom said I’m missing school to help her because my cat, Ziggy (as in Ziggy Stardust, as in the David Bowie song), will occasionally let other people hold her but only if she’s in the right mood. However, I can pick her up and cuddle her whenever and she does not mind. Every morning I wake up to her rubbing her face against mine and meowing to say hello. She is very talkative and I love it. She loves darting around the house and playing with our tiny beagle mix. She will get along with other cats just not the other older two we have. They absolutely despise her(they’re very mean to practically everyone). She is very fierce when they stroll up and try to mess with her but when around other cats she is very nice to them. And when the other cats hiss at me she walks up and tries to distract them. She is the best cat I’ve ever had and sometimes she’ll go and get a mouse toy and drop it in front of me. I love my tortie.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 14, 2016 at 5:25 am (3 months ago)

      What a wonderful little girl, and I love her name!

      Reply
    • Heather
      October 19, 2016 at 2:23 am (3 months ago)

      My tortoise blue gray was killed by a semi 2 days ago I have searched long and hard I can’t find a blue gray one,,,,I want to replace her with the same color,,,,LOOKING FOR A GRAY TORTOISE KITTY!!

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        October 19, 2016 at 5:19 am (3 months ago)

        I”m so sorry about your tortie, Heather.

        Reply
  25. Kendra
    October 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm (3 months ago)

    My Tortie is very destructive. She (loki) has clawed up my couch, my electrical cords, and has even gone so far as to get into the pantry and destroy food and bags. My husband and I are at our wits end with her. We have another cat Shiro ( maine coon) and she doesn’t do any of that. But with Loki, it’s a constant stream of destruction. Please, I need advice on how to get her to stop. I don’t want to have to get rid of her.

    Reply
      • Jerry
        October 10, 2016 at 2:19 pm (3 months ago)

        Honey was like that as a kitten. The key to get her from the furniture was 3 different scratching post, playing & age also helped along with occasional leash walking.

        Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      October 10, 2016 at 5:28 pm (3 months ago)

      One of my torties (Fifi) does that – it’s because she’s young and has got too much energy. She will grow out of it. It could be worse she could be hanging off your curtains, destroying your valuable plants or running up and hanging off your clothes in the wardrobe and using them as some kind of a swing. She used to bite on electrical cords but spraying her with water has put a stop to it.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        October 11, 2016 at 5:39 am (3 months ago)

        I do not recommend the use of a spray bottle to correct behavior, it can damage the bond between cat and human. For the issue with the electrical cords, an easy solution is to buy covers (available at any electronic store or online) for the cords. She may still chew on the covers, but at least that way, she won’t be able to hurt herself or damage the cords.

        Reply
        • Liz Gardner
          October 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm (3 months ago)

          Hello Ingrid

          I was just going to comment with a new word – ‘tortienado’ – Fifi and Lala (her tuxedo kitten flat mate) have been on the ‘rampage’ again, plants all over the floor, plant earth everywhere, bamboo table turned over – mess everywhere. I promise I won’t spray them again

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            October 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm (3 months ago)

            Tortienado – I love it!

          • Liz Gardner
            October 11, 2016 at 1:28 pm (3 months ago)

            Hi. Thank you. Yes Fifi is a naughty little tortie – the naughtiest I’ve come across – completely mad.

  26. Andrea
    October 8, 2016 at 9:02 am (4 months ago)

    I had a tortoiseshell cat whom was a stray that we took in, she was soooooo smart and we’ll mannered and loving. It’s odd she was nothing like the attitude tories usually have. Whenever some was upset she would get in there face and try and calm them, she was never skittish. You told her no once she would stop. She acted very much like a dog….lol. I miss that cat soon much 🙁

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 9, 2016 at 5:38 am (3 months ago)

      Just goes to show that while there may be commonalities in cats of the same color, ultimately, every cat is an individual.

      Reply
  27. Rae Ann
    October 8, 2016 at 8:15 am (4 months ago)

    I left a post here about nine months ago about losing my best friend, a rescued black tortie named Bobbie. I have really enjoyed reading all of the comments from other s about their unique torties. All last spring I was in search of another tortie to adopt. In May, my daughter’s neighbor’s cat had a litter of three kittens, a grey tabby, a black and white, and a little black female runt. Every now and the, I would stop by and take a look at them. Everyone loved the the tabby and the black and white one, they were beautiful! But my heart went out to the little black one that no one seemed to like. As she matured, she started to get little white spots in her fur and I suspected that she was a black tortie like my Bobbie. At five weeks old, the momma cat stopped nursing the kittens and more or less abandoned them. I went right over and got the little female tortie and took her home. She was eating kitten food and using the litter box the very first day. I named her Skittles because she would “skittle” across the floor like a little spider. She would bite and scratch like a little wildcat, but with a lot of patience and loving she soon stopped. Although, she will still crawl under the bed covers and bite my husband’s toes! He says Skittles thinks his toes are little chicken wings! Her personality is not anything like my late Bobbie’s was, but I love her just as much She has brought a lot of fun and excitement to our lives and surprises us everyday with her intelligence. She really keeps us on our toes (pun intended!).

    Reply
    • dano
      October 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm (4 months ago)

      Great find. Like she waited to let you know she picked you
      And then let her full identity be known. Lol

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 9, 2016 at 5:37 am (3 months ago)

      Skittles sounds wonderful, Rae Ann!

      Reply
  28. Mysticorchid
    October 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm (4 months ago)

    oh i forgot to mention that Gizmo loves playing fetch and following me everywhere and “helping”with everything I am doing, and one of her favourite spots for napping is my laptop keyboard, particularly when i am very busy and really need to work in it.

    Reply
  29. Mysticorchid
    October 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm (4 months ago)

    hello I am new here, I adopted a tortie at 5 weeks old she is now 4 months and is the most loving and affectionate kitten i have ever seen, she bonded with a calico girl i adopted when she was 8 weeks old and she turned out to be one week younger than the tortie. The tortie is clearly the boss in this relationship but they love each other dearly. Their names are: Gizmo (tortie)and Patchy Patch (calico). I have always been a dog mother but never a cat mother until this 2 that after loosing my 19 year old beloved doggie, won my heart. Both have very sweet personalities Gizmo clearly dominant and much more affectionate with her humans. Lets see what happens as they grow up….

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 5, 2016 at 3:53 pm (4 months ago)

      They both sound wonderful!

      Reply
  30. Jerry
    October 3, 2016 at 12:56 am (4 months ago)

    My Reverse Torbie “Honey” is a rare 15% black & has torbietude in spades. She is everything everybody above spoke of. Although she cannot purr she wheezes instead & is fairly vocal. I have had & taken care of many feral cats, her being the oldest street rescue at over a year. Although she is anti affectionate & only tolerates touching for short periods, she is the most loyal pet I’ve ever seen or heard of including dogs. She is never farther than just out of arms reach at ALL times 24 hrs a day following me from room to room. She even waits on the bathmat while I shower. LOVE.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 3, 2016 at 5:38 am (4 months ago)

      Torbietude – I love it! Feel free to post photos of her on our Facebook page, Jerry, we’d love to see her!

      Reply
      • dano
        October 3, 2016 at 1:47 pm (4 months ago)

        Yes pictures a must lol

        Reply
  31. domonique
    October 3, 2016 at 12:30 am (4 months ago)

    I just adopted a brown tortie and she is sooooo playful and hyper. I do not know with her nail coming out if she is playing or if she is really trying to scratch on purpose somebody please help me because I will hate to have to tale her back. I just do not want to be scared of her. But she is the prettiest thing. And she is tiny she is only 12weeks

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 3, 2016 at 5:37 am (4 months ago)

      Your kitten is just being a kitten – at her age, she’s all about being playful and energetic, and she needs healthy ways to discharge that energy. Ideally, she should have a companion her own age to play with. As an only kitten, you’ll need to spend a lot of time playing with her and helping her discharge some of her excess energy so that she doesn’t get frustrated. This article will provide some suggestions on how to make sure she has an environment that stimulates her: http://consciouscat.net/2016/10/03/environmental-enrichment-kittens/

      Reply
      • dano
        October 3, 2016 at 8:07 am (4 months ago)

        Cats, and kittens, react to how what they do affects you, when you play. I’m no expert, but I notice with my brown tortie, that if I don’t get mad but rather let out a small owww when she was swatting a bit too deep. She seemed to get the hint. My three cats reacted positive each time. I re-enforced my love for them too. I never scolded them. A simple slightly drawn out oww at a hair above a normal speaking volume did the trick on all three. The never swat with claws out, unless by accident.

        Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      October 3, 2016 at 8:06 am (4 months ago)

      I’ve had a tortie kitten who did that. If she scratches you by mistake just make lots of oow oow oow noises etc and she will understand and in time will start holding her claws in.

      Reply
  32. Melinda
    October 2, 2016 at 8:48 pm (4 months ago)

    My tortie Trixie is like a dog. She loves everyone and will wait on my driveway for the walkers to come by and give her some attention.

    Reply
  33. Sherri
    September 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm (4 months ago)

    I have a Tortie, and her name is Oreo. She just turned 14 this past Saturday. She likes to meow and purr and be heard, she is very sassy. The last month or so over night a couple times she has been meowing super loud, kind of like a deep throated meow that 20 times louder than normal with a purr. I had got up to check on her the first couple times and she had already got back in her bed and looked at me like what, I’m not doing anything. Otherwise she just does it a bit and then stops. Not sure if I should call my vet, or if she just wanting my attention. Any thought or tips?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 27, 2016 at 5:36 am (4 months ago)

      You need to take your tortie to your vet, Sherri. Any sudden change in behavior can be an indicator of a health problem.

      Reply
  34. Leanne
    September 23, 2016 at 11:07 pm (4 months ago)

    after having to put down my beloved dog 2 years ago I was ready to get a new pet. I had a bad experience with adopting a maincoon rescue group that should have never been adopted out, it did not end well. I happen to notice an adoption event going on at a local Petco by the humane society and went in to sneek a peek and there THEY were, the cutest kittens I have ever seen. I left without one because after the rescue fiasco 2 months prior I didn’t think I was ready……1 hour later I was back at Petco adopting BOTH of the 12 week old torte sisters. I named them Lucy and Ethel. They are a riot, they keep constantly entertained. They are total lap kitty’s and Lucy sits on my shoulder every morning while I get ready for work. They even enjoy my 2 year old grandson. Lucy is the more outgoing, curious daredevil where as Ethel just sits back and takes all in but demands attention when she wants it lol. You can’t stop petting until she is ready for you to stop, she will go to me then my husband back to me for 30 mins lol I love them. They are 6 months old now! They almost always snuggle together

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 24, 2016 at 5:27 am (4 months ago)

      I clicked through to your Instagram, Leanne – your girls are gorgeous!

      Reply
      • Leanne
        September 24, 2016 at 9:19 am (4 months ago)

        Thank you!

        Reply
    • Jay
      September 25, 2016 at 10:20 pm (4 months ago)

      So glad you went back. They called to your heart. You heard them.

      Reply
  35. Shaelynn
    September 18, 2016 at 6:15 pm (4 months ago)

    I’ve had my cat cammy since she was born, her father was black and her mother was a tortie, her father listened to everything I said and had a funny personality, I would give him a bath and after I was done I would put him on the washer and say stay, he would stay then try to run away after I got him with the towel. I miss him very much, he was stolen from me. Then cammy was the only cat in my life, she was left behind when her brothers and sisters were taken to the pound and noticed she was still there and we kept her. Her personality is just like her father, she listens to me and she’s more like a baby in my opinion. She always wants to be held like a baby witch is really cute and she likes to hold onto me when I want to put her down. She likes to eat corn on the cob and I’m so glad I caught it on camera. She doesn’t seem to like my boyfriend very much as he smothers her to much. She used to cuddle under the covers but hasn’t done that much in the past year. She has been distant as I got a companion for her when I’m overseas but they get along better when she’s in heat lol. She is the best cat I could ever hope for.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 19, 2016 at 5:51 am (4 months ago)

      She sounds wonderful, but I would like to encourage her to spay her. It’s not only going to prevent unwanted litters, but it is better for her health.

      Reply
  36. Brianna
    September 12, 2016 at 11:40 pm (4 months ago)

    I just adopted a grey tortie her sister was torbie but I fell in love with this one. Her name is Olivia and she loves kisses, sleeping with me and watching me get ready for work in the mornings. She has the loudest purr and won’t sleep until she’s groomed my hair fully lol. She’s the best I’m just a little sad right now because she just got spayed and looks miserable, she wouldn’t stop biting at her stitches so has to wear a cone, can’t wait till this is over and I get my happy Olivia back 🙁

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 13, 2016 at 6:06 am (4 months ago)

      Olivia sounds wonderful. She’ll be back to her usual happy self in no time.

      Reply
    • Dano
      September 13, 2016 at 6:38 am (4 months ago)

      My Callie bounced back quickly from her spaying. I saw how scared confused and sad she was. He loved belly rubs, and I thought she would never be the same snugglebun again. But she didn’t lose a thing. Did put on a lb.or two, but still mega active. Your baby will be quite fine. Congrats

      Reply
      • Brianna
        September 13, 2016 at 12:25 pm (4 months ago)

        Thanks so much for the kind words 🙂

        Reply
  37. Courtney
    September 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm (4 months ago)

    Color identification help! I adopted a young cat from the shelter last weekend and I was wondering if she’s considered a tortie or just calico– because it appears she couldn’t make up her mind and went both ways on different parts of her body! And she’s got lots of white to boot! 🙂

    See for yourself: http://i.imgur.com/Wvg2Ifp.png

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 12, 2016 at 6:56 pm (4 months ago)

      I’d call her a tortie with white – she’s got the distinct tortie markings in addition to the white. She’s stunning!

      Reply
      • dano
        September 12, 2016 at 7:10 pm (4 months ago)

        She is just as you said. I’m a believer! I love her. She is indeed a Calliortie. lol

        Reply
        • Jessica
          September 13, 2016 at 12:58 am (4 months ago)

          When my family and I first met Yittle she meowed at us from outside of the kitten room. She was the last female kitten in our local shelter. We wanted a female because our older kitty is a male. She called us right over to her and she picked us to take her home. Three years later she’s still just as talkaive and defiantly has a sever case of tortitude. Yittle is a sassy cat who comes in through the windows, moews at the refrigerator until someone brings her milk, and will make us fallow her to nowhere just to do it. But she’s always going to be the best cat in the world (along side Frufo and Pumpkin my other two kitties) and I love her dearly.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            September 13, 2016 at 6:06 am (4 months ago)

            I love the name Yittle – so cute!

    • Jay
      September 13, 2016 at 8:25 am (4 months ago)

      Courtney, I agree with Ingrid. I had what I was told by the shelter a Calico. But until I took in a feral cat and was told she was a Tortie
      ( with major attitude) I came to this blog and found out that a Calico was white with separated patches all over their body. My Tabatha was like your kitten. From the top looking down – all black and gold ( Steelers Colors 🙂 ) – Tortie and with white paws and belly. Harry Shubin told me – Tortie with white. That works for me.
      Your girl looks fantastic. What is her name ?

      Reply
    • Zoe
      September 30, 2016 at 3:48 am (4 months ago)

      Hi I believe she is a calico cat. Torbies are stripy like tabbies but red, black, gold in colour like torties. Calico cats are torties but with lots of white too! I have a beautiful calico called Spangle who is nearly 22yrs!

      Reply
    • Bruce Carlin
      December 4, 2016 at 7:43 pm (2 months ago)

      Picture on the left looks calico to me.

      Reply
  38. Samantha
    September 12, 2016 at 2:54 am (4 months ago)

    Hi everyone,
    I got my first Tortie today, Nala. She’s only 4 months old but I fell in love with her purr when I first held her. She’s the first cat I have owned on my own. Any tips or advice?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 12, 2016 at 5:14 am (4 months ago)

      Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of tortitude, Samantha! You’ll find lots of tips on how to keep your kitty happy and healthy everywhere on this site!

      Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      September 12, 2016 at 10:00 am (4 months ago)

      Oooooooooooooooooooooooooh lucky you. Make sure that you spend as much time as you possibly can with her – take time off work and don’t go out at night etc and just be with Nala because she won’t be a kitten for long and you will miss all that lovely tortie kitteness – it will be the best year of your life. Oh and don’t forget to get her spayed next month because you don’t want her to get out for (i) she could get lost or stolen and (ii) she will go out looking for a tom and get herself pregnant.

      Reply
      • Dano
        September 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm (4 months ago)

        Must include pics and updates when conversing about any torties
        She is tooooo cute to keep to yourself

        Reply
  39. Elaine Clough
    September 5, 2016 at 3:46 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi all, I have a torte never had one before, I love her to death and she’s my cat and so loving it’s untrue even in the middle of the night I have to answer her. Mouse how incorrectlg nameds from the Blud cross she is a murderer big time, mice and birds, we have managed for the first time to keep a collar and bell on he much to her discusting, and as if to prove a point that the bell doesn’t matter she had three mice and two birds last night although I tried in vain to retrieve them alive off her. I have locked her in as she has just brought in the first mouse of the night, which I managed to get off her even though it cost me three bleeding wounds, and I have locked her in as I have had no sleep for the as three nights but, even as we speak she is laid curled around my foot, to say that I’m nervous is an understatement as payback for the locked cat flap is bound to follow, o god how to other people cope, I have never been through any thing like this before and I have had cats most if my life?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 5, 2016 at 3:56 pm (5 months ago)

      I know there are cultural differences between the US and the UK in terms of how people feel about keeping cats indoors, but you may want to consider making her an indoor only cat, or only allow her outside when you can supervise her. As long as you provide an enriched indoor environment for her, and spend plenty of time playing with her to give her ways to exercise her hunting instinct through play, both of you may be happier.

      Reply
  40. sheroa Hennigan
    August 26, 2016 at 3:39 pm (5 months ago)

    I have rescued a tortoiseshell kitten 4 weeks old and she has a definite personality she talks all the time and very loving. She is eating kitten food and litter box trained very smart little girl.

    Reply
  41. Donna
    August 14, 2016 at 10:24 am (5 months ago)

    Btw I have wasted money on pheromone collars for both, pheromone defuser, rescue remedy , both cats cry at me from both rooms for me to be with them ! Punkin puts the punk in Punkin.., I’ve called everyone and anyone for help. No one will help me re home either one, but I love love them both so much! I’ve known Ollie Buggs since birth when my BFF got him, and I adopted her 10/15 , they are both fixed and 6 yrs old

    Reply
    • Dee
      August 16, 2016 at 6:48 pm (5 months ago)

      It was so sweet of you to take your deceased friend’s cat in, I am sure her primary concern was for him to have a happy and loving home rather than being in a house with another cat that makes his life miserable. Ensuring that he will go into a good home is a good way to honor her wish. I would reach out to your local cat Rescue (not a shelter) they will assist in you re homing him, they will make sure he gets a loving forever home, and will foster him until that home is found.

      Reply
  42. Donna
    August 14, 2016 at 9:56 am (5 months ago)

    My tortie is making my life miserable! Yes she can be sweet and dog-like, she plays fetch . She will meow at me to ” throw it again” and again.. And again for hours! I HAD to get another cat, my best human friend just suddenly passed away and I always promised I would keep him! And yes for the last 2 Months all she wants to do is kill him, all day all night , I haven’t slept in 2 months . They are seperated but of course she can open every door ! I wish I had been told when I adopted her! IHML

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 14, 2016 at 10:21 am (5 months ago)

      I’m so sorry about your best friend, Donna. Having to deal with this situation on top of grieving your loss has to be so very difficult. But this is not something that’s due to this cat being a tortie, this could happen with any cat. You may want to consider working with a feline behaviorist. In the long run, though, if you can’t get the two cats to get along even with slow and gradual introductions, it seems to me that it would be kinder for everyone to rehome your friend’s cat. I can’t imagine that your friend would want this situation for you or the cat.

      Reply
      • Donna
        August 14, 2016 at 10:55 am (5 months ago)

        I tried to let Ollie Buggs stay but he is such a wonderful cat and her home is so filthy and she’s not big on changing litter boxes , and my mom said I don’t care what his favorite food is , he’ll eat what I get or go hungry ! Of course I brought him home Both times within a day! I feel so bad for him! I miss my friend so much! I want to do right by him! He is grieving too and I just seem to be making a mess of everything

        Reply
        • Donna
          August 14, 2016 at 10:56 am (5 months ago)

          *Stay with my sister

          Reply
  43. Arizona Willie
    August 13, 2016 at 5:35 pm (5 months ago)

    We got a tortie for my elderly mother in law ( 96 ) for some companionship. She still lives alone. But my wife spends 3 – 4 days a week there taking care of her.

    But — this cat BITES!! 🙁 🙁

    Out of the blue for no apparent reason she will bite the mother in law.
    She hasn’t bitten the wife although she has nipped at her but she was expecting it and got her arm out of the way.

    But this cat will come to you and ask for loving and while you pet her she will suddenly turn and bite you.

    We are moving her to our home now because we aren’t going to allow her to keep biting the mil.

    We previously had 2 male cats we adopted but had to put them down after having them for 12 years. I’m cleaning out the litter-robot now getting ready for the new user.

    Any tips for how to deal with a biting tortie?

    Reply
  44. Shirley
    August 6, 2016 at 9:51 am (6 months ago)

    Working with veterinarians for more than 20 years I can say that most of my worst cat scratches and bites have come from tories or calicos.

    Reply
    • Jay
      August 7, 2016 at 1:36 pm (6 months ago)

      Of all my cats, Stirfry, my Tortie was the one required to have her Rabies shot before they would touch her.

      The one time I took her in to be checked they were handling her. I looked down at the vet’s hand and saw 4 claw marks. I asked if she had gotten scratched by a cat a few days ago. She said “No, that was your cat” and then those scratches started to bleed. Stir had a reputation after that.

      Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      August 7, 2016 at 5:14 pm (6 months ago)

      That is because torties and calicos expect to be ‘befriended’ before being touched. You have oooh and cooo and preferably give her some treats and basically become her friend before you start touching her – it is the way she is 🙂

      I took in an 18 month tortie three months ago. For the past three months I have been grovelling to her, feeding her endless tins of tuna and basically fufilling her every wish and desire. She has finally decided that she likes me and now I am allowed to kiss her 🙂

      Reply
  45. Heather
    August 1, 2016 at 10:38 pm (6 months ago)

    Our princess Aurora has white “socks” and a white tummy and chest, but the rest of her is mottled orange, black, gold, and brown. We adopted her and she was described as a tortie. Not that it really matters, but is this description correct? She is wonderfully affectionate, strong willed, vocal, spoiled rotten, and a total mama’s girl.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 2, 2016 at 5:52 am (6 months ago)

      I would consider that kind of coloring a tortie, or “tortie with white.” She sure sounds like she’s got tortitude!

      Reply
    • Jay
      August 2, 2016 at 8:00 am (6 months ago)

      Heather. my 1st cat , Tabatha, was the same way. Looking down from the top – Tortie coloring. But white around the neck, belly and paws.
      I had been told Calico at the pond, but on here, Ingrid and Harry told me Tortie w White. That made more sense. They said the white tames the Tortitude. Seems so as she was a gentle cat.

      Reply
  46. wendy hoskins
    July 31, 2016 at 12:09 pm (6 months ago)

    I am the proud owner of a tortishell cat which I rescued a year and a half ago from cat protection she is small in size with a huge attitude would not have it any other way unique

    Reply
  47. Lauren
    July 24, 2016 at 10:05 pm (6 months ago)

    I adopted my tortie Scarlett this past November (2016) she was just under a yr old. I walked into a pet store with my mom to get something for her doggie and just so happend to notice this petite green eyed beauty looking right at me showing off and being soo sweet and outgoing, I immediately fell Madly in love with her and filled out adoption papers on the spot it was completely spontaneous!! I the funny thing is my fiancé and I already have a 14 yr old cat (Jake) not a tortie who’s was our only child and spoiled rotten, I had literally just said the week prior to going to pet shop that I would never get another cat and do that to him he is soo happy being an only child, although he has lived with other cats throughout his life (he’s technically my fiancés cat I have only been in his life for 6yrs but he’s now more of my baby then his) he has never totally cared for other cats he’s more of a shy cat. We were a little worried how he would react to Scarlett but to our surprise within days they were besties!!! Always grooming each other, sleeping together, wrestling and playing together!! Even although 2 weeks after bringing home Scarlett we sadly found out our Jake was sick and his kidneys were starting to fail the doctor thought he had maybe just weeks to live that was in November 2016 it’s now almost August 2016 and he’s still going Strong!! I believe it’s all bc of our Scarlett and her wonderful tortie personality she’s our fiery redhead in the best way!! soo loving, sweet, playful, cuddly also a little hell raiser but does not have a mean bone in her body, she lets me do whatever to her does not care, Any kind of attention is good attention to her. She absolutely adores her brother she’s keeping him young and alive. I hate to think about the day when he’s gone how sad and lost she will be. We will have to get another playmate right away she’s very very social I will definetly be getting another tortie when we do!! They have stolen my heart forever she was our blessing in disguise She was definetly meant for us❤️

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 25, 2016 at 5:33 am (6 months ago)

      Scarlett sounds like a wonderful girl, and I love that she bonded so quickly and closely with your boy!

      Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      July 25, 2016 at 8:02 am (6 months ago)

      🙂

      Reply
      • Michael Bertrand
        August 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm (5 months ago)

        I have a tortie that I got from a cat rescue place and when I first went into the cage with about 30 cats in it, Meesha jumped from the ground onto my shoulders and wrapped herself around me and every time I went near another cat she hissed. She was determined she was coming home with me and I couldn’t be happier. She is gentle,very loving and lets me know it and has been the same with everybody that sees her but she is definately my cat, she goes everywhere I go,sleeps with me and if I am on the couch she is either curled up on my lap or squeezed up close to me. I know she loves me as much as I love her.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          August 16, 2016 at 5:52 am (5 months ago)

          What a great adoption story, Michael. You were clearly chosen!

          Reply
        • Dano
          August 16, 2016 at 7:06 am (5 months ago)

          You hot a taste of loyalty, and tude. Sounds like she chose wisely.

          Reply
        • Liz Gardner
          August 16, 2016 at 3:08 pm (5 months ago)

          Oooooooh what a gorgeous thing to happen to you both – so happy to read it and I hope that you enjoy many many happy years together – there is no greater love than the love shared with a tortie.

          Reply

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