Last updated August 2019

In August of 2009, 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 still gets hundreds of views every single day, and has generated more than 14,000 comments to date. It has become more than just a source of information for cat lovers looking for more about cats with these distinct orange, tan and black colors: it has 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, 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 here on the site as well.


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 is not a breed, the distinct markings appear in many different breeds.

The unique genetics of tortoiseshell cats

In addition to their unique personalities, torties also have unique genetics. A cat’s main color is determined by a primary coat color gene. The tortoiseshell pattern is determined by two co-dominant genes, in other words, two genes that are expressed at the same time and affect each other. In a bi-colored tortie, these two genes comingle to produce the characteristic brindled tortoiseshell pattern. In dilute torties, these genes are modified by a recessive gene, which results in softer coat colors. Black becomes grey, orange becomes cream.

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.

A tortoiseshell cat may have a distinct tabby pattern on one of its colors. This pattern is driven by yet another gene. Tabby cats, also referred to as tiger cats, are cats with a coat featuring a pattern of distinctive stripes, lines, dots or swirling patterns. These cats are known as torbies, and, like all tortoiseshell cats, are predominantly female.


Tortoiseshell Cat Folklore

Tortoiseshell cats have a mythical folklore in many cultures, much of it centered around the rare male tortoiseshell. The Celts considered it a good omen if a male tortoiseshell stayed in their home.  English folklore has it that warts could be healed if rubbed by the tail of a male tortoiseshell’s tail during the month of May.  Japanese fishermen believed that male tortoiseshells protected their ships from storms and ghosts. A Khmer legend in South East Asia has it that the first tortoiseshell arose from the menstrual blood of a goddess born of a lotus flower.

Torties are thought to bring good luck in many cultures. They are sometimes referred to as the money cat.

Tortoiseshell cats were believed to have psychic abilities and see into the future. It is said that those who dream of a tortoiseshell cat will be lucky in love.

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.


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 Slack, who owns Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center in Boulder, CO. “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 Dr. Slack 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.”


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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1,389 Comments on “Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats: Fact or Fiction?

  1. Lol…too funny, I have a tortie too and her name is Bella. DOB 6/23/19. She’s amazing, smart, sassy and very talkative. I adopted her when she was 7mths old. She was sleeping all balled up looking like a colorful cotton ball and knew that I had to take her home!!

  2. Have you checked into any kind of calming color for Lucy? Using a pheromone that mimics the one mother cats produce to calm their kittens, the collars are clinically proven to reduce or eliminate stress-related behavior such as inappropriate marking, destructive behavior, clawing and anti-social behavior.

  3. I am assistant to a sweet tortie named Nicki. I have only assisted torties. For some reason I am drawn to them and vice versa. Nicki is mostly full of tortie-love, with a sprinkling of tortietude mixed in. I love my sweet baby and sing to her.. I am learning the Welsh language and writing a song about Nicki.

  4. Thank you so much for this article. I understand my cat so much more now. She is also one who read the book. I especially liked the purring in your lap then running around like a crazy kitten. SO TRUE! She is 3 months old and I got her at 6 weeks. She is a nut job and the sweetest thing when she wants to be. Very strong willed and has a temper. Only wants to be sweet on her own schedule. I love her so much. She just had her first vet appointment yesterday to get spay and her shots and she’s back to normal today! Her name is Bella and she is great!

    • I’ve just come on here to read about this feline family torties because we have just taken in a rescue female who is two and her name is also Bella. Thought that was quite funny that my first comment to read has a similar cat with the same name!

    • We have had three torties, all quite different.

      Kasey was our first, she was about 9 when I brought her home from one of the facilities that was owned by the company I worked for, before I retired.

      Things were not good for her, there, anymore. She came home in 2008 and we had her for 5 years.

      She adapted well to becoming an indoor cat and there was no doubt I belonged to her. She was gentle with people, but was completely fearless with any animal, size wasn’t a problem for her. She liked to fight and was very good at it.

      She did settle down OK with our other cats, though; its been almost 8 years and I still miss her.

      Gigi is a tortie with white; white feet and chest, ginger face. We took her in when she was 5. She is a cobby, long hair cat.

      Gigi is gentle, her main thing is to get attention through pets or brushing. She is not aggressive with other cats but will put a rambunctious kitten in their place, if they bother her.

      Freyja is 5, we got her from the shelter at about 8 weeks of age. She is big, looks like a Norwegian Forest Cat, even though she isn’t one.

      She is nice natured, non-aggressive with other cats, though she will put Timmy, our 8 year old orange boy in his place (he still plays like he is 4 months old). When she was a year old, she was already bigger than him, and kept growing for a while.

      Freyja has decided she is a mature “princess” and no longer likes Timmy’s immature play. When he gets the zoomies, she sits in a vantage point and watches him as if he is prey. The do get along well.

      Freyja is a gentle cat that loves to be around us, but is a lap cat only on her terms.

      They are all different.

    • My last old cat (rest you, Gomez) passed away several months ago and for the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have a single companion critter. I recently moved and thought that it was a good time to at least consider getting another cat. A friend of mine posted a picture of a humongous bruiser of a Maine Coon that was available at the local shelter so the next morning, I went, thinking I was going to come home with a full grown Maine Coon male. True to form though, even though I was there as soon as the door opened, he had already been spoken for. They invited me into the cat room to see if I found another one that struck my fancy and I had hardly got into the door before this tiny little Tortie kitten came running up to me, winding around my feet. I sat down and she jumped right into my lap, reared up, butted my chin with her head and started chirping like a little bird. When the other cats tried to approach me, she growled like a Rotweiller and let them know in no uncertain terms that she had claimed me. When I tried to put her down, she’d jump right back up on me and wasn’t about to let me go without her. I had gotten accustomed to a grumpy old tabby who usually ignored me unless he wanted out or I had something he wanted to eat so I was rather out of practice having a kitten around, especially a Tortie. The first couple of days, she earned the nickname of “Velco Kitty”, had something to say about almost everything and if she had her way, would be held 24/7. It’s been 6 days and we’re working on the finer points of no, as in no biting, no, tea is not good for kitties, no, you can’t go outside until you get your spay stiches out, no, on top of the stove is NOT a good place to lounge and especially, no, the computer keyboard is not a good place to tap dance 😉 This is my first time being owned by a Tortie so it’s a learning experience for us both but I do have to say, life had been anything but dull! Since she is orange and black and in honor of my late husband, who’s most enduring online nym was Mystic, I named her Misteach Pusein, which is pronounced ‘missed cha poo sheen’ and is Scots Gaelic for Mystic Kitty. She also responds to Velcro Kitty, Danged Cat and Your Highness 😉 I just thought I wanted a mellow, laid back adult cat but apparently, I need this little diva as much as she needs me. Let the games begin!

  5. I have a 6 year old tortie that I rescued a year and a half ago and she terrorizes and stalks my youngest cat to the point that the youngest is terrified and hides most of the time. I am still trying to figure out how to resolve whatever the issue is and get everyone to at least tolerate each other so no one is hiding in fear.
    I have 7 cats and this is the only major issue that has occured. I am totally up for suggestions that don’t include oral medication. Lucy is too fiesty for that!

    • I’m no expert but my Red Tortie-tude ridden love needs alot of playtime. Although I am in a slightly worse situation with attempting to add a backyard rescue to my 12 y.o Honey’s only-child life, she has not tolerated him yet. In 2nd months of fence isolated hiss fests, new Sweetie boy looks on confused & silent. So, although 2 play sessions a day keeps Honey from scratching the furniture, I fear she may never be open to a playmate her own size as this is my 2nd, 2 month attempt. I promised Sweetie I’d give him 3 months before giving up. Although it has’nt worked for me maybe you can tire her out without making the others jealous?

      • If you’re still wondering about this, I’d suggest looking into clicker training. I’m fostering a dilute tortie, and she’s so darn smart that she gets bored easily and then misbehaves to get attention. Clicker training is a great way to give a tortie mental stimulation, and it can also be used to work on behavior issues. I’m no expert at it, but it seems like it’s worth a try. I got a great book about it recently called “Naughty No More” by Marilyn Krieger. It explains how to do everything in detail. There’s a whole chapter on how to introduce cats, and there is also a section about intercat aggression in chapter 6. She mentions there that sometimes you need to redo the steps of introduction. And she walks you through how to do the steps that most people are used to, but with the addition of the clicker to reinforce what behaviors you want them to adopt. Plus you can use clicker training for all kinds of other helpful things – my foster is trained to go to her crate on command, and we’re working on learning to jump up on a surface or jump off a surface on command as well.

        • I took in a tortie stray about a 2 years ago and then about 6 months ago adopted a kitten and 4 year old stray from brooklyn, ny. i kept the 2 new cats in separate bedrooms upstairs with a gate up so they could see and smell each other. The kitten and tortie took about a couple weeks to a month until they were playing and my tortie didnt see him as a threat. playing the wand toy with both of them really helped. The stray was harder. took her 4 months to at least go down to the first floor! at night i would lock my tortie and the kitten in the bedroom w me and let the stray explore the house so she could get used to it on her own. I think that helped her confidence and eventually i played the wand toy w the three of them. Although my tortie and the stray are not 100 percent BFFs they are at least able to sit in the same room and be fed together w no aggression. i still have the occasional chases and hitting between my tortie and the stray but it mostly is when the stray hits the kitten bc he doesnt understand the kitten is running at her to play. so my tortie steps up to basically yell at the stray and say “dont touch my friend”. LOL. playing with them all together and having them all have treats at the same time, facing each other but with some distance have proven to be positive interactions for me. hoping the next 4 months to be down to ONE altercation a week. its a slow moving process but worth it!

    • Our son has a tortie cat that he brought in as a rescue to join his two other cats at home! Tortie immediately started attacking his other two! He gave her some calm down medicine for the first month including everytime she attacked she had to have a time out being isolated in the bedroom for a fe.w hours then allowed to come out, her time outs were less and less where both the calm down medicine and time outs were no longer needed!

  6. Freyja is 4 years old, she is a 15 pound, longhair, dark tortie that resembles a Norwegian Forest Cat.

    Although she is a very dignified lady, now, she has not lost her kitten fascination with the water dishes, basically, she picks at them until she overturns them.

    We have a number of them, now, whose design makes this impossible, but water still gets spilled.

    There was an incident when she was a kitten, this this behaviour.

    We would crate her at night in a large crate when she was little. She had the usual items, food, water, toys, bed and litter. Unfortunately, we were using clumping litter.

    One morning, I got up to find her covered in litter, some of it hardened, there was water all over. I thought she had been playing hard and feel in her water. but it was later on I happened to see her deliberately upset he water dish.

    We set about cleaning her up, no easy task, all the while hoping she had not ingested enough of the litter to cause harm.

    Fortunately, she was OK, she was switched immediately to non-clumping litter and I bought a heavy, ceramic dish, with slopped sides, which we still use. She still works on tipping it, once in a while, but there is no edge she can hook to flip it.

    She is the only cat I have seen with this type of interest in the water bowl.

    • My Dilute Tortie Lily Belle does the SAME thing.
      She has an obsession with trying to tip over the water dish and I cannot figure out why. You are not alone in this behaviour!

      • That’s funny, I guess Freyja’s behaviour is not totally unique 😉

        She just turned 5 last month and still has the water dish fixation. Its toned down a bit but I know if we used “normal” dishes, within a day, they’d be flipped over.

        • Lol well my girl is now 3 and though she has slowed down on trying to tip it over. She still tries. Which is why I’ve had to put a towel under the dish cause it was starting to ruin my baseboards cause I wouldn’t notice it tipped over until later hahaha

        • Just tried her on a different water bowl, to see if she has outgrown the water fixation.

          Literally within a minute, she was trying to turn it over.

          At least she is consistent 😉

  7. I have 3 Torties. (The mom an orange stray cat delivered them on an outside box/pad I made for her. Soon after she delivered them she allowed me to help clean them and bottle feed them for her. She had 6 kittens (3 torti / 3 Siberian Russian orange (what the vet said) and needed help. Once the kittens were 2 weeks old I brought them inside and helped the mom-kitty take care of them.)

    The 3 tortie are all very small: Rum – 5 1/2 lbs – the calm, steady even tempered one, Peeps – 5 lbs the one that looks like an anime cartoon cat and has a timid nature but a feisty attitude if you make her mad, and Ninja 4 1/2 lbs who is the guard kitty and checks everything out and reports back to us when one of the cats in doing something they shouldn’t (she is also very sneaky and stealth.). They are all 1 year old and the vet says they won’t get much bigger. (They suffer from dwarfism.) Yet with all that they have the tortitude in full strength!

    All are very loving and crave attention, (even from my shitzu). But they can also be the devil and swipe food from my dogs as he eats, even though they have their own food sitting out. They do not meow very loud, it is more like mew, mew, mew (slight sound comes out of their open mouth.)

    They enjoy wrestling with their brothers (the orange kittens that are almost twice their size – Nutty 11 lbs, Cheeto 10 lbs, and Cheddar 12 lbs.) Their brother Nutty is the most playful with them. Yet he doesn’t seem to know when they say stop, they mean stop. (They all are very versed in how to pass gas on him when they say it is time to stop playing.)
    All my kittens provide hours of entertainment, and it’s fun to watch what they are going to do or the new game they decide to play.

  8. We had a Tortie cat who came from a feral litter. Got her at the age of 7 months.

    She was unbelievable. Not only looked like a live piece of jasper, but was wickedly smart, and so loving. She would come to our bedroom, announse herself, jump at the bed, and talk to us. Only then would go eat. A very talkative and social cat, almost dog-like in attachment to humans.

    The poor deer was hit by a car last week. We’re totally devastated, but determined to find another Tortie.

    • Dear SiberianCat,

      So sorry for your loss. I know how you feel.

      I am wondering if you have adopted another tortie, yet, and wondering where you live. I am in Northwest Kansas and am helping a feral four-month old tortie who will soon be ready for a home.

    • Want to add that we have friends and family in the Denver area and Colorado Springs area who would deliver this little girl to her new home.

  9. Freyja is our 4 year old, long hair, dark tortie; she is 16 pounds and has a close resemblance to a Norwegian Forest Cat. She is smart and very quick.

    Freyja like plastic items and will play with them, though I am concerned about this and confiscate them as soon as I see her with something. She doesn’t seem interested in eating them, but I am concerned.

    Last week, she got up on the table and took a clear plastic strip, the one’s they use to seal pill bottles.

    I saw her take it on the floor where she dropped it.

    She knows I will take these away from her.

    I got 1 1/2 steps towards her, she picked up the plastic in her mouth and ran at blazing fast speed and took it down the basement, I could not find it by the time I got there.

    The next day, it showed up in the middle of the basement floor. It had teeth perforations but was otherwise intact; it when in the trash, very quickly.

  10. I had a long haired dilute female torti – she was a I’ll never forget..the first time I met her was at the SPCA and she scratched my hand when I reached to pet her and I got her. I didn’t know she was in heat – the SPCA didn’t tell me, and when I got her home I was she kept me up for 3 nights..then got stomach sick.I had to get my mom to come take her for a day to give me a break and I immediately got her in to the vet to get fixed. Oh..I thought she’ll be calmed down abit now from the drugs of the operation..well, wasn’t I mistaken, when the vet receptionist brought her out in the kennel she was sitting up like nothing ever happened. I said did you operate on her? lol

    Yupe..a different personality all together..she was a little devil from day one, and she used to wake me up in the night by clawing the wall by my bed like chalk on a chalkboard..I could have killed her..we butted heads from day one but I still loved her 🙂

    I’m looking for another cat and the SPCA called me today to say they had a beautiful female dilute torti..I laughed..if she srubs me when we meet..forget

  11. I had a female tortie, Sophie, that passed away in 2018 at almost 20 years old. She didn’t jump very high, mostly squeaked and was hard to hear her purr, and she had the oddest habit of loving to suck on clothes. I think she may have been separated from her Mom at some point, as she was a stray. And she definitely had the TORTITUDE. Sweet as can be, if I played by her rules. But if I tried to pet her other than the head/chin area, she’d rip my hand off. And when I had to cut her nails or she was at the vet, you’d think I was trying to kill her. Hissing and sounds like she was But she also loved to groom my other cats and loved to carry around her favorite mouse toy everywhere. And most of the time, sweet and loving – just remember your tortie’s rules and all will be ok.

  12. I have a male he is a complete jerk there is nothing friendly or sweet about him he is only sweet when he is asleep. Most vocal cat I have ever had thought he might be part siamese until I read this article. Named him Diablo. What can I say? He’s an as*@#$^ But he’s my as*@#$^

      • I just got two 2mo old kitties, brother and sister. Mojo, the boy is a beautiful peach colored semi-long haired loverboy and Saucy, the girl, is a precious tortie. They’re inseparable, yet so very different by nature. I feel like I hit the jackpot with these two! Two weeks ago I was depressed and bored out of my mind… now I’m a happy camper! I look forward to every day with my new babies! Wishing you and all of your furbabies the very best!

    • We have had 3 torties, all female, (since the odds of a male is around 1 in 3,000). They were, or are, big cats, 15+ pounds.

      It may be coincidence but none of them have or had that melodious “meow” voice.

      The first tortie was Kasey, who we lost in 2013 made noises that seemed to come from a horror movies, or another planet, except when sh challenged another animal, then she made a wailing sound like a cougar.

      She was a dark tortie and her ears and legs did look like a pointing on a Siamese Cat. She was definitely not a Siamese, though.

      Our present torties are Gigi and Freyja. Gigi is older and is quite vocal in asking for attention, she makes a series of squawking sounds.

      Freyja is 4 years old, fairly quiet but makes mostly small mostly squeeks; which is at odds with ther appearance; she is 15 1/2 pounds and looks like a Norwegian Forest Cat. Freyja also has the dark ears and legs, like Kasey had.

        • In addition to the normal Meow, when she wants me to refill her bowl or go for walkies, My Honey makes a chattering noise I would describe as Bird-like.

          • My tortie has a very weak meow, like she was strangled by someone/thing. She’s a friendly cat–with me–but she hates the calico my niece gave me a few months after giving me Sheba. I think Callie was approaching Sheba with the intent of being friends, but Sheba blew at her, and ran back downstairs. Now, when she does get upstairs, she goes straight to my bedroom, and lies on my bed. She won’t leave, and I don’t mind, because it’s the only chance I get to spend time with her. I always have to put her back in the basement before Callie is let back in, or I’ll end up having to force her out from beneath the bed. I wish they would get along, so I could pet both at the same time.
            My best friend had a cat that was a cross between tortie and Persian. That cat was MEAN. The only people it liked were him, his wife, and his roommate. The first time, I met her, I was petting her, and talking to my friend. His eyes widened, and he said: “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” I looked down at Bootsie, and she was blowing like a hurricane. She never did take a liking to me.

  13. We got a female tortie. And she’s got the full on tortitude. One minute she’s chill, the next she’s gone after the other two for no reason, to zooming around either after using the litter box or not. We do love her but she can be such a big brat. Our other two are Russian blue. Had a kitten once but just could not handle her so we had to give her to a good hole that would be able to. Love her still of course and constantly wonder how she is if she’s still alive or not. I know not all torties are the same. Our tortie is named lizzy after the show and since my fiancé mom passed last year and then his stepdad this January lizzy been super attached to me.

    • Do your blue cats have papers that document their breeding?

      Not all dilute black cats are “Russian Blue.” In fact, very few are.

      Other requirements of the breed are emerald green eyes and a silver-tipped plush coat.

  14. My wife and I have two torties, mine..precious is very territorial when it comes to my lap, and if you’re sitting she will jump in your lap without giving you a choice. She is a constant talker when I’m home. My wife’s Eve is as laid back as it gets. She won’t let anyone but my wife actually hold her though she seems to want my lap as well.. these two ladies will tear through the house like tornadoes. Quick question. Are torties especially good mousers? Both our cats are mouse assassins.

    • “Are torties especially good mousers?”

      My first tortie, Kasey, the “Warrior Queen” was an excellent mouser, also deadly on anything close to her size.

      She lived at one of the facilities owned by the company I worked for prior to my retirement. It was in a rural area and sh used to go out beyond the plant fence and drag things back there. She also liked to fight other animals and was very good at it.

      She lived there for 10 years, finally, I took her home for the lat 5 years of her life, she had a great “retirement” as an indoor cat. In spite of her fierce reputation with other animals, she was a very friendly cat with people. She was a great companion, who has been gone for almost 6 years, I still miss her a lot.

      The current torties are both longhair. Gigi is 11, a ginger face tortie with white, she is indoor, fortunately we don’t have mice, so its hard to judge by her quiet personality.

      Freyja is 4, she is what I call a dark tortie; she may have some Main Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat lineage. She is 15+ pounds, not overweight, just big.

      I think Freyja would be quite the mouser, she is very aware of her surroundings and watches birds and even the TV if a nature show has rodents on it.

      Our vet is directly quoted as saying “she looks like a wild animal”, even though she is very gentle with us.

    • My Torti was adopted from a shelter. She’d been abandoned and left on the hottest day of the year, when the shelter was closed. She had just given birth, the kittens, we just have no heart to think of what may have happened. When we adopted her, she was very aggressive, and mistrustful, and we couldnt get near her. It has been two years now, and she rules the house, even bossing around the other two cats we’ve had for many years. She is the most loving, and vocal cat, and she can open the front door, by turning the handle, standing on her hind legs, when she is ready to come in. She also will not let any other animal near the house, even so far as jumping on the back of a Husky that had wandered into the yard. God made the best when he created the Torti.

  15. My puddin was found by my black lab two years ago. She was alone in the bushes and Diezel found her and was carrying her around in his mouth. When I finally chased him down (she wasn’t hurt just wet with spit spikes) we tried to adopt her out because I am very allergic. Two years later she rules over my two labs, my husband and myself. She is the queen with two body guards and two royal taste testers to all her meals. She has her own throne which allows her to keep an eye over her entire domain. Plus I’m not allergic to her! Don’t know how that happened but I can snuggle with her (when she allows it), sleep with her (when she commands) but never a wheeze or a sneeze or a sniffle. She is the purrrfect cat for me and I feel so blessed to have my little tortie with the tortitude of a greater ruler.

  16. I have had 2 Torties, both babies. My Meesha is in heaven was a talker and gentle as can be.
    My current tortie Bee named at the shelter were I got her for her black and gold colors . She is very shy, hides from strangers but is very loving and wonderful to me.

    • My tortie little girl, Coko Miah has been with me since she was 3 weeks old(she is now 14 yrs old in human years) My baby is the sweetest, gentlest and most loving cat I have ever had. She follows me everywhere and LOVES to snuggle up next to me. We are completely devoted to one another. She is extremely shy and hides from EVERYONE but my Mother when she visits. I feel so blessed to have my furbaby! Although, she does not exhibit any of the strong “TORTITUDE” described, she is VERY verbal, lol.

  17. Our Freyja is from feral stock.

    She is a very gentle, 15+ pound long haired, dark tortie. She usually follows me around and wants to be near, but does not like being picked up, so I don’t try unless there is a need to.

    Its only this year that she lets me pet here and brush her.

    She will drape herself across my ankle when I am on my recliner and will stay there for a whole movie; she does get too warm and usually winds up on her back with all 4 legs in the air, but does not leave.

    I doubt she will ever like handling but there has been progress in being able to pet her. When I was younger, I would have tried to force a cat to be pet etc. but as I got older, I learned this will not work, so I let them come to me in their own time.

    For cuddly cats we have our big old gentle torti, Gigi and a 7 year old 9 pond orange guy that can’t get enough attention; seems they are all different.

  18. I have a 2yr old Tortie and she is full of tortietude, you can’t pet her, she is very independent and doesn’t want anything to do with anyone at all. I am at my wits end with her sadly and don’t know what to do. she scratches everyone that comes near her and doesn’t let anyone love on her or snuggle her for that matter. I Love her but dont know what to do.

    • It has taken my 11 yr old tortie to finally curl up in my lap.I still would never attempt to pick her up.they do things on their own time so just be patient with her.

    • Dear Dee

      Don’t worry about it. If she doesn’t want people touching her that’s her business so long as she loves you that should be enough. I’ve got a tortie (one of several) who hides under the duvet as soon as anyone comes into my home and stays there until they’ve gone – I’d love to show her off to my visitors but has made herself clear – she does not want to interact with them. She is fine with my other cats and that is all that matters. So please please please don’t worry about it – give her a hug and kiss from me.

      • Yes Dee, Progress can be slow & erratic with the headstrong.
        My honey started out the same, but now sleeps on my feet & lets me hold her long enough to weigh her fat 15 lb frame monthly, for a treat.
        Still as my 2 y/o TNR together now for 11 years I only get a few mins of loving before she protests. It has to be enough since she will allow no other cats in her home. Hang in there, tort-loyalty may amaze you.

      • My Furbaby is named Frida de Calico, she was a birthday gift from my daughter who rescued her. I had just recently remarried and my husband is allergic to cats or so he said, anyway he really does not like cats so was not happy that we had a new pet. A few months went by and we had the ugliest cat ever, he used to tease saying “what is this catastrophe, she looks like the only thing that survived the atomic explosion.” And truth be told she really was a hideous looking creature. But I loved her anyway, she has this attitude and presence she is so regal. She knows she a queen and demands to be treated like one. She does not like being held or cuddled unless she comes to you for your love and affection. She is bilingual and understands Spanish. Our guest think it is so funny that she does what we ask in either language. After a few months Frida has won the husband over and although he won’t admit it I’ve caught them snuggling all the time. Turns out he is her human Im just her servant. I love her and always tell my daughter she was the best gift ever.

    • It took me over a year to get my torti to stop biting and scratching me every day. She will still bite and scratch sometimes but not as hard as she used to. She will however, viciously attack anyone who comes in the house including people that are frequent visitors. Most people won’t come into my house until I assure them that she is locked up in the bedroom.

  19. When I moved to a new home in southern Nevada, my home came with a tortie, the neighbors said that she was thrown out of a passing car one day and the couldn’t catch her to see if she was okay. She lived under this house for 5 years before I moved in eating whatever she could catch. After 5 months of coaxing, she came to me and has been an indoor car ever since. Her name is Puddin. The vet said she was in remarkably good health given her circumstances. She has put on 6 pounds, I had her spayed and microchipped, her teeth cleaned and a good oatmeal bath.
    She is sweet, very affectionate, and vocal when she wants something and loves the electric blanket. She’s allowed to go out on the screen porch to sunbathe but not allowed on the property as there are many coyotes and large owls and hawks looking for a meal.
    I have owned and rescued many animals from exotic birds, dogs, cats, snakes and lizards and have loved and cared for each one until the end of their lives, but she has touched us deeply and is so much loved.
    She’s our little Puddin and is full of joy, love and affection and is oddly devoid of Tortitude.

  20. My tortoiseshell, Lucy, is beautiful, sweet, gentle and affectionate…only to me! I am her person! Very few visitors ever see her as she hides when the enter her home! When I brought her home four years ago, I had a sweet Yorkie. They were fast friends. When he died, she moaned and cried for days on end so, I got her a friend…a beautiful Bombay kitten. He loves everyone including Lucy…she puts up with him! Love them both dearly.

    • I know animals morn the loss of their loved ones. When we lost my kitty-boys’ little sister he was depressed for weeks.

  21. Honestly I’ve never had a problem with my girl, Chloe, biting me or anything. If she does she feels bad and will lick me afterwards. She has two brothers and she did growl at them at first but now they all get along. The only time I get tortitude is when I don’t give her treats in time. She loves me more than my husband but she’s never been mean to anyone ever. She is so sweet and cute. I don’t know what I would have done if I never adopted this sweet girl from the shelter that was about to put her down! I’m so happy I saved this sweet babies life! She also has saved mine in her own ways. If you are thinking of getting a cat, I firmly suggest one of these cats! Very loyal and will sleep right next to you every night!

  22. I got my kitty from a rescue place. I’ve had cats all my life (66 years) but somehow in all those years I’ve never interacted with a torti. Needless to say, I knew nothing about them especially the “tortitude”. My SugarBear (they named her Sugar) has a triple dose of tortitude and she was so vicious everyone I knew said to send her back to the shelter. She drew blood every single day between biting and scratching for several months in the beginning. I think this voice message I got from the apartment manager says it all. …
    “We are going to have to reschedule your maintenance work. Your cat will not allow us to go into your apartment.” LOL
    Things have improved. She doesn’t attack me quite so viciously every day now. She still attacks everyone else though.

    • I have a tortie, a tuxedo, and a full grey cat and the sweetest one to me is my girl tortie. Shes gray and looks like she fell in bleach! She’s 6 years old and honestly she’s made my life better by being in it! She’s very protective of her mommy. When she wants or needs something, she isn’t shy to tell me!

  23. I love my Missy cat so much. She is a tortie. My vet has said that she has “redirected aggression”. She is doing better with that BUT when I go to bed, Missy will often attack. Last night she came in to bed and I thought all was well, then she bit me on the hand. Can anyone give me any answers? If I sleep in my recliner then all is well. Once the initial bite is over, then she calms down and goes to sleep. Closing the bedroom door is not an option because that is the only place that I can put her cat pan (I live in a small apartment) Thank you for any help you can give.

  24. Never having had a tortie before, when I got Lola and she started to run round the house growling she sounded more like a dog than a cat. I have got used to it now but it still surprises me when it happens in the middle of the night.Purring can change to hissing in a split second and you need to move pretty quickly or else.I would not change her though but sometimes !!!!! typical tortie attitude.

  25. Time for a Gigi story 😉

    For those that don’t know her, Gigi is our senior “tortie with white”. We took her in when she was about 5 years old when her owner passed away. She is long haired and 18 pounds, looks like a stuffed toy.

    As much as Kasey was the Warrior Queen, Gigi is the most docile, domesticated cat I have ever seen.

    However, she does not like the attention from, and activity of, young animals, as our young Shih-Poo pup found out.

    Gigi was sitting in the sun room, looking like the Empress Of The House that she is. All was serine and dignified, as it should be. The pup ran up, got in her face and started barking at her.

    Faster than I could see, she came around with a front paw and hit the little dog on the nose so hard I heard the impact from 20 feet away. There was no more barking and Gigi was left alone. It was over before it got started, Kasey would not have left it there and pursuit and greater punishment would have followed.

    There has not been a repeat performance. You know you are the Empress Of The House, when you can stretch out and sprawl on your back on the kitchen floor and the normally energetic young pup goes out of their way to avoid you 😉

    • Once a Tortie teaches a lesson. A follow up is usually not needed. Unless it’s an orange kitty/They need constant reminders.

      • “Unless it’s an orange kitty/They need constant reminders”

        Yes, right on time this morning, Timmy came to Freyja for his butt kicking appointment.

        It followed the predictable format; he initiated it, she was like “I don’t really want to do this, but if you insist”.

        Freyja wend on the floor on her side, he kept trying to attack her, only to take a beating each time.

        He is a nice cat, and smart in many ways, but sometimes does not make good choices.

        Good thing its all in (rough) play. Luckily for him, she does not follow Kasey’s attitude, she did not understand the concept of a play fight 😉

  26. Tim, our 9 1/2 pound orange guy has been choosing to play fight with Freyja in the morning lately.

    Perhaps its the cooler air that is stirring him up.

    Freyja does not particularly like this and responds accordingly.

    Freyja is a 3 year old, long hair, dark tortie. I think she is part Maine Coon because she is 15 pounds, and not over weight for her size.

    She is actually quite quiet and docile, unlike my still missed Warrior Queen, Kasey. She is a strong , calculating and skilled “scrapper”, though.

    Tim initiates, she goes immediately on her side, I believe he see’s as a sign she is submissive and he is winning.

    Actually, she does this so she can bite and use all 4 legs/paws. He lunges at her, she grabs him, kick and bites. He retreats, then tries again, getting pummelled in the process.

    Once he has had enough, the retreats and Freyja is left in peace, in possession of the living room floor.

    Did he learn from this?

    No. 😉

    There’s a good chance of it being repeated tomorrow morning.

    • Orange kitties are cute, cuddly and kinda slow. Freyja put him in his place and kinda gently for a Tortie. Kasey would not have been that kind.

      • “Kasey would not have been that kind.”

        Quite right.

        Taz was our 23 pound orange guy, Kasey was 15 pounds; a fairly bit tortie.

        Every once in a while, for reasons only known to him, Taz would come up behind Kasey and sniff her.

        Words cannot do justice to the result, which was quick, and not pretty.

        I’d just say to him, “how’d that work for ya last time, big fella?”

        He never did seem to learn from the experience though but that’s a typical orange boy. He was a friendly, good natured cat, he just didn’t make good choices sometimes 😉

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