“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.”

tortitude

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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1,151 Comments on “Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats: Fact or Fiction?

  1. Hannah delrae
    February 4, 2018 at 6:04 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Hello! My cats name is luna She visits once in a while and will be part of my family soon. But she wont stop hissing at my dogs! This is bad because i sit dogs for theyre owners. What do i do?

    Reply
  2. Karen
    January 25, 2018 at 2:08 am (4 weeks ago)

    Three years after losing my beloved Siamese, I adopted a beautiful longhaired torti from the local shelter. I named Chloe. She was a year old at the time and emaciated. They had found her as a pregnant stray and spayed her shortly after she was taken to the shelter.

    Prior to going to the shelter for her, I had looked over the various cats available for adoption at the shelter. I was surprised to learn that week they were giving away cats due to a population explosion. Though I was looking for a black cat, preferably a male, I spotted this forlorn torti. I normally don’t get along well with female cats, but something about this one tugged at my heart.

    I headed out to the shelter and was greeted with a ton of people in line ahead of me to adopt cats. Thinking she would be gone by the time it was my turn, I still hung around to see what would happen. Lo and behold, about 15 minutes before closing time, it was my turn, and the lonely torti was still there. We were destined to be together.

    Upon bring her home, Chloe immediately found refuge under my bed for several days, coming out when I was gone or asleep, then returning to her sanctuary.
    Several days later when I returned home from work, Chloe came running out into the hall in front of my apartment and began a conversation. I looked down at her and asked if she wouldn’t mind continuing what she had to say inside, gave her a gentle bump in the rump with my foot and headed her back into the apartment. As soon as the door was closed, she was back at it.

    I later left town for a week to see my youngest daughter who lives in another state. While I was gone, my daughter who lives here agreed to stop by daily to check on Chloe, clean her litter box and make sure she had fresh food and water. I returned home 6 days later and was stunned at what I saw. Stretching from the apartment door threshold into the apartment about 10″, the carpet was nothing but strings. Chloe had torn out all of the carpet. I questioned her and asked, “Chloe, why did you do this? You’re going to get us thrown out.”

    Next morning I went to the manager and explained what had happened, stating I would pay for the repair. The manager was understanding and said not to worry. When I returned home from work a couple of days later, I noticed from a distance that my apartment door was open. Immediately I’m thinking, “Who’s in my apartment and where’s Chloe?” As I approached the door, I discovered the complex’s carpet man was sitting on the floor replacing the missing carpet. Sitting off to the side was Chloe, intently supervising.

    Over the four years we’ve been together, she has been a true companion and comfort to me. Many times when I return home from work, I find her in the bedroom window looking for me. By the time I get to the door, she’s waiting to greet me, then makes a bee-line for the bed for the welcome-home ceremony. When I go to bed at night, she joins me. Once I’m situated and comfortable, she hops up on my side and starts to purr. A short time later, I’m sound asleep.

    Some time back I learned about ‘tortitude’ and heard it stated the tortoiseshell is considered the ‘red-head of the cat family’. I thought that was kind of unique, given the fact I am a redhead. Hearing that, I immediately understood why she and I were chosen for each other.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 25, 2018 at 6:41 am (4 weeks ago)

      Thank you for sharing Chloe with us – you two are clearly meant for each other!

      Reply
  3. Tortoiseshell-cutie
    January 11, 2018 at 1:28 pm (1 month ago)

    i need help! My tortoiseshell hates my other pets and i’m worried she might attack one and get hurt. My little kitty is extremely territorial and short tempered i’m afraid for my other pets do you have any tips on what to do?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm (1 month ago)

      Multi-cat aggression is a complex topic and it would be impossible to offer you tips without knowing more about your situation. You can find information on different types of aggression here: https://consciouscat.net/?s=aggression as a starting point. You may also want to consider working with a feline behaviorist. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Mikel Delgado http://www.felineminds.com/ and Daniel Quagliozzi https://gocatgosf.com/ Both offer remote consultations.

      Reply
    • Lissa
      January 11, 2018 at 11:59 pm (1 month ago)

      My tortie is territorial and aggressive in general, but particularly to second cat. The BEST thing I did was to buy 2 cat beds. She is calmer and less territorial now.

      Reply
  4. Matthew Perkins
    January 5, 2018 at 9:33 pm (2 months ago)

    As I write this, Sophia is curled up on my lap. Which is where she has been since I sat down after work. When I head to bed she will be waiting for me to get comfortable so she can curl up next to me. She is the most loving cat I have ever had in my life. She is new to the family, a Xmas rescue. She is gradually getting to know the other two cats in the house. Two males that are really confused about losing their “alpha” status. She is everything that is said about torties. Loving and possessive, vocal as no other, and the most dominant creature in the house. My wife learned quickly that Sophia claimed me and wants no competition. If you have a tortie, you are blessed.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 6, 2018 at 6:01 am (2 months ago)

      “If you have a tortie, you are blessed.” So true, Matthew!

      Reply
  5. Aarin
    January 4, 2018 at 12:40 am (2 months ago)

    We just rescued a diluted tortie from a farm. We think she was dumped there. She had obvious signs of a fight. It was -15 degrees outside when we brought her home. She has been so grateful ever since. She comes when she is called and purres like she has a motor. However, she does NOT like our dog. We are keeping them separated for the time being, and introducing them gradually, but so far it is not going well. My dog is a bit of a spaz, but would never hurt her (a black lab/ golden retriever mix). Any advice?? We’ve only had our tortie for a couple of days, but hate keeping her confined to the basement! She is seriously so sweet. Loves all 3 of my kids and purres when any humans are present!

    Reply
      • Aarin Schnackenberg
        January 4, 2018 at 3:32 pm (2 months ago)

        Thank you! We have been keeping the dog on a leash and gradually introducing them. Hopefully the cat learns to like him soon! Keeping them separated is tough.

        Reply
    • dano312
      January 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm (2 months ago)

      My tortie took over the house fast. Ruling with an iron claw. If your dog wouldn’t do more than spaz, I say let them mingle for as long as it takes. Your puppy dog will do its darnedest to antagonize a friendship by spazzing, but should wind down, as time goes on. Neither should get hurt seriously.

      Reply
      • Aarin Schnackenberg
        January 4, 2018 at 3:30 pm (2 months ago)

        My dog wants to be friends so bad! He gets so excited and can’t help himself. Hoping he calms down soon!

        Reply
  6. Jara
    January 3, 2018 at 2:33 pm (2 months ago)

    I have a tortoise and she’s around 4-5. We got her when she was around 9 weeks. She’s was so loving, they couldn’t keep her cause of a new baby. She insists on laying on me, under my neck, on an arm, across a book or phone, she has to have attention. She became an adoptive mom to three kittens 3 yrs ago. The even nursed until they were fine about a month or so old, even though the 2 females were weaned and litter mates and the little boy, an orange little surprise on the front porch from a lost stork, all nursed. He is almost 3 times bigger now, and she still plays momma, but she’s finally got them weaned. It took 2 years and a move.to a bigger house but only having one female left and my big boy Louie, my little tortoise, callie, lays next to me, on and purrs loudly. She can have a momatude if it’s needed, but she’s sweet, almost sufficatingly so. I wouldn’t change her, except laying on my neck, wish that would stop.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 3, 2018 at 6:04 pm (2 months ago)

      She sounds wonderful, Jara!

      Reply
  7. Karla
    December 25, 2017 at 1:17 am (2 months ago)

    I have been in “Purdy”‘s possession for 14 years now, she is one of the most unique cats I have ever lived with through the years. In my earlier years I have owned other domestic short hair cats of a variety, but Purdy is the only Tortie I have had the distinct pleasure of being owned by! She came in to my life at about 9 months old. After a year or so I thought she might be lonely while I was work and tried more than once to introduce another kitten into the household. That is about the time I learned this girl did not have a mothering bone in her body! Vicious tantrums and sneak attacks were the daily order so I discovered really fast it was to be just her and I. She does have a snuggle side; on her terms of course, mostly at night. From an early age she prefers to sleep perpendicular to me with her head in the palm of my hand no matter which side I happen to be on she prefers me on my right! It was a month ago my back went out severely for 6 days. I couldn’t go to work, couldn’t leave my home even to check my mail. To my amazement my Purdy little nurse did all she could to take care of me in her way. When flat on my back she would get on my stomach and just lay and softly purr trying to ease my pain. When I was able to move about she would follow me every step or crawl. She took good care of me. I guess after all these years she’s become a mother after all.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 25, 2017 at 6:38 am (2 months ago)

      What a good nurse kitty! I hope you’re fully recovered, Karla.

      Reply
  8. Chantal Laverdiere
    December 18, 2017 at 10:51 am (2 months ago)

    I have a Tortie and a Tabby. My Tabby loves to play and still has her crazy moments even though she is 8, but Mishka (my Tortie) hates to play and hisses and growls without fault every time my Tabby wants to play with her. Mishka does not tolerate my dog either and will not let it approach her. She hisses at it whenever it gets too close. My Tabby is more friendly and relaxed. My Tortie is high strung and VERY vocal. She insists that I fill her bowl even though there is still food in it! However, Mishka is also very affectionate and loves to cuddle on my lap.

    Reply
    • Nanci
      December 20, 2017 at 12:58 pm (2 months ago)

      Hello everyone… i have 3 cats i’ve adopted… they all get along.. a sweet tortie showed up on my porch a couple of weeks ago and we took her in – she has a clipped ear which means community cat.. but she was friendly… i kept her separate from the other 3 for 3 days till i could take her to the vet. She is fine. So i’ve introduced them.. well she is def. feisty…. she hisses at my other cats even when they are trying to be sweet to her, which my one boy is so sweet… my oldest cat chases her around some… but no Real fighting… just hissing and hiding. Now she mostly sleeps in the basement… comes up sometimes.. was sitting on my boyfriends lap a few times… but is pretty antisocial – i’m sad about it…. when she was in my room separated – she would sleep with me on the bed – not real close – so will it just take time????

      Reply
  9. Irene
    December 3, 2017 at 11:44 pm (3 months ago)

    I have a pair. They are not necessarily happy with each other, but they do tolerate. The interesting part is that they both love me. I wake up in the morning with one and the other sleeping on either side.

    Reply
  10. Ann
    November 27, 2017 at 9:01 am (3 months ago)

    I have a torte with lots of attitude. My daughter has a little female kitten that needs a home. She brought her here to test the water with my Lola. Lola totally stressed out. She wanted nothing to do with the kitten. She hid out for a day while the kitten was here and took almost another day to readjust after the kitten left. The kitten is so sweet and I would love to give her a home but not at Lola’s expense. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  11. garret
    November 21, 2017 at 5:05 am (3 months ago)

    Fantastic friends to have. Very emotional, they don’t take any BS.

    Reply
    • M. Smith
      November 24, 2017 at 1:37 am (3 months ago)

      I just rescued a tortie. One year old obvious female, man she is my shadow and I love her to death!

      Reply
  12. Dani
    November 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm (3 months ago)

    I have two beautiful sisters 10 years old. One is Tortie colored, the other Dilute Tortie. Two totally different personalities. One is more feisty, stubborn, and vocal. The other is more laid back, and quiet. Both follow me around everywhere, sleep snuggled in.

    Reply
  13. Ashley
    November 15, 2017 at 5:23 pm (3 months ago)

    I have had my tortie since she was 3 months old, her name is Tigger and she is my world. She is now 11 and is still my world. When I first brought her home she meowed so loud when I left for work the first time that I could hear her from the third floor to outside. The only thing I was able to do to calm her down was to go back where I got her and get her a friend. So I took her sister home to her and she was ok. Unfortunately I no longer have her sister but she does now live with my husband and I and our three other fur babies. She is the only tortie in the house and she definitely lets the boys know that. She is very vocal and we have discussions all the time as crazy as that sounds. I will say that she definitely has the tortie attitude and is usually stuck to either mine or my husbands side. She is my little protecter and guard cat of the house. At one point she was staying with my grandmother as it was the safest place at the time and she became best friends with her chihuahua dog Rockey. He taught her how to bark and she taught him how to meow it’s so funny. She is the best cat in the world just don’t tell her brothers that lol

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 15, 2017 at 5:39 pm (3 months ago)

      She sounds wonderful, Ashley!

      Reply
  14. Ryan
    November 10, 2017 at 6:17 pm (3 months ago)

    I have a dilute tortoiseshell. She is ery cute but also sassy.She is very attached to my mom and likes to sleep next to her.

    Reply
    • Ryan
      November 10, 2017 at 6:18 pm (3 months ago)

      Very not ery

      Reply
  15. d
    November 8, 2017 at 6:51 pm (4 months ago)

    my tortie earned the name Princess the day I got her. It’s Princess Buttercup in full. My Tuxedo Male, Short Round, walked up to the box the SPCA sent her home with me in, sniffed, then walked away. She hoped out and instead of following after him, mewed at him untl he cam back for a proper intorduction. They were the closest of the colse after that, until Shorty passed

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 9, 2017 at 6:26 am (4 months ago)

      What an amazing introduction – they were clearly meant to be together.

      Reply
    • Anna
      November 11, 2017 at 5:25 pm (3 months ago)

      Glad you still have Princess, sorry about Shorty passing. Sounds like they were good friends.

      Reply
  16. irma
    November 4, 2017 at 8:09 pm (4 months ago)

    We adopted Maya..boy does she have personality..likes to be held.she thinks shes a dog. can can sit pretty and catch objects with her paws…i love her a lot…

    Reply
  17. Pam
    November 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm (4 months ago)

    Last Friday morning as I was about to leave for work, I heard this horrible yeowling outside of my apartment door. It made me so sad to hear! However, when I opened my door to leave, a tiny kitten, soaked and bedraggled, ran into my apartment. I grabbed it, dried it off, fed it from my 13 year-old’s food supplies, made a make-shift litter box, and left. When I got home, I was greeted by the loudest purr baby ever! A week later, we visited the vet and I found out that 1) she’s a girl, and 2) she’s a tortie. She is sweet, loving, and crazy! I’m trying to give her an appropriate name, but nothing pops up. In all the years I’ve had cats (which is more of them than not), naming a cat has never been a problem, until now. Some idiot apparently tried to drown her (and if I find out who, there will be heck to pay), but she has a forever home, now. She’s beautifully marked with an elongated orange diamond on her forehead and an orange splash on her chest, and the rest of her seems to be much like other torties. She loved everyone at the vet’s office, and purred even when her temperature was being taken. (Such an indignity for a sweet little lady.) My only reservation is that I have a very private 13 year old male tabby that I rescued five years ago, and he is anti-social with other people and pets. So far, he just cries and leaves when he sees her, but I’m hoping he will will make peace with this new interloper. This will be quite the adventure, according to this post, with a young tortie who is about 8 weeks old, Tigger and me. I’m so happy to have her, but what to name her? She’s sleeping quietly, for now, after all of the prodding and poking and treatments today. Fortunately, she seems to be very healthy, although I would keep her regardless, so I’m hoping for a long companionship with my two very different fur children.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 4, 2017 at 5:09 am (4 months ago)

      Bless you for rescuing this baby, Pam! I bet the purrfect name will come to you after she’s been with you for a bit so you can get to know her personality. I hope your boy will come to accept her quickly!

      Reply
      • irma
        November 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm (4 months ago)

        thank you for taking her in…it is love at first sight like my Maya…

        Reply
        • Pam
          December 2, 2017 at 2:23 am (3 months ago)

          Everyone who meets her loves her. She is a purr baby, loving and inquisitive. I can only take her out of her playpen when I give her the antibiotics, but I hold her until she gets too crazy. Then she has to go back to her pen. You’re so right. Love at first sight! Your Maya sounds so special. I can feel your love in your words. We’re so lucky!

          Reply
      • Pam
        December 2, 2017 at 2:07 am (3 months ago)

        I named her Miss Kittie after Amanda Blake’s character on Gunsmoke because she definitely owns the place! Tigger still does not accept her, but she’s been very sick, so I hope he will change his mind after she gets out of confinement.

        Reply
    • Diane
      November 6, 2017 at 3:40 pm (4 months ago)

      Bless you for taking her in! We did the same with a bunny who got dumped on our vet’s doorstep with a lump on his neck which they took off. I believe the right name will come to you too. She sounds so sweet! Best of luck with her and your other kitty too.

      Reply
      • Pam
        December 2, 2017 at 2:16 am (3 months ago)

        Miss Kittie got ill, so I took her to an emergency vet on November 11. She has Pyothorax in the entire right side of her chest. She’s had a tough time, and has been in two hospitals for several days each. She’s home, but the followup visit Thursday evening showed she still has some infection. She’s taking antibiotics three times a day, so I hope the remainder clears up. Oh, and my vet had suggested TruPanion since she was so young and we had no knowledge of her history. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I did that. The medical bills for my part are over $1300, but TruPanion has paid 90% less my deductible after I only had the policy three weeks! They have been amazing!

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          December 2, 2017 at 6:13 am (3 months ago)

          I’m so sorry about Miss Kittie! Best wishes for a quick recovery. And I’m glad you got pet insurance for her – I think it’s a necessity these days.

          Reply
    • Beatrice
      November 8, 2017 at 1:44 am (4 months ago)

      Since she is a female, your male cat will probably accept her, eventually.

      Reply
      • Pam
        December 2, 2017 at 2:19 am (3 months ago)

        He has been living in my bedroom since she came home from the hospital the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Tonight he actually come into the living room for the first time. Miss Kittie is confined to a very large soft playpen, which is supposed to keep her calm. A calm tortie? Not happening! But at least she isn’t climbing the furniture!

        Reply
    • Mike
      December 23, 2017 at 10:31 pm (2 months ago)

      My wife and I were adopted by our first tortie last May when the 4 week old kitty was heard crying in the wheel well of my wifes car. I named her “Camo” (short for camouflage) after my wife took a pic of her curled up it was impossible to identify her head due to the mix of colors and stripes. She is also impossible to see in the woods. She is now almost 8 months old and is a real character. If my wife and I go to any room in the house, she will join us. She loves to sit next to us and get her head scratcted — but she does NOT lap sit or cuddle in bed. She’s allowed to go outside of our rural home “on her own” during the daytime. She asks to do this regulary but is very shy and typically asks to get back in within 10 minutes which is fine .. She has been a zero defect litter box user since we adopted her but we wish she would use the great outdoors when she can… but sometimes she knocks on the door to get back in and goes straight to the box.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        December 24, 2017 at 6:24 am (2 months ago)

        It sounds like she’s decided while the great outdoors may be fun for a little while, it’s also highly overrated, Mike… 😉

        Reply
  18. Diane
    October 23, 2017 at 7:51 pm (4 months ago)

    We had to put our 21 year old Chocolate Tortie to sleep this past August. She threw a clot last October and recovered but started going downhill in July. Usually fiercely independent, she allowed me to baby and spoil her in her last few weeks. I went with her to be put to sleep and it was devastating but couldn’t let her go through it alone. We had a special bond. I had her for half my life and she was born before my children were. There will never be another one like her but I’m hoping some time next year I can find another special tortie to spend the next 21 years with.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 24, 2017 at 5:06 am (4 months ago)

      Oh Diane, I’m so sorry! Even though 21 years is a long time, it’s still never long enough.

      Reply
      • diane
        October 24, 2017 at 9:08 pm (4 months ago)

        Thank you Ingrid. It was like we were kindred spirits. Both very independent but sweet as well. I think she stayed so long because I understood her so well. You’re right, it was a long time but didn’t seem like it.

        Reply
    • Anna
      October 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm (4 months ago)

      So sorry about your pretty girl. I was heart broken when my tortie ChaCha died, she was the sweetest cat!

      Reply
      • diane
        October 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm (4 months ago)

        Thank you Anna. Oh I’m so sorry to hear about ChaCha. It’s a double edged sword-they give you so much love and then rip your heart out when they go.

        Reply
        • Anna
          November 4, 2017 at 4:11 pm (4 months ago)

          You are right! Wish they stay with us forever. We hold them tightly in our memories.

          Reply
  19. Arizona
    October 18, 2017 at 10:22 pm (4 months ago)

    I got my tortie as a foster. She was found in a trash bag as a new born. She was the only one that survived. My daughter (8 years old) loved bottle feeding her and helping to care for her. She is almost three months old and is a feisty little girl. She seems to really come alive during the night. Follows me foot to foot-she doesn’t like to be left alone. Vet visits are so funny never know what she is gonna do! We absolutely love her…my children adore her and she is good with them as well.. now only if she will stay out of all the yarn..

    Reply
    • Anna
      November 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm (3 months ago)

      Lucky kitty, lucky you!

      Reply
  20. Angela S
    October 9, 2017 at 12:18 am (5 months ago)

    was posting a pic of my maine coon then posted a pic of my babygirl I thought was a calico. A lady pointed out her markings and said she was a tortie…she is very attached to me, her fur feels like chinchilla fur. She’s also very smart, she likes to play on youtube where they have games made for cats…she’s very persistant when she wants something from me, normally to turn her computer on for her lol

    Reply
  21. Dan
    October 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm (5 months ago)

    I have a 3.5 year old named Domino with the perfect amount of tortirude. What joy to find this post and know that I’m not the only one lucky enough to have a cat like this.

    I’m curious, do your torties love bottle caps as much as mine does? They’re her life’s blood. An army left under any closer door or furniture!

    Reply
    • Jake
      December 8, 2017 at 3:13 am (3 months ago)

      Hey Dan, we have a 1 yr old tortie named Gemma (aka: Gemma-No) that loves socks. She takes them off the dresser, out of the clothes hamper, out of shoes or wherever they are left. In fact it got to the point she now has her own socks that I roll up and play catch with her…. I toss them up in the air and she runs, leaps and catches them in mid-air and brings them back to throw again…

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        December 8, 2017 at 6:16 am (3 months ago)

        That’s so cute! No need to buy cat toys for her!

        Reply
  22. Mitch
    October 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm (5 months ago)

    I have a male tortoise. His name is Adam and he’s a joy to have. I didn’t know they were gender specific like calicos until my vet started getting excited. Haha

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 8, 2017 at 5:08 am (5 months ago)

      How fun that you have one of those rare male torties, Mitch. I’d be curious whether his temperament fits the “tortitude profile,” or whether he’s more mellow than the average tortie.

      Reply
    • Jerry
      October 8, 2017 at 3:28 pm (5 months ago)

      I’m very curious about him, is he sterile? Do you know if he has Klinefelter syndrome (XXY Chromosomes)?
      Does he have Tortitude?
      I’ve always heard male cats are generally better adjusted and mellow. Maybe the tri-color attitude comes mostly from being girls.
      Is there anywhere we can see a picture of him?

      Reply
  23. Laurie
    October 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm (5 months ago)

    I’m back. Been a while. My Tortie, Angelina, is one of those with a real attitude. She goes into complete hissy fits for no seeable reason. She even turns on me once in a while. She can go from sweet cuddle poo to evil devil cat in a split second. I even filmed it on my phone for my vet. I have found that sometimes its caused by something that happened quite a while before the fit, such as a cat or other critter outside the window. She knows when shes moody and usually hides out in the rafters in the basement. I’ve come to accept that and she usually emerges her sweet rather demanding self when she’s ready. Her personality is really unique among the many cats I’ve had and I find her fascinating. She’s watching me type this hoping I’ll print something — she loves to watch the printer work. I’d love to hear from other tortie owners with hair trigger personalities……

    Reply
  24. April
    September 27, 2017 at 2:49 am (5 months ago)

    I was raised with my beloved tortie and she loved me and was always kind to me, but not to anyone else. Pure tude to others, but the bond I had with her was like no other. My friends tortie was also full of tude, only she was flat out mean to everyone and everything. So when my perfectly sweet gray haired cat gave birth to her one and only tortie kitten, I expected a sassy queen from her. 5 months later and she has grown to be the sweetest, friendliest, and least sassy cat ever. She is practically rag doll in her personality, going limp when you pick her up and purrs for anyone. I believe tortie tude is a thing, but clearly not for all of them. I am so surprised and pleased to have such a wonderfully sweet kitty, even sweeter than her already perfectly sweet mommy.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 27, 2017 at 5:22 am (5 months ago)

      Just goes to show that even though torties may share common traits, each cat is ultimately an individual.

      Reply
  25. Stephen
    September 26, 2017 at 10:36 am (5 months ago)

    I found one of these critters in early August under a pickup in a parking lot away from anybody. She was about 2-3 weeks old. Abandoned or lost from its litter or got out of someones car. This was at an airport so being a pilot I naed her ace. She definitely fits the descriptions I a reading with a dfinitely Dr Jekyl and mamma hyde personality. She is sweet and and wild, one personality at a time. I can usually tame her back to purring by holding her and giving lots of attention. When that doesn’t work I jusk have to put her by herslf for alittle while till she tames down. I have been a cat care person all y life. But never had one of these. All of my cats have been completely unique annd presios friends. She will also fall into this CATegory as well. y sister has a full grown one. She only shows affection and no wild tendencies. She needs complete attention at all times. She would go home with anyone and be happy. Probably would not even miss you as long as the next person gave her attention.

    Reply
    • Bethlyn
      October 6, 2017 at 7:27 pm (5 months ago)

      My tortie is temperamental little girl. I never know what to expect.She will ignore me all day and at night she’s on me or by my side. I love my girl. & wouldn’t change her 1 bit. She’s my 1st tortie & I don’t know what I’d do without her.

      Reply
  26. Pam Carter
    September 24, 2017 at 7:48 am (5 months ago)

    Hi I just my first Tortie in August 2017. I had lost 2 cats within 3 months that I had for 13 and 16 years. It took me a few months to look for another cat; but I went to the pet store one day and this little girl caught my eye! She came up to the glass and started meowing and rubbing her face, I knew I had to have her. Unfortunately I was leaving for Seattle to visit my daughter. I was there 2 weeks and I called the store to ask about the cat and they said she was still there, will I figured it was meant to be! With about a week and a half to go on my trip, I called one more time and asked about the cat, they said she went to Foster Care. I was so upset on the phone, the girl on the other end said let me give you the number to Feline Underground, you can probably fill out an application. Well from Seattle to California I did, they accepted me! I got home, three days later I went to pick her up; and it has been like heaven sent an angel down. Callie was really shy at first, but boy did she come out of her shell!! She follows me everywhere, talks to me, loves the laser light and is just so adorable!! The only thing, she is a little shy with my husband!! I guess all in time.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 24, 2017 at 4:10 pm (5 months ago)

      Sure sounds like it was meant to be, Pam!

      Reply
    • Anna Rome
      September 25, 2017 at 4:49 am (5 months ago)

      How wonderful for you! My cats have all been rescues & the friendliest have been a tortie & a calico, they loved everyone & were very easy going!

      Reply
  27. tim
    September 21, 2017 at 10:47 pm (5 months ago)

    Like some of the other posts i found my Tortie in my wheel well of my truck. She jumped right into the cab of the truck and rode home on my lap.

    She was 2 years old when i brought her home. She meet 5 people that day and those are the only 5 people she will allow touch her. She is a one family cat, she will come like a dog when called. She hates other cats but loves dogs regardless of there size.

    My Tortie is a big cat she is over 36″ long (nose to tail) and tall to, she weighs 22 pounds in the winter months.

    She is a great family cat and keeps the springier spaniels on there toes.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 22, 2017 at 5:16 am (5 months ago)

      Wow, she is a big girl! And what a great rescue story.

      Reply
  28. Jennifer
    September 21, 2017 at 11:23 am (5 months ago)

    Hi, I have a seven year old tortoiseshell cat. I found her about three years ago. Two years ago she finally started coming out from hiding. She likes to stay to herself and doesn’t like other cats or lots of people. She mainly stays on my bed every once in awhile she will come and explore. She likes to purr and knitting on me and sleep on top of my head and on my chest. She doesn’t like to be picked up or loved on for to long. She is declawed in the front only. She is an indoor kitty. In two years I have had to replace two couches, one recliner a couple of rugs. Because when I’m gone or in the shower or asleep or I guess make her mad she’s peed and pooped several times. IDK why she does this please if you have any suggestions please share them. I have googled and asked our veterinarian for help nothing us working to stop her. Besides me putting stuff on my couch so No one can sit on it every night. Sometimes I do forget to put toys or whatever I find to block my couch. When I forget everytime I come back to sit down I sit down in pee.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm (5 months ago)

      Cats don’t pee because they’re mad, Jennifer. That’s one of the biggest misconceptions people have about feline behavior. I suspect that what’s happening may have something to do with the fact that she was declawed – sadly, it’s not uncommon for declawed cats to exhibit behavioral problems. I would recommend working with a feline behaviorist to help you get to the root of this problem and to solve it. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Mikel Delgado http://www.felineminds.com/ and Daniel Quagliozzi https://gocatgosf.com/ Both offer remote consultations.

      Reply
      • Jennifer
        September 21, 2017 at 8:37 pm (5 months ago)

        Thank you so very much for replying back. My family and friends has told me to get rid of her. I tell them I can’t do that.

        Reply
        • Julie
          September 24, 2017 at 10:42 pm (5 months ago)

          I have one declawed in front. Got her as a kitten. She wakes me every morning to go outside at 4:30 am she comes back in at 7. Back out at noon or if too hot then 5 then back out til bed. She does NOT use a litter box. If she needs to go she goes to door and lets me know. I keep a box for just in case but never uses it hardly ever. I would let your cat outside if you have a yard. This cat couldn’t be owned by someone who kept her in and she could live outside just fine. Maybe your cat did. My cat hints and lays mice or moles on front step an a present. Please let that cat outside if you can because i think the cat wants out. My cats throughmy whole life NEVER ran away. Plus they can get the natural needs to eat better grass etc. for their upset tummy’s. I have had many cats and they didn’t leave the yard but my tortoise shell loves to explore more than anything and isn’t afraid of anything.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            September 25, 2017 at 5:25 am (5 months ago)

            I can’t in good conscience endorse advice to let a cat outside. I realize it’s a controversial topic, with most people coming down firmly on one side or the other of the debate. I’m a firm believer that all cats should be kept indoors, but I respect the fact that there are not only different points of view, but also cultural differences. In the United States, most cats tend to be kept indoors, whereas cats are allowed outside in most European countries. However, the the fact is that indoor cats live longer and healthier lives, and contrary to what outdoor cat proponents believe, indoor cats can be perfectly happy as long as cat guardians provide a stimulating environment for them.

    • Anna Rome
      September 21, 2017 at 4:18 pm (5 months ago)

      It sounds like your kitty is insecure and is trying to mark the area with her scent. Cats do not pee or poop when they are mad at you. Also scratching leaves her scent. You might try more cat beds & trees that can soak up her scent. And maybe Feliway pheromones spray or dispersers that may calm her. Just suggestions. Also play helps confidence.

      Reply
      • Jennifer
        September 21, 2017 at 8:43 pm (5 months ago)

        Thank you so very much for the reply. I will trying anything to get her to stop.

        Reply
        • Sue
          September 29, 2017 at 3:18 pm (5 months ago)

          Hi Jennifer, just read about your torte, sounds like mine. Definitely try the pheromones for awhile and if you must deny access to the living room were she is peeing. Also for every 1 indoor kitty have 2 litter boxes.

          Reply
  29. Karen Rowe
    September 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm (5 months ago)

    I just got mine yesterday. I do believe she is about 4 weeks old. My co-worker was driving to work and kept hearing a meow, once she got to work she kept hearing it and started looking for it. She climbed under her truck and this little girl was found riding on the spare tire. So of course we named her Hitch. She slept with me all night all curled up on my arm and I have been giving her her kitten milk and food. She is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. We think she got lost during Hurricane Irma here in Florida. But she is a survivor and will be a spoiled rotten mess.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 18, 2017 at 5:48 am (5 months ago)

      What a lucky girl that you took her in, Karen!

      Reply
  30. Cindy LaMar
    September 14, 2017 at 4:52 pm (5 months ago)

    I have a little 3 week old Tortie, rescued from a wheel well in Hurricaine Harvey, nearly dead and flooded out. She is now here in Colorado, and is a spit fire! How this kitten lived, is remarkable. She was so sick.

    Now at 1.5 pounds, she is ruling the roost!

    Her Tortie colors are remarkable!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 15, 2017 at 5:16 am (5 months ago)

      Oh my goodness, what an amazing rescue!

      Reply
      • B
        September 15, 2017 at 7:51 am (5 months ago)

        Thank you for giving her a good home and love after everything she went through. Give hugs from all of us.

        Reply
  31. Ivy
    September 8, 2017 at 5:30 pm (6 months ago)

    I have a blue tortoiseshell kitty! I just adopted her in July. She’s barefly three months old and she’s very affectionate. She’s chill and she enjoys playing a lot. She may be nice but she also has tortitude which is one of the best things about her. She’s my first kitty and she’s the absolute best. I love her very much!

    Reply
  32. John
    September 4, 2017 at 8:08 pm (6 months ago)

    My mom brought home a tortoise shell kitten in July of 1997. She lived until June of 2017. She was born in April so she was over twenty years old when she died. When I was at the vet with her, I had people tell me they owned a tortoise shell that lived to be 19 years old. I don’t know if that’s coincidence or if there is something to it genetically.

    She was the best cate we ever had. People who don’t like cats told me she was the “coolest” cat they had ever been around. Whenever I took her for her check ups at the vet, I just carried in her in my arms and she sat in my lap while we waited. None of the other animals bothered her at all no matter how loud they were. She just looked at them with a curious, “What’s your problem? Chill out.”

    She was in good health her entire life. She required daily thyroid medicine the last two years and then her kidneys began failing—which was her ultimate cause of death. The vet said that was common with the thyroid condition. I said to the vet, “Well she has lived longer than a lot of cats.” The vet said, “She has lived longer than 99% of cats.” They called her a “wonder”.

    I think her hearing was worse the last couple of years but her eyes were great, her teeth were great, and her activity level was like a kitten.

    So, from my experience, a tortoise shell is an awesome cat. She brought us twenty years of joy.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 5, 2017 at 5:07 am (6 months ago)

      She sounds like she was an amazing kitty, John. Thank you for sharing her with us.

      Reply

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