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

tortoiseshell cats

Five years ago, I wrote a post titled Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. The post describes some of the unique traits that many of these beautifully colored cats seem to share: they tend to be strong-willed, a bit hot-tempered, and they can be very possessive of their human. Other words used to describe torties are fiercely independent, feisty and unpredictable. They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr.

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

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

torties

What is a tortoiseshell cat?

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

The unique genetics of tortoiseshell cats

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

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Are tortoiseshell cats really different from other cats?

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

tortoiseshell cat

The experts weigh in on tortitude

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

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

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

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Tortoiseshell cats are special

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

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1,116 Comments on “Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats: Fact or Fiction?

  1. Liza
    September 1, 2017 at 3:03 am (3 months ago)

    I adopted my tortie Romi when she was 8 weeks. She will be 7 years old in November and we just love her! She is definitely unique, and the complete opposite of our male Siamese cat. She doesn’t say a peep unless she absolutely has to, she loves my husband and me but has no patience for our younger children or for koichi our male Siamese. She is also pretty large. She weighed in at 15 pounds and she has a large frame & an even longer tail! She has a lot of the traits that are mentioned in the article with the exception of being talkative! She’s so independent but when she feels like it she can be the very best cuddle buddy.

    Reply
    • Tom
      September 3, 2017 at 8:44 pm (3 months ago)

      I got my tortie at * weeks old from a county shelter kitten fair. I wanted a companion for the 1 year old I had found. The year old was very small but playful. I have had a lot of cats in my life and thought Sookie, the tortie was 12-14 weeks old. They swore she was 8 weeks and the vet confirmed that. Loony the year old, now weighs 13 pounds. Sookie is pushing 25! These cats, both female, have always gotten along after 9 years of togetherness. Sookie is even protective of loony. Sookie is very loving and calm. She likes to talk but rarely gets on a lap possibly due to size. She loves attention and joins me in bed. Loony runs wild in attempts to get Sookie to play but sookie usually just watches. Maybe tortitude is from the upbringing.

      Reply
      • Renae
        September 4, 2017 at 4:06 pm (3 months ago)

        I’ve had a lot of rescue kitties and noticed myself that certain colors have certain traits, even within the same litter so I think it’s a combination. My Jazz was nasty for the first three years, although she came at six weeks old and never had any traumas. Calliope was one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever met in spite of a horrible kittenhood. Both showed an amazing amount of stubbornness at getting what they wanted.

        Reply
        • _jerry
          September 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm (3 months ago)

          I agree completely, there are always exceptions to every rule but after rescuing & fostering many cats myself, I find Tortie/Torbie-tude to be a very real condition, and all my fellow TNR’ers agree. Although very rare, the Reverse or Red ones seem to be at the extreme end of those traits.
          I have found the more colors, the more colorful the personality!

          Reply
          • Renae
            September 4, 2017 at 8:12 pm (2 months ago)

            That would make sense. Jazzy was almost a calico and had much brighter colors.

  2. Renae
    August 30, 2017 at 2:16 am (3 months ago)

    I rescued a beautiful, sweet little pregnant tortie, who proceeded to have 6 beautiful kittens. She had medium length fur, but she was starved and plucking her fur because she was preggers, so I don’t know what she would look like in full coat. Shortly after the babies were born, my Cymrik tortie passed away at the ripe old age of 17. She was a born diva, a friend had bought her, couldn’t stand her and gave her to me. She was the meanest kitten I’d ever been around. Then at 3 years, she switched over night and became a people cat. Still mean to other cats though. She had a ton of tortietude. Now I have these kittens that are changing color. Jett, a boy, was born black, but the fur on his back is that deep auburn colors most black cats show in the sun, but his is really burnt orange. Now his tummy is getting silvery white patches. His face, tail and paws are staying black. Recently I saw a photo of a male tortie, which I had always been told is impossible. Turns out it’s extremely rare, but it does happen. He has a lot to say about life, insists on being with me even more than the other kittens, and looks exactly like a photo I saw of a male tortie kitten about his own age. He has medium long fur but all the kittens fur is changing almost daily. He has a short haired tabby sister who has “ticking” on her back, like her mother, an orange tabby brother who has the typical “Ya gotta love me!” orange attitude and two long haired tabby twins that look like baby Maine Coons. In fact, their momma in both color and personality was like a Maine Coon and an Abyssinian mix. I hope he has that personality, because I don’t want another diva, but I also don’t think I can give him up. Has any one else heard of torties changing color?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 30, 2017 at 5:02 am (3 months ago)

      Some feline breeds naturally change color as they age, so if your kitten has some of these breeds mixed in somewhere along the line, that may be causing the color changes. Some kittens are born with faint tabby stripes that may fade as they grow.

      Reply
      • Renae
        August 30, 2017 at 8:11 am (3 months ago)

        You know how siamese are born white, then get their color points as they age? He’s like a reverse siamese, as he ages he gets lighter. One of his possible fathers is a siamese mix. Aren’t cats fascinating?

        Reply
  3. B
    August 28, 2017 at 12:47 pm (3 months ago)

    Yesterday morning, I hear my neighbors pit bull barking and at the same time my neighbor calling his dog, next thing I see my torti, Jade run up on our deck with her tail puffed out real big, the dog stops short of the steps as Jade is hissing/yowling at it, the dog leaves. I am freaked as Jade has had issues with hissing and stalking my husband which is why she has become an indoor/outdoor cat. But I can’t get inside quick enough so stay in the chair thinking she is rattled but will stay under the chair to calm down as she is in her safe spot (our deck) and the dog left. She proceeds to jump on the arm of the chair, hissing/yowling in my face, it scares me so I go to get off the deck but she proceeds to chase me. I am yelling for my neighbor to help me all the while thinking Jade is going to jump on my back & attack me but she ran back to the deck when my neighbor came over to me. So, what happened is that Jade was under their shed and the dog saw her and I guess at first had her cornered so understandable she freaked but then why did she feel the need to come at me even after the dog left?

    Reply
    • Becky
      August 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm (3 months ago)

      I am thinking just misplaced aggression. Over-agitated, over-stimulated, still in flight or fight mode, and you happened to be in the way. I’ve had non-tortie cats do this to me 🙁 After you decided to move insaide, you acted like prey and that kept her senses firing and gave chase. When your neighbor came over, it was enough of a different stimulus to break the tension and allowed her attention to be refocused on getting to her safe spot. In my opinion 🙂 I do not claim to be a cat behaviorist 🙂

      Reply
      • B
        August 28, 2017 at 3:48 pm (3 months ago)

        Thank you!! This helps.

        Reply
      • B
        August 30, 2017 at 5:52 pm (3 months ago)

        With age, does the redirected aggression or any type of aggression subside? Do they mellow out?

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          August 31, 2017 at 5:26 am (3 months ago)

          Redirected aggression can be difficult to resolve – the article I linked to in my earlier comment addresses this, and reading through the comments may also be helpful for you. This type of aggression can happen at any age. You may want to consider working with a feline behaviorist. Play or petting aggression are usually fairly easy to resolve with behavioral modification. You can find more information on both on this site (use the search field in the sidebar to find information on both.)

          Reply
  4. Sandy Pister
    August 28, 2017 at 10:45 am (3 months ago)

    I acquired my first Tortishell Persian five years ago. She was dumped at a rescue organization after her owner died, and I was donating items to them and saw her. She was an adult when I acquired her. I find her to be very intelligent, pensive and thoughtful and very loving. I have other cats and she would watch them and wait until they ate before she went to eat, as if she was observing where her place was amongst the others and what was safe for her. I don’t find her quirky at all. Just a sweet, loving and wonderful Persian cat who happens to be a Tortishell.

    Reply
  5. Samuel
    August 24, 2017 at 4:34 pm (3 months ago)

    I just adopted my first Tortie. Zelda seems quite calm but, I do see a little bit of pushy in her personality. Especially when she wants to be petted. I’ve only had her a couple of weeks and she seems to be becoming a little more demanding you might say. She is 2yr and I also adopted a kitten grey and white I named Gatsby. He’s a terror but, the two have bonded and play together a lot so, I’m curious to see what Zelda’s personality will become as she gets used to her new furever home. At this point I’ve been calling her the demure little lady as she likes to hang back and be calm. I’m wondering if this will change. It’s only been not quite 3 wks since I adopted them so, I guess I’ll see how her personality presents it’s self when she gets used to being in her new home. Should be interesting. Did I say she is beautiful? Did I say that Gatsby is a terror on wheels? He’s just shy of 4 months old. It’s been 16 yrs since I have experienced a kitten and I’m relearning how to stay out of his attack path! LOL Zelda seems to handle him well. Some hisses here and there when she fed up with the biting and attacking but, no major battles between them since I got them. They have become very friendly with each other. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 24, 2017 at 4:38 pm (3 months ago)

      They sound like they’re well matched! Kitten energy is something else, isn’t it.

      Reply
    • Anna
      August 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm (3 months ago)

      I had the best tortie, Chacha, sweet would be an understatement. She was cute no attitude at all but her litter mate gray & black tabby sister had tons of attitude. Not shy about hissing if she was unhappy.

      Reply
  6. Denise Gainey
    August 20, 2017 at 11:55 am (3 months ago)

    Hi, we adopted a two-year-old female Tortie that had been surrendered to our vet’s office close to three weeks ago. She was very sweet at the vet’s office, but at home, she has displayed very aggressive behavior with us (unprovoked biting, swiping, growling). We have a senior dog who is being very patient with it all and gives her a wide berth, but Shiva terrorizes her. We have tons of toys for her and a play with her to try to burn off some of the ‘crazy’, but we just don’t see her bonding with us. We’ve tried a pheromone collar, but no change. She is fearless with everything, and we do our best to give her her space when we see that tail begin to twitch (always the sign of impending trouble). My question- will she ever mellow or bond with us? Or is this a sign of a cat that is just not happy with us and needs to be re-homed? She came from a home with a little boy, and we wonder if perhaps she has been teased. I understand that things needs to be on a Tortie’s terms, but this seems beyond that, and I don’t want to be afraid of an animal in my home. Thanks for any advice- we don’t want to give up on her if there is hope that she will become a part of our family.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm (3 months ago)

      I would give her time to settle in, Denise. You’re doing all the right things by playing with her to tire her out, and giving her space when she’s over stimulated. It sounds like she may not have had the happiest of associations in her prior home with humans.

      Reply
      • Dan the Tortified
        August 26, 2017 at 10:20 am (3 months ago)

        This is probably is obvious but she has been ripped from her home/ comfort zone. Put in a cage at the vets, then shipped off to a strange place. Add to that’ being handled by total strangers”lovingly no doubt”, fed different food and add in a dog. It’s going to take a while! Give it lots of time! Also from what I have experienced and read, mostly on this sight, torties seem to prefer bonding with one person that they will choose. And if you handle her make it quick and affectionate, if she likes it she will let you know and maybe surprise you by jumping in your lap from time to time. I think this will take like four to six months then she most likely will have you in her control, I speak from experience. Good luck

        Reply
  7. Becky
    August 12, 2017 at 10:43 am (3 months ago)

    This is my first tortie, wish me luck, lol

    Reply
    • Wendy
      August 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm (3 months ago)

      I love my torty… she is a handful but she is loyal

      Reply
      • _jerry
        August 12, 2017 at 8:18 pm (3 months ago)

        If you gave me only 1 word to describe my red torbie “Honey”
        It would be ‘Loyal’ 1st with ‘Challanging’ being 2nd for me too.!

        Reply
  8. giabread
    August 9, 2017 at 8:08 am (3 months ago)

    I have a 16-year old tortie named Bojanka. She is the sweetest, gentlest kitty in the world, who loves cuddles and most of all seems to love me because every time I enter the room she’s in and sit somewhere she’d get up and come to me immediately, then cuddle next to me and start purring loudly. No exceptions. She always does that, even if she was asleep when I entered. She is also unspeakably stubborn kitty – when Bojanka wants something, she will get it. The whole universe will move, but she will not. And last but not at all least – she’s the smartest cat I’ve ever had. I’m mid-30s, I’ve had cats all my life, but never as smart a kitty as her. <3

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 9, 2017 at 8:47 am (3 months ago)

      Stubborn is a word I hear a lot when people describe their torties! 🙂 Bojanka sounds wonderful.

      Reply
      • giabread
        August 9, 2017 at 12:10 pm (3 months ago)

        She IS wonderful. My mother took her in years ago and brought her to me. She was a malnourished, exhausted creature that had clearly not been fed well as a baby because she clearly had had rickets, her feet are visibly curved and her spine has an obvious hunchback. She can’t move the left side of her face at all, can’t move the ear, can’t close her eye fully, can’t even move that side of her mouth as much as the right one and the vet said that it was a result of someone (has to have been a human, because another cat wouldn’t have the strength for it) hitting her with such strength that they crushed her facial nerve on that side. I still can’t wrap my head around the idea of people doing this. Just why.

        She’s my angel now, she’s fed, cared for and loved. She bosses the dog around and sleeps in his bed while he sleeps on the floor LOL. But her sheer fortitude never ceases to impress me. I think that’s how she survived back when she was homeless, she got what she wanted no matter what.

        Reply
    • Bob J
      August 9, 2017 at 2:10 pm (3 months ago)

      To Gia bread my Hanukkah is also a 16 yr old petite tortie. I’ve also had several cats over the years and yours sounds a lot like mine. I notice mine “talks” more intently than any other. Sure most cats do but there seems to be much more emotion and “enquiry” with her. Not that she’s more intelligent but I feel torties have a great inborn talent for “expression” and it gets more pronounced with age. I’m so use to it it’s like everyday nothing to me but when someone is visiting and they hear it they are in awe!

      Reply
      • giabread
        August 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm (3 months ago)

        I haven’t had a tortie before Bojanka so I have no basis for comparison. When we first got her Bojanka was incredibly quiet – she wouldn’t meow, she’d just open her mouth but no sound would come out, she didn’t even know how to purr.
        Apart from her at the time we had one other cat, a big male colour point named Chuni, who was the loudest creature you can imagine. He meowed loudly, purred loudly, walked loudly lol. He was that guy who’d sit in the middle of the room and yowl just because he felt like it. I think she learned to purr from him eventually, though the sound was nowhere near as impressive. RIP Chuni, he passed away at 19 last year.

        As time went by she actually learned to vocalize more, now she can actually meow and she “talks” and talks a lot.

        Reply
        • Don
          August 9, 2017 at 7:28 pm (3 months ago)

          My one year old Moriah, is very chatty, especially when I come home, or when starts running around anything from a shrill meow to low gutterral tones when she wants to play.

          Reply
  9. A. Fulton
    August 5, 2017 at 10:02 am (4 months ago)

    I have a tortie I ” rescued ” last summer. Her name is Rebel Girl ( I named her after an old song by the band Survivor – the ones who have the song ” Eye of the Tiger ” ). She was a stray I was feeding outside. I kept working with her, and eventually she decided I was okay, and started allowing me to pet her. Soon she was craving my attention, and not leaving at night. I live on a busy street and always dreaded turning the corner to see she had not made it across the road successfully. So, I took her into my house. After a clean bill of health, although in the early stage of being pregnant, I allowed her join my other two cats. I had her spayed before her pregnancy advanced further. Before any of you attack me, I feel there are already too many homeless cats. I didn’t want to add the the problem. To me, it was the right, and responsible, thing to do. She has been an endless source of joy!! I love her so much. She purrs like a diesel engine. She will allow me to pet her forever, but, will not lie in my lap. She is also extremely intelligent. Almost scarily intelligent. I still feed my neighborhood strays, and there is another tortie that’s been coming around. She has the almost exact same mannerisms as my Rebel. And is tiny like my Rebel. They could be siblings. I call her Esme. I have been working with her. Yesterday was the first time she let me touch her. It was just her tail, but, it’s a start. I want to gain her trust, and hopefully get her to the point where I can get her off the streets, too, and get her in a loving home. I can’t keep her, as I’m already over my lease limit. She has a kitten that I saw only once. He’s a ginger. The day I saw him he looked to be around 8 or so weeks old. She hasn’t brought him around to my feeding station to my knowledge, so I don’t know if he got lost or just decided he was old enough to leave momma.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm (4 months ago)

      Rebel is such a perfect name for a tortie! Thank you for taking her in, and for trying to do the same for Esme.

      Reply
  10. Marjorie
    August 4, 2017 at 7:51 am (4 months ago)

    I have a Tortie that will be 3 years old in October. Her name is Autumn. She is headstrong and has let our other cats know that she is the alpha of our family. She has a sister that doesn’t have the tortie markings like Autumn has. She wants to be near me a certain times and then there are times when she wants nothing at all to do with me. She has a personality all her own that’s for sure.

    Reply
  11. Elizabeth Dent
    July 28, 2017 at 6:06 pm (4 months ago)

    We have a Dilute Tortie, Muffin. She is as sweet as can be and is a lap cat. We love her so much and she has a loud purr. Our son rescued her from the middle of a highway where he worked at a gas station. We advertised her, but no one responded, so we kept her. We are so blessed to have her. Our son also has a Dilute Tortie, Gracie, and she is very sweet and very vocal. She is good with the granddaughters and loved sleeping with them at night. She was good at alerting the parents at night if anything was wrong. Torties are great cats. ♥

    Reply
    • Lisa Evans
      August 1, 2017 at 11:25 pm (4 months ago)

      God bless you all. Torties (and all cats) are great.
      We have a Tort, Charlotte, and she is amazingly beautiful with a swett, excellent personality.

      Reply
  12. B
    July 28, 2017 at 8:58 am (4 months ago)

    Jade, our 2yr tortie started hissing and would follow me while hissing a month before turning 2. Up to that point, the most lovable and playful cat. I became scared as I did not want to be attacked and know that she then became alpha. She will be loving one minute and then hiss for what we conclude to be when she wants her own way but sometimes for what seems like no reason. She has also followed up hissing with growling and yowling like she is ready to attack. We let her outdoors to see if it would help after trying so many suggestions, the calming sprays, diffusers, treats, etc. she has been to the Vet and is healthy. Any other tips to prevent the hissing episodes? She does love being outside and seems a bit better as she is very curious and nosy.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 29, 2017 at 5:26 am (4 months ago)

      That is a bit of an odd behavior. I suspect that Jade needs a lot of stimulation. If you’re not already doing so, try structured playtime with her. Play with her for 10-15 minutes, two or three times a day, and really get her tired out. Use interactive wand toys. Also, make sure she has plenty of stimulation when she’s inside: window perches or cat trees near windows, toys she can play with by herself, etc.

      Reply
      • B
        July 29, 2017 at 8:50 am (4 months ago)

        Thank you. Yes, she gets plenty of attention and play time, she is the center of our house. She has so many toys, 5 scratching posts, a dozen wands and balls,etc. I will line her balls along the steps and she knocks them down, also we will play catch throwing balls up the steps for her to get, we play hide and seek, just to name a few of things we do. I am hoping her being outside is helping.
        Please help if anyone has anything to offer.

        Reply
        • Mary
          August 2, 2017 at 12:24 am (4 months ago)

          She’s bi-polar.
          I have a crazy one too.
          (Mine is a tabby)

          Reply
          • B
            August 2, 2017 at 7:28 am (4 months ago)

            We have often thought there was something mentally wrong as well. We did try an anti-depressant but it made her worst. We have a script for a different one to try but am afraid to. Fingers crossed, her being outside just about full time is so far working. What do you do when your tabby starts acting crazy? Any tips are helpful. thank you.

          • Don
            August 2, 2017 at 7:18 pm (4 months ago)

            I have one year old tortouse named Moriah. She tends to scratch a lot and I noticed today she had small sore by her ear. She doesn’t have ear mites or fleas. What can I put on the sore to give it time to heal?

          • Ingrid
            August 3, 2017 at 5:34 am (4 months ago)

            If the sore is truly from scratching, I’d let it heal on its own, Don. However, if she’s scratching a lot, I’d take her to your vet to find out what’s causing it.

          • Sheila
            August 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm (3 months ago)

            I think my tortie named miesha, has separation anxiety from me. Any suggestions n very over protective of me

    • Lisa Evans
      August 1, 2017 at 11:30 pm (4 months ago)

      This may sound odd, but there are anti-depressants for dogs and cats.
      I don’t advocate doping them into a coma, but sometime meds, along with behavioral changes / therapy, a la Jackson, can help.
      Maybe she needs more playtime / attention as well.
      Be a bit more attentive, even keep a journal of her behavior adn when she exhibits certain moods.
      Best of luck!
      In love of all cats, and theo great owners,
      Lisa

      Reply
    • EL-K
      August 10, 2017 at 9:54 am (3 months ago)

      She may actually be Schizophrenic (yes, cats can have that too). The most notable characteristic is being happy one minute and then, with no warning, taking a lump out of you. Schizo-cats aren’t able to deal with overstimulation well and find it difficult to let you know they’ve had enough of that. Steroids may help, so take her to the vets and ask if they can diagnose, have a list of her behaviour to refer to as it’s easy to forget something, just in case it’s another condition that doesn’t react well to steroids. Btw, Steroids don’t have the same effect on cats as they do on humans, so don’t worry about her being on those. The best thing to do is take a note of when she reacts badly and what is going on at the time, try and see if there is a pattern and if you can limit the triggers (i.e. playtime goes on for 10 mins at 11 mins she attacks you, slow play down sooner and stop sooner). You might also find she mellows with age. At 2 she is just becoming an adult so hormones will be rampaging causing her condition to become more obvious. Give her and you time to settle into her new mentality. Schizo-cats are still very rewarding and worth the occasional flaying.

      Reply
        • EL-K
          August 11, 2017 at 7:33 am (3 months ago)

          Hi Ingrid, it’s the same thing, it can be called either. Our Neeps had it with all the issues you noted as well as other symptoms like absence seizures – staring at vertical things for prolonged periods, and unrelated to her Schiz she also had FAD, and food allergies resulting in digestive issues. She wasn’t unusually vocal though. We never saw her have fitting seizures until the one that killed her. She was a rescue and we think her unknown/inconsistent change of personality and health issues was why she was given up, she was around 11 when she died, and worth the experimentation and time it took to get everything right for her as much as possible. She was a very loving cat in her own way, and it was so much more rewarding when she came for attention or greeted me when I got home with the signature shaky tail-meow hello. We also have Tali who was rescued with a broken jaw and had a very squiffy face when we first got him, his face is almost normal now but he still has a floppy-twitching ear and twitchy whiskers on his left side. He has luckily stopped drooling and doesn’t get grot-mouth after eating quite so much. I always encourage people looking at rescues to never overlook a wonky-donkey, they can be so much more rewarding than a ‘normal’ cat.

          Reply
      • B
        August 11, 2017 at 7:46 am (3 months ago)

        Much appreciation for the comment. Yes, we have thought more bi-polar. She does seem to be doing well outdoors, hoping she is getting it out of her system stalking birds and rabbits and then when she is with us just wanting love and attention. We play with her outside, she likes us to throw the ball in the yard and then she runs after it.

        Reply
      • Wynn
        August 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm (3 months ago)

        I’ve noticed that kittens who are teased a great deal or who learn to play very roughly by humans playing roughly with them when they are little, because they look “cute” when tiny and being aggressive, generally become rather maladjusted, mean, and aggressive adult cats, no matter how well or gently treated they might be later in life. They are still worth the human time, patience, and effort required for living with a difficult feline, but they seldom fully recover from the trauma of being played roughly with or teased often as kittens. They learn how to deal with the world and humans as kittens, so if they frequently feel unsafe or “attacked” in play as kittens, it will carry into their adult personalities, too. Cats played roughly with as kittens often display the same sorts of traits that some abused cats do, and can lash out unexpectedly at times or become suddenly aggressive for no discernible reason whatsoever. I don’t know whether it’s a feline version of PTSD, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were, or they might simply have been conditioned by rough play to perceive ordinary things as being potentially more threatening than most other cats would. In any case, kittens with safe, calm, gentle environments tend to become calm and gentle adults. It’s sad that not every kitten gets that kind of start in life, and some become more difficult cats as a result, but it’s a real privilege to provide such a cat with a safe home, better care, and a better life than it had as a kitten.

        Reply
        • Stacey
          August 11, 2017 at 5:51 pm (3 months ago)

          Oh, that would be sad! It’s not my experience at all though. We play rough with all of our kittens and they gradually realize that their claws hurt so they keep them in, and they start to soften their bite for the same reason. I was just agitating my tortie last night (she is now 14) and she swatted and snapped and had a great time but I never felt anything except her velvety soft paws. Maybe we’ve just been lucky but I think ptsd from playing might be a stretch.

          Reply
          • EL-K
            August 11, 2017 at 6:43 pm (3 months ago)

            I agree Stacey. Having had one clearly abused cat (abuser was a woman) who couldn’t have been gentler when playing – closed paw and biting with just enough pressure to pinch. We have 2 boys who love being rough sometimes and we’ve modified their behaviour to allow them to be rough, but so that we don’t get (too) injured and we can actually ask them if they want to play rough so that it’s always them that decide not us. Wynn, remember that cats skin is tougher/thicker than ours, what we see as rough and breaks our skin, wouldn’t even get a flinch from another cat. Rough play to a point is normal for cats. Some cats will not enjoy it, but I’d also say PTSD from that would be very rare and it would be from abuse rather than what we would class as rough play. Cat’s have very good memories though, and they clearly do get PTSD like any other animal can. Lucy, our abused cat, clearly had issues with women and not men. She absolutely distrusted my feet, she was a conniving, vengeful cat who loved serving justice a few minutes cold… an absolutely fantastic tell btw! I’ve never had a cat go away, plot, come back and attack before or since! Also the look of sheer hatred she could give was just out of this world. Beautiful, loving cat… until you vex her. We have 2 other cats who were neglected (poor household, many cats), they still act like they are in their old house and we just can’t get them to modify so we just work around them and do what works for them. Unlike dogs where play is a social construct, play for cats is very much a hunting/killing skill, so i’d be intrigued this was the case for most cats.

          • Wynn
            August 12, 2017 at 7:43 pm (3 months ago)

            You all are talking about relatively normal play. If you look back, you may note that I had intentionally put the word play into quotation marks to indicate I’d been discussing so-called “play.” I’d been describing what for some individuals often passes as “play” with kittens as young as 6 to 8 wks old, that in its excesses, fundamentally amounts to personality-damaging torment. I’m referring to those young children whose parents don’t monitor and inform their treatment of animals carefully enough and also of both adolescents and adults who seem not to understand the difference between playing and teasing kittens or cats to a point where it crosses the line of excess into tormenting and traumatizing them. Sadly, such cats often get dropped at shelters or are left on the streets by the time they are a year old, once their aggressive behaviors are no longer viewed as being so funny and “cute,” or they start attacking their tormentors regularly without warning.

            Kittens that young which are virtually forced into having to become very aggressive to fend off an excessive degree of frequent teasing, almost invariably become wary, mean, and intensely aggressive adult felines. There can be a relatively fine line between teasing play and tormenting abuse, and it is a line often crossed by those who either simply do not know any better or those who should know better, but find it somehow amusing to frighten, traumatize, and/or excessively tease small creatures. One need only spend a little time on YouTube to view some prime examples of that, and most people can likely recall even while growing up of having encountered insensitive children or adults who’d cruelly teased their own pets, or other animals at random.

            Our families have rescued scores and scores of cats for more than 5 generations (and also a fair number of dogs, and the occasional parrot, ferret, goat, horse, pony, gerbil, bat, lizard, snake, bunny, & c.), and often have found the “play”-tormented cats to be some of the ones whose difficult behaviors have been the most difficult to truly modify or overcome completely. Even physically abused and injured cats often respond more readily to persistently gentle and loving care than many of the “play”-tormented ones have been capable of doing.

            Unsocialized adult strays, de-clawed biters, adult strays who’ve reverted to feral, feral-born adult cats and kittens, and colony ferals all present their particular rescue and domesticating challenges too, of course, but it has mainly been the “play”-tormented ones who have bordered on being vicious and required the most patience and caution concerning their aggressiveness. Physically injured & abused cats and feral cats may exhibit the most overt fear initially, as far as rescued cats are concerned, but I’ve seldom found them to be as aggressive or had need for concern that any of those might launch a completely unprovoked and surprise attack, which most “play” traumatized cats have been especially known for doing. Some can be regular little terrorists, in fact, but given time they all improve a bit, at least eventually.

            Anyway, playful kittens are fine, but kittens becoming aggressive are not, and need to have their stimulation reduced and how they are being played with modified accordingly, unless one wants to live with a fresh and aggressive cat of somewhat unpredictable temperament.

          • Stacey
            August 12, 2017 at 10:57 pm (3 months ago)

            I don’t know how you could possibly know these kind of details about rescued cats! I’m lucky if the vet agrees with the shelter’s age estimation. It’s ok to have a theory but it’s just a theory and shouldn’t be defended so resolutely. Kittens enjoy play that involves claws and teeth and potential adoptive parents shouldn’t be scared into believing it will cause life long emotional damage. Besides, every animal deserves a chance at
            rehoming/rehab and I think most of them are capable of turning around even real and legitimate trauma.

          • Wynn
            August 13, 2017 at 1:25 am (3 months ago)

            It’s ok with me if you choose to believe it is nonsense. I have no problem with that, particularly since we don’t even know one another. While growing up, I’d known a few families who had been that way with cats–getting kitten after kitten, teasing them until they became very aggressive or even vicious, and getting rid of them for that reason, one after another, after another. My family (and some extended family) had taken in as many of the cats being abandoned for that reason as they could, so I had both witnessed many of those sad situations in the making, as well as the aftermath of specifically caring for cats having been seriously traumatized that way. We have also been brought a number of cats over the years reputed to have been treated that way, also, and there are challenges unique to those cats that I have not witnessed as decidedly in any other cats, whether abused, stray, or feral. I’m only relaying what my decades of experience with such cats has been, not promoting some kind of theory for everyone else to buy into. If it is useful or of benefit to anyone else, fine. If not, that’s fine too. We are at the point where rescued felines possibly out-living us is apt to be of concern, and finding it might be difficult to make truly suitable arrangements to provide for any that would, so the formerly ferals we presently have must be our last, unfortunately. We are shifting now to focus more on helping fund the efforts of other individuals and groups helping homeless cats.

        • Ingrid
          August 12, 2017 at 5:10 am (3 months ago)

          Socializing kittens properly is a crucial part of their development, and while I think it may be a stretch to suggest that rough play results in a feline version of PTSD, it can create petting and play aggression, which is why it’s never a good idea to play with kittens with your hands.

          Reply
  13. Kris
    July 21, 2017 at 11:27 pm (4 months ago)

    I have a 10yr old Torti named Hazel that we refer to as Hazel-nut or Hazel-butt depending on which mood she is in. Hazel-nut chases her own tail or wrestles with an elbow pad that I gave her for chewing on. Hazel-butt runs through the house and terrorizes the other cats in the house. When she’s at her calmest she talks a lot and follow’s me around the house waiting to sit in my lap. That’s when she’s just plain Hazel. Of course her eyes are hazel color and we thought she looked like a cup of hazelnut coffee with a dollop of cream in it so came the name Hazel.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 22, 2017 at 5:28 am (4 months ago)

      What a great name for a tortie, Kris! Great nicknames, too 🙂

      Reply
    • Andrea
      July 24, 2017 at 11:06 am (4 months ago)

      Love the name! I have a 13 year old tortioseshell named Pickles. She seems to have the opposite personality of most tortioseshell. She has a super gentle demeanor. She was more than 10 years old when she hissed for the very first time! The older she becomes the more dependant she seems. She is so attached to my husband. When he leaves the house, she will cry for awhile. She travels with us in our 5th wheel and never ventures further than a few feet away.

      Reply
    • Shantel Mozer
      August 4, 2017 at 11:44 am (4 months ago)

      I named my tortie Mocha because I thought she looked like coffee. She has a white-tipped tail that looks like she dipped it in cream

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        August 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm (4 months ago)

        Great name for a tortie!

        Reply
      • EL-K
        August 10, 2017 at 10:02 am (3 months ago)

        Shantel, our Jura has a ‘cappaccino’ tail tip. 🙂 Makes it hard not to play with it when she’s twitching it about.

        Reply
  14. Kevin
    July 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm (4 months ago)

    My wife and I rescued a short haired tabby, Kismet, about a year and a half ago. After about 6 months, she seemed less energetic. We thought she needed some companionship, and we rescued another kitten from our local no kill shelter, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue here in Asheville. She was a long haired Tortie. We named her Moon Shadow. She truely is a shadow, as she is locked at my side, following me not just from room to room, but from one part of the room to another. Wraps herself up like a burrito in throw rugs, under
    under table cloths and loves crawling under the sheets in bed with us, being petted, purring loudly. She plays fiercely with the laser light. She squeaks,more than mews. Sleeps at my feet in my recliner, as well as in bed. Moon Shadow is the dominant cat in the house, dominating the scratching post.
    She plays well with Kismet, chasing each other from room to room. They clean each other. But Moon Shadow plays catch/fetch several times a day with those cat toy balls. moon Shadow is 9 months old, still a kitten, but is full size
    (12 lbs.). Kismet is a year and a half old, also 12 lbs. I’ve had several cats over the years, but these two are special. So much of what I’ve read here is spot on with Moon Shadow. Not so much with Kismet.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 17, 2017 at 4:50 am (4 months ago)

      Moon Shadow sounds like a real character, Kevin!

      Reply
    • Sylvianne Vallee
      July 18, 2017 at 10:51 am (4 months ago)

      Hello, I recently replaced my 19yr old Tortie Annie (pass Away) with a tortie kitten Ginger…who is as you say,full of beans.. she is exactly as you said, petting and purring one minute, then running from room to room.. I have also taught her to fetch, sponge balls are her favorite and little bows.. She also grooms her fur sister my 28lb Coco bear and beats up my other cat Twig.. she too sleeps only at the end of the bed not very cuddle as my old girl Annie was..I just wanted to share the similarities . Ottawa Canada

      Reply
  15. Jennifer Arnold
    July 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm (4 months ago)

    I have referred to my feral tortoise kitty who is now 10 yrs old as bi-polar.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 7, 2017 at 4:28 pm (4 months ago)

      Bi-polar is a term I often hear used with torties 🙂

      Reply
      • Sylvianne Vallee
        July 18, 2017 at 10:54 am (4 months ago)

        Yes I believe my tortie ginger is Bi-polar as well..lol

        Reply
    • Diana
      July 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm (4 months ago)

      I have a 3 year old tortie named Isa. Her nickname is Tasmanian Devil. She likes to play fetch with her favorite toy and follows me from one room to another.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        July 11, 2017 at 3:29 pm (4 months ago)

        Great nickname, Diana!

        Reply
      • Don
        July 11, 2017 at 5:04 pm (4 months ago)

        My one year old Moriah is a tazmanian devil. She loves to play fetch her favorite toy is the laser pointer, she is very loving, is perpetual lap cat. But has plenty of tortitude, she back sasses me a lot verbally especially with the hissing.

        Reply
        • Diana
          July 11, 2017 at 5:19 pm (4 months ago)

          Isa loves the lazer also. She cones running whenever I rattle the keychain part looking down waiting for the light. she’s in her Taz mode now.

          Reply
          • Don
            July 11, 2017 at 5:28 pm (4 months ago)

            Moriah knows the sound of the lazer chain pointer, akso she keeps trying to get the refrigerator,and kitchen cabinets I have to keep the bathroom door as she loves to tearup the shower curtain

          • Diana
            July 11, 2017 at 6:05 pm (4 months ago)

            Isa loves to scratch and chew the paint off the walls. I live in an apt.

          • Ingrid
            July 12, 2017 at 5:08 am (4 months ago)

            Are you offering her plenty of appropriate scratching surfaces, Diana? Since she’s scratching the walls, she’s probably a vertical scratcher. I’d offer her plenty of scratching posts. Place them near the areas where she’s scratched the walls.

          • Diana
            July 12, 2017 at 1:43 pm (4 months ago)

            I don’t have any scratching posts. I guess I’ll have to buy a few.

  16. Lyn Eggleston
    July 6, 2017 at 5:28 am (5 months ago)

    My Esme- 3 legged tortie

    BEST CAT EVER….

    xxx

    Reply
  17. Wynn
    July 5, 2017 at 7:56 pm (5 months ago)

    Our present long-haired tortie had been ear-tipped as a feral kitten by a trap-spay-release group in the area, and had been feral several years before being seduced with food and a shelter onto a deck for several months, then tricked into coming indoors by being presented with a fragrant and warm litter box during a brutal period of subzero weather. It can take a very long time for ferals to adapt to living with humans and being indoors, but she has been well worth all the time and patience involved. She is no longer as timid as she had been for a long time, but has retained her sweet and gentle nature, and sometimes likes to cuddle now and then too. She’s not the typically assertive tortie, but is more on the quiet little fuss-muffin spectrum. She purrs a lot, but purrs softly too. The same feeding method and cozy litter offering trick had worked just as well to capture a young, ear-tipped feral young Maine coon-mix just 2 years ago during another deep-freeze too. Ferals can be quite a handful to deal with, compared to regular strays, but it doesn’t take quite as long to convert ferals less than a year old, so he’s become the one with all the attitude around here. He’s become a surprisingly good natured cat also, but he’s very large and can be a right little hellion when it suits him to go tearing around the house and he gets plenty loud and mouthy if he wants something too. Our tortie is the sweet and easy-going one, but seems to outsmart the rambunctious young male at every turn, regardless.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 6, 2017 at 5:20 am (5 months ago)

      “On the quiet little fuss-muffin spectrum” – I love that expression, Wynn!

      Reply
      • Wynn
        July 6, 2017 at 1:41 pm (5 months ago)

        Thanks, Ingrid. It pretty accurately describes our little tortie. She’s dark with a lot of creamy pale apricot and some dark apricot. I’ve noticed with the long-haired torties and torbies I’ve had over the years, that their lighter colors seem to become more pronounced when they’ve shed for warmer seasons, and they seem to darken up a bit more again when they fluff up and get their winter neck ruffs for the colder seasons. I’m curious whether people notice if that occurs with their short-haired cats too, and might have mentioned it.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          July 7, 2017 at 5:33 am (4 months ago)

          I have not noticed this in any of my torties, but I’ve never had a long hair tortie. I’d be curious to hear if anyone else has noticed this.

          Reply
  18. Matthew
    June 27, 2017 at 10:51 pm (5 months ago)

    I have a tortie as well as a Maine Coon. She is possessive of me at all times. She never meows but squeaks when I pick her up. My dad stepped on her tail once and found out that she could meow. She can grow at times. My brother’s Doberman is scared of her. She gets along with my dog only and tolerates the other two just like my Maine Coon.

    Reply
  19. Priscilla Leake
    June 23, 2017 at 11:41 am (5 months ago)

    Last year I got my first kitten after a friend found a litter out in a storm.

    Having never been a cat person before, I didn’t really know what to expect and was largely out of my element with this cat owner business. Like any new pet owner/mom, I freshened up on some articles, YouTube videos, and took little kitty Cleo to the vet within the first couple of weeks to make sure she was healthy.

    It was only then I realized what I’d signed myself up for.

    A brilliant, loud, snarky, high-tortitude tortoiseshell with kitten-energy levels and excessive sass.

    The vet laughed in my face and I went home feeling happy Cleo was healthy, but wondering if I was equipped for what I assumed was a “high-maintenance” type of cat.

    I still don’t really know the answer?

    She is beyond sassy.
    She is very vocal.
    She has more personality in her tiny paw than a number of humans I’ve met.

    I’m convinced she is smarter and loves more deeply than any other pet I’ve ever seen. Within the first few weeks of me having her, Cleo learned how to sit for treats. She was only a month or two old at the time.

    Her limitless curiosity drove her to go outside and explore (a trait which she refuses to let go of no matter how much I would prefer she be indoor only).

    Though she is not always outwardly affectionate and won’t purr loudly or rub on strangers – she loves to be around people and will always be in the same room with a group. I find myself loving how “human-esque” these tortitude behaviors make her. She always talks to you when you come into a room – a formal greeting (with different inflections depending on how long you’ve been gone and how frustrated she is with you as a result). She is rambunctious and knocks things around when she feels attention-starved. But she is affectionate and makes it very clear that she has more capacity for love than other cats I’ve met. Basically, I wouldn’t have picked a tortitude cat by my own devices… But I absolutely wouldn’t want a regular cat now that I’ve learned/fallen in love with the tortitude way.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 23, 2017 at 5:06 pm (5 months ago)

      She sounds wonderful, Priscilla – and she sure sounds like she’s got tortitude and then some!

      Reply
    • Don
      June 23, 2017 at 5:25 pm (5 months ago)

      I have a one year toryie named Moriah who us anabsolutely lunatic. She has abundant energy goes avpbso,utely nuts when I come home. Likes to be chased around and chase me in return. She is addicted to the laser pointer. She very loving to everone but is very sassy and will hiss when you try to discipline her. She is very vocal, makes the weirdest gutterel sounds when playing eating or grooming purrs really loud. she has no fear of water if you can believe that. I have raised cats for 40 years I have never seen anything like Moriah.

      Reply
  20. Eva Neuman
    June 20, 2017 at 11:29 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank you for all the info on the tortis. I learned al lot about tortitude.

    Reply
  21. Fedy
    June 13, 2017 at 8:58 am (5 months ago)

    My Luna is a 2 years old Tortise. I’ve had her for only 6 months, but we are allready unseparable.
    She’s my very first cat and one of the most ADAPTABLE cats I’ve ever met in my life: for a while because of personal issues I had to travel back and forth from the town i live currently to my hometown (and I’m gonna go back definitely in a couple of months) and she allways came with me as I couldn’t leave her to anyone.
    The result? She’s super sociable, she loves to explore whenever we go, and she got very calm while we travel. To be honest, I’m super shocked xD
    She’s also very loving, in winter she allways sleeps over me, and now in summer near my bed or near my legs, just to be sure we’re in the same room. Even if I’m using the ‘ignoring her’ in the morning when she starts mewing, it’s becoming difficoult: she’s SO demanding, sometimes she doesn’t even want food, just to be stroked. She has a very distinct ‘voice’, sometimes seems like she talks more than mewling. She’s NOT afraid of the vacuum, but she is afraid of the mop and the soap bubbles for some reason, and I laugh my ass off when I have to clean the house xD
    My conclusions? She has LOTS of tortitude, more on the ‘possessive on their owner’ side. I really hope she lives for many years to come, she’s the best cat I could ask for : )

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 13, 2017 at 10:52 am (5 months ago)

      What a wonderful tortie girl you have, Fedy! I love that she’s become such an easy traveler.

      Reply
      • Don
        June 17, 2017 at 9:47 pm (5 months ago)

        I have the most wonderful Torti by the name of Moriah. I need some advice she us one year old, and for the past several days has barely moved her bowels. I called my vet and they won’t give any advice only to bring her in and I just had major surgery and stripped for cash at the moment can anyone give some advice.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          June 19, 2017 at 5:03 am (5 months ago)

          Since you left that comment Friday night, I’m not sure how long she’s gone without a bowel movement by now – hopefully, you took her to the vet. You can try giving some canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin, not the pie filling) with her meals – it helps some cats, but if she has no bowel movement at all for more than a couple of days, she needs veterinary attention immediately.

          Reply
    • Noah
      June 23, 2017 at 11:44 am (5 months ago)

      Haha that’s funny I have the same cat my first cat as well she is 8 week old tortoise shell and her name is Luna as well

      Reply
      • Kevin
        June 24, 2017 at 6:18 pm (5 months ago)

        Same here! Her name is Luna and she is a nervous eater. She will meow at me until I go with her to her bowl of food and pet her while she eats. She will sit on the bathroom counter till I come in then give me a little chirp greeting and want me to turn the tap on a trickle for her to drink

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          June 25, 2017 at 5:33 am (5 months ago)

          Luna has you well trained, Kevin! 🙂

          Reply
  22. Kirsten
    June 11, 2017 at 11:45 pm (5 months ago)

    We adopted our dilute tortie, Bowie, about 3 months ago. She’s about 6 months old and has the funniest personality I’ve ever seen in a cat. I swear she is part human! She doesn’t meow, persay – she YOWLS. When we first got her, she yowled night and day, and hated – I mean hated – being touched/stroked – she recoiled from our touch, she only wanted love on her terms. She’s warmed up quite a bit since then, but still reserves early morning and late nights for her cuddle-up sessions, where she head-butts me and purrs like a motorboat for about an hour, then curls into my arm to sleep (divine!). By far the funniest trait she’s got right now is her abhorrence of my iphone. If she’s around me and I pick up my phone, she will jump up and paw at it, try to bite it, headbutt it, etc. It’s the weirdest thing! She’s a smart cookie, for sure, and beautiful to boot. I love her and our tabby dearly, and they couldn’t be more different. Thankfully, they adore eachother. When they aren’t playfully wrestling, they are just laying with their arms around eachother, or grooming eachother – swoon! Cats are the best.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 12, 2017 at 5:09 am (5 months ago)

      That’s too funny about your iPhone, Kristen! It’s like she knows that it’s competition for your attention!

      Reply
  23. Mary Simons
    June 9, 2017 at 11:57 pm (5 months ago)

    My daughter & I each adopted Torties in Oct. – hers is a Persian,mine a Himalayan. We got them from a purebred rescue group who rescued them from Egypt. They are the sweetest cats ever. Mine was thought to be a Blue Point, but her speckled brown & tan legs & dots of orange here & there turned out to be a Tortie. They are only 18 mos. old, so we still see a lot of kitten antics – absolutely delightful.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 10, 2017 at 5:32 am (5 months ago)

      Oh my goodness, I bet they’re both stunning. Feel free to post photos on our Facebook page, we’d love to see them!

      Reply
  24. Andy Crofts
    June 4, 2017 at 12:25 pm (6 months ago)

    I was owned by a ‘tortie’ once. I had difficulty deciding which of us was human or cat.
    When my wife went to Saudi Arabia for 2 years, she’d creep under the blanket, her head on the pillow, and a paw on my shoulder.
    Early Sunday mornings, she’d walk with me to the shop, and sit outside while I bought my cigarettes and the Sunday Times. Then walk back. If there was someone walking their dog, she’d jump onto my shoulder like a pirate’s parrot.
    One day she was out and injured her leg. She came back to our bedroom, woke me up (usually by biting that bit between the nostrils!), turned around so I could see the damage. Fortunately, the vet. fixed it quickly.
    Miishievious, but never naughty.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 5, 2017 at 5:10 am (6 months ago)

      What a character! She sounds amazing.

      Reply
  25. Yvette
    June 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm (6 months ago)

    We just rescued our first 3 mo old torti named peaches. And omg we are so in love. She is so playful, loving, energetic, talkative, feisty, definitely fearless and all around crazy!!!! She really fits in lol. She does bite and she likes to crawl up people’s legs but we are trying to correct the behavior and I feel like this will stop as she gets older. I really hate to say it cause I’ve loved all my animals…… But….. I think she’s my favorite she’s awesome. Even since the day we brought her home not one potty accident. Whoa lol.

    Reply
      • Mike
        June 6, 2017 at 7:14 am (6 months ago)

        Spicy, the toritude I live with, is the most gentle higher intelligence. She was the only positive distillate of a human relationship of mine, and she’s never betrayed or done anything but try to help me find my higher self. I’d never bonded like this with any animal before, but it is a real trip.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          June 6, 2017 at 7:58 am (6 months ago)

          Spicy is such a perfect name for a tortie. She sounds like she’s your soul cat.

          Reply
  26. Cindy
    June 3, 2017 at 2:55 pm (6 months ago)

    My Tortie is Missy who just appeared at our house one day. She is just over a year and is the prankster. I use to hide just barely out of sight then peek around saying boo. Now she hides and when you least expect it jumps out and meows. She used to be very affectionate but over the last few weeks she just seems to want to be left alone. I’m not sure what has changed with the exception of a new male cat who seems to come by. They don’t fight and she seems to like him. My husband and I joke she is a teenager and don’t have time for us.

    Reply
  27. Mary Fallon
    June 1, 2017 at 10:29 am (6 months ago)

    My tortie of 17 years just passed yesterday. Her name was Patches, we are absolutely heartbroken. I never researched her breed and I’m enjoying all the info and comments. I knew that she was special, the way that she talked to us just like a person. She gave us so much love, always ready to comfort us with her purring as soon as we held her or were near her.
    We got a new bed a few years ago that was quite high. She was unable to jump up on it which was disturbing for both of us as she purred me to sleep every night. We found a basket that she loved and she then slept downstairs but she cried every night when I went upstairs to bed,this broke my heart.
    She was our baby and could never be replaced but if I ever got another cat it would definitely be a tortie.The loyalty and beautiful personality is like no other(and I’ve had other cats)

    Reply
    • Leah
      June 1, 2017 at 3:29 pm (6 months ago)

      I am so sorry for your loss. I have a tortie girl for ya! She’s a hell raiser and is worse than a 2 year old!!! Be careful what ya wish for as mine…well…little Miss Josie Outlaw….will do things just to do it!!! Grrrrrrrrrr!

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 3, 2017 at 5:27 am (6 months ago)

      I’m so sorry, Mary.

      Reply
  28. Falon
    May 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm (6 months ago)

    I just had a torti who had to babies and they are chocolate tortis as well. They are about 9 weeks old and one is a boy hes also long hair so cute. I did not know how rare they are to have boys i was gonna get rid of him but now im second guessing myself lol. I just wanted to share my story to all you cat lovers out there!

    Reply
  29. DRoy
    May 23, 2017 at 10:40 pm (6 months ago)

    The torti stories are great!
    Our torti, Meeko, came from several hours away. She followed my daughter home (she lived in a big city). My daughter took her in, had her fixed & shots. Meeko seemed mostly happy, until one day, she got out of my daughters’ apartment, went down into the basement, and caught a mouse! My daughter concluded that Meeko would rather be outside. So…we took her. We live in the country. After spending days exploring, Meeko decided we were her humans, and stayed. She is a great hunter, and gets along with the other cats…except when our Nebelung kitten tries to play! (the “kitten” is a year old, we are told Nebelungs aren’t grown up until 2 years old).
    Anyway, Meeko is a very nice, loving cat, but don’t get on the wrong side of her…she can be fierce!

    Reply
  30. katie
    May 17, 2017 at 10:55 pm (6 months ago)

    I have a female torti who is about 3 years old. When I first got her, even though I knew she couldn’t possibly be a feral cat– we use to joke around that she was feral just because she was so full of energy. She ran like a horse, she was so loud going up and down the stairs. She would sit with me when she felt like it, but it really took her to be about 1 to really start wanting to sit and cuddle and stay still for more than a couple of minutes. She is such a sweet heart. She knows her name. She didn’t seem to mind car rides. If you look at her and just randomly talk to her she will talk back– she talks a lot. She is very persistent. She is kind of possessive- of me and I think the house. If she sees someone out the window she might growl at them. Once in a blue moon she will growl or hiss at me if she isn’t happy- but she won’t normally do anything. Sometimes she get’s too playful and will bite me… but that’s rare. I would say she hardly ever does that. She loves to sleep with me, and seems to sleep with me for a little while every night. She loves going under the covers and luckily she doesn’t bite my feet because I know I move around a lot. When it’s time to go to work in the morning sometimes she will block the door and we will play the back and forth game… eventually, she lets me leave. Sometimes I can just throw her a toy to distract her. She talks to me all the time. I talk to to her a lot too. I won’t lie, the first year I got her… I was very.. what have I gotten into with her- she was so energetic… and she acted like she was feral, just by how fast she ran around. She has turned into such an amazing cat. I also love, how when I get home– she always rolls on her back, kinda like a dog, and wants her tummy pet. She is very attentive. I can tell she is very smart.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 18, 2017 at 5:19 am (6 months ago)

      She sounds wonderful, Katie. What you said about her first year reminds me a little bit about my Allegra – I had never had a “wild” kitten like her before. It took a couple of years for her to mellow out a little.

      Reply
      • Jerry
        May 18, 2017 at 8:38 am (6 months ago)

        My Honey Bunny is at least 10 now and I’m still waiting for that “mellow out.”
        Feral for around 1.5 years before TNR rescue seems to negate that so far.
        Reverse Torbies are the best. Very smart, hard to have, but so worth it.
        My most loyal animal partner ever.

        Reply
  31. EIRA
    May 9, 2017 at 4:47 am (6 months ago)

    After 40 years of cat ownership I have to say I have never found a more gentle and relaxed cat as my current toirtoishell Maggie. She is quiet and affectionate and extremely gentle. She can be persistent when she wants attention but she’s sweet with young children and other cats. I also had another tortoishell call Mali for 19 years. Mali was independent and did not seek attention but she was very gentle and motherly in her nature.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 9, 2017 at 5:17 am (6 months ago)

      Maggie sounds like a wonderful girl!

      Reply
      • Julie
        June 16, 2017 at 2:28 pm (5 months ago)

        Awe, your Maggie, sounds just like my Moxie Girl. She is the sweetest most gentle kitty! She is only 1 years old,
        we adopted her from the shelter when she was just a kitten. She can have her crazy moments. But she is the sweetest. Very independent and greets everyone with leg rubs. She also loves to get our attention when she wants something! Could even be as simple as just a neck rub. But she lets you know when she wants something! I’m just learning about her and I love it! She is the easiest and most gentle cat I have had, other than my Main Coon.

        Reply
  32. Kimberly
    May 7, 2017 at 2:17 pm (7 months ago)

    My 8 month old tortie, lylah, is an absolute pistol. She is very independent and only lets me touch her when she wants it, and if she doesn’t want to be touched she makes it very clear that she dosent like it. She is also very vocal when i leave her in a room alone and screams until I come let her out or join her. She thinks all food is hers and steals some every chance she gets, even the dog’s food. She is very dominant with my other animals and makes sure everyone else is in their place. Also, she is extremely smart and picks up on things very quickly. Although, she is also very skittish and doesn’t like new people coming in the house or near her, she ends up being curious and comes out to see who is here but as soon as they make a wrong move she is gone. When I took her to the vet to get her spayed I was afraid she was going to be very temperamental and try to attack the vet when he touched her, because she doesn’t even like me touching her, but instead she was absolutely frozen in fear. Even though she is a brat most the time I love her to death and she is extremely playful and entertaining, definitely a strong personality.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 7, 2017 at 4:43 pm (7 months ago)

      “Brat” is a word I often hear when people describe their torties 🙂 Iylah sounds like a real character!

      Reply
    • Kaia
      May 9, 2017 at 12:26 am (6 months ago)

      That’s so interesting! My kitty, Faelen, who is a long haired tortie, sounds very similar to Lylah. She’ll will let you touch her on her own terms only and makes it very clear when that is. I took her to the vet today for a check up and her rabies booster and she acts the exact same way…totally freezes up when she’s there and she tried to bury herself into me…if I have a jacket on, she tries to crawl into it! She acts all tough at home and picks on her sister, but she’s actually really quite timid in the “real world”..lol.

      Reply
  33. Alextzanda Floyd
    April 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm (7 months ago)

    Well despite any thing I love the furry lunatic…

    Reply
    • Don
      April 25, 2017 at 5:56 pm (7 months ago)

      My one year old Moriah is a piece of work. She is hot tempered. But more than makes up for it with her funny behavior and her I LOVE EVERYBODY personality. This cat will actually jump in the shiwer with me. She goes bananas when I take out the laser pointer.

      Reply
    • Jeanine
      May 2, 2017 at 10:07 pm (7 months ago)

      My “Shelly” is a 5 year old Tortoiseshell kitty. She was rescued at 2 weeks old by my son-in-law and has been staying with us, and grandma, ever since. Grandma can no longer take care of her, she would love to find a new home for kitty. Shelly has all her claws and has always lived indoors. She fits the unique personality of a Tortoiseshell: strong-willed, hot-tempered, independent and feisty. Please let me know if you are interested in giving a new home to this little cutie

      Reply
  34. Sarah
    April 16, 2017 at 9:28 am (7 months ago)

    I have two cats, Rosie and Dill Pickles. Rosie is a big fluffy black cat of 6 years, and Dill is coming up on a year and is a chocolate torti. We got Dill from an old roommate of mine who found her abandoned in a Starbucks parking lot. She was probably about 4 weeks old, 0.9lbs. Now she runs my house! Rosie is very polite, has a quiet and raspy meow, and is just a very well behaved cat all around. Dill, on the other hand, steals socks from my boyfriend’s drawer and leaves them in her water bowl. She gets up onto any surface no matter the height (like the top of my fridge) and messes with everything. I love her so much but boy is she a handful. She chews up any paper left out, digs in trash cans (all of which now have been switched out for ones with locking lids), and has destroyed two wallets and countless cords for iPhones, etc…She also loves to do the bait and switch of the cat world: she lays on her back and shows me her belly and then immediately clamps down with teeth and claws if I dare to give her a pet. Aside from her belly, she loves being pet! She was spayed in January and her behavior has not changed! She is still a baby though! We have a petcube (pet camera with a motion activated laser game) and she’s so smart she’s figured out where the laser comes from and goes right to the source rather than chase it on the ground. I do feel bad because she bullies Rosie quite a bit. Rosie is pretty patient and sometimes they play, but many times Rosie just runs and gets up on the highest perch to get away from Dill. Regardless of her insanity (I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg describing it here), we love Dill and Rosie so so so much!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm (7 months ago)

      Dill sounds like quite a character!

      Reply
    • Leah
      April 16, 2017 at 4:09 pm (7 months ago)

      Hi Sarah,

      I too have the tortitude, although I tuned myself in with Josie Outlaw who just turned a year old on April 7th. I’ve noticed that she wants to be close, even if that means being on the kitchen counter, bathroom counters, etc. She gets into anything and everything and I have stopped running when I hear loud crashes as it’s already done and she doesn’t understand what she has done in the first place.

      What I have noticed is that she is highly intelligent and needs more interaction than what I can give her even with my other 2 cats and 4 dogs. She needed something to stimulate her brain and keep her out of trouble. (This will never happen!) I got her interactive toys and it has helped tremendously! She plays with them at all hours of the day and night and it has helped stimulate her and has kept her away from trouble! Go to chewy.com and type in interactive cat toys and you will see a racetrack and other things. I hope that this will help as it has helped me immensely. She is so much happier and so am I!

      Reply
    • Rae Ann
      April 17, 2017 at 8:46 pm (7 months ago)

      Sarah,
      Sounds like your Dill and my Skittles have the same tortitude personalities! My Skittles is a black tortie and she is the smartest cat I have ever had. She also likes to tip trash cans over and tear anything up she can get her paws on, including my husband’s arms when he is sitting in his recliner! She gets into and onto everything she can reach. If I open a drawer, she crawls in it. If I put an empty tissue box on the floor, she will squeeze herself into it. I have purchased many interactive toys for her, but she soon becomes bored with them. The only one she still likes is the feather wand toy, which she will chase and leap high into the air for until she is literally panting! If I’m cooking something, she will jump up onto my shoulder to see what I’m cooking, and see if it’s worth begging for a taste. Even with all of her tortitude and quirks, I love her very much. She makes me laugh every day, and I wouldn’t give her up for the world.

      Reply
    • Don
      April 21, 2017 at 9:37 pm (7 months ago)

      Hi I have a chocolate tortoise who just turne one. Her name is Moriah, my fiance said I should of named her Terror. She is high energ, plays constantly. Her davorite game is chase me and tear up daddys papers. She is high spirited and constantly tries to get outside I have had to replace my blinds in my bedroom several times. She is very strong willed when she gets a mind to do something she is going to no matter what I do. She is very vocal and purrs really loud. I have been raising cats for 40 years and Moriah is the most active cat I have ever had. She likes to lick me constantly, and every night when I go to bed she curls up beside me. Even though I have her on a weight control formula she is still 13 pounds. Is that unusual for a tortouseshell?

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 22, 2017 at 5:30 am (7 months ago)

        Moriah certainly sounds like she’s all tortie! And no, the weight issue is not unique to tortoiseshell cats, unfortunately, more than 50% of America’s cats are overweight. And weight control formulas usually don’t work, or even make the problem worse. Here’s how to help your cat lose weight: http://consciouscat.net/2015/08/31/weight-loss-tips-for-cats/

        Reply
        • Gillowgirl
          April 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm (7 months ago)

          My girlie Gypsy was laid back but full of playfulness and mischief. Two and a half weeks ago she had a trauma injury to her head. Emergency vet said probably a car tho she never normally went out of the front garden. She is more subdued now and not as playful and mischievous. I do miss it. It was so much fun. She’s recovered very well but I want the real full of fun Gypsy.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            April 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm (7 months ago)

            I’m so sorry about Gypsy’s accident. Best wishes for a complete recovery and may she gain back her tortitude!

  35. Gizmo
    April 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm (7 months ago)

    where are you based out of because on of those cats looks exactly like my cat which i lost back in 2013

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm (7 months ago)

      I’m so sorry about your lost kitty, Gizmo. I’m in Northern Virginia. Both of my cats have been with me since 2010 and 2011 and were rescued as kittens.

      Reply
      • Gizmo
        April 12, 2017 at 8:44 am (7 months ago)

        thank you

        Reply
        • charlotte
          July 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm (4 months ago)

          what was your cats name, gizmo? i have a cat he is not a tortoiseshell sadly but i still love him like i love my sister.

          Reply
  36. Neil Barker
    April 1, 2017 at 4:33 am (8 months ago)

    Describes my Amber to a tee, she is a calico tortie based on your description. Great article and what a lifetime journey of love and discovery you have been been on.

    Reply
  37. Gillowgirl
    March 30, 2017 at 2:11 pm (8 months ago)

    Last August I adopted Rosie, a calico who was a year old and Gypsy her tortie daughter, 5 or 6 months old. I love them both dearly. Rosie is very gentle and silent apart from purring. She’s been such a patient mum. Gypsy is homeloving but full of mischief. She is a almost a silent cat like her mum, she has a quiet squeak occasionally but when awake all she wants to do is play. If I play with her mum Gypsy charges in. She robs her mum of treats and isn’t satisfied with her own food dish, she has to try and “rob” her mum. There are spats now but they do love each other. Rosie will lie on my legs and gently chew my toes. Gypsy doesn’t like my lap but will indulge me and let me scoop her up and snuggle my face into her. She never gets tired of playing even tho she’s no longer a kitten and if she’s on my bed I daren’t even twitch and she’s diving on the covers. She is a bit slow upstairs lol. She still hasn’t worked out how to get in and out of a door left ajar and has shredded the carpets by the doors. I love both my girlies so much and equally but there’s something about Gypsy.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 30, 2017 at 2:24 pm (8 months ago)

      They sound like quite the pair!

      Reply
      • Gillowgirl
        March 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm (8 months ago)

        Oh they are. They give me plenty of exercise throwing polystyrene balls outside for them to chase. Gypsy the Tortie especially likes me to throw screwed up paper down the hall and she runs so fast that she slides sideways. She carries a small model dog around by its head for some reason…a present to me from grand daughter. Rosie catches mice and Gypsy takes them to play with. Never harming them. It’s such fun having them

        Reply
  38. Leah
    March 28, 2017 at 8:25 am (8 months ago)

    Ingrid,

    I’ve written in previously that I got Josie Outlaw from the local humane society and that she is different. I have been finding out how different and trying to figure her out, I think I might have it. She is definitely a rebel and does everything that she is not supposed to….then their are those moments that make you smile and you try to understand better!

    She is coming up on a year on April 7th, 2017 and since having her right before Thanksgiving to now….she makes things crash, has an infatuation with rubber bands and goes into my range bag to get every single one. She will take her nail and a tooth and stretch them. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen! She has to be right next to you doing whatever and follows you more so than her canine friends. When I’m done in that location, all I have to do is say…Ok, Josie lets go..and she’s right there with me constantly following me.

    She is definitely a rebel and I named her right. In the middle of the night I hear loud crashes and have stopped getting up to find out what they are…to just find Josie looking at me like…”what….I didn’t do anything!!!!” She is a cuddler, although on her own time and when it is her time, she wants to be held close with tons of kisses. She has for the past few weeks been snuggling in bed, which is nice…she is definitely feeling extremely comfortable.

    Josie plays with all 4 dogs, although her and Pixie Prissy Pants are besties. Them two are for the most part inseparable. The way that they play has me in continues laughter and I wouldn’t want it any other way! She has even gotten Charles Dickens whom has the personality of….it’s another family member…it’s another cat as he is just a chilled little guy, she has him playing with her and it is just so funny to watch!

    Although on Sunday, it wasn’t so good and I was in hysteria. My husband was doing the yard work for most of the day and she somehow slipped outside with him. I think he left the garage door open and she slipped out. I thought she was cat napping on my bed and when I went to go find her, she was gone. She always comes running when I call her, more so than the dogs. I panicked and was outside for hours calling her in the dark.

    We live in the country and my mind went to the worst. I put my pillow case on the front door step, then her kennel she came home from the shelter and after another 20 minute yelling spree outside I came in and was just crying my eyes out. My husband was trying to console me, although I’ve never lost a baby in my life and I wasn’t planning on it now. I went in my bedroom and sat there for a few minutes and told him I was going to get her kitty box and put it on the front porch for her scent. Pixie, Prissy Pants, her bestie went to the front door and was scratching on it. I opened it up and there she was….I saw her silhouette. I screamed for my husband to come get the fuzzies and for him to shut the front door so I can sit on the step and call her. She came right to me and now she is grounded for life!!!!

    Even though we have 2 other kitties and 4 American Eskimo dogs, she livens up this house with her antics like no other. She scared the living day lights out of me and I gave the husband and Josie got a what for!!! She is not an outdoor baby and never will be.

    The husband doesn’t care too much for her antics, although I caught him last night holding her and telling her that we love her so much that she just can’t go outside, ever. It was cute and now I think he realizes even he loves her more without realizing how much she does mean to all of us that live in this large house. I don’t know how she knew where she lived, or how she got here, but I would of been devastated if she didn’t come back and the wildlife got her. I thank God every day for my little Outlaw cuz that is what she is!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 28, 2017 at 1:28 pm (8 months ago)

      Oh my goodness, what an awful experience that must have been – every cat guardian’s worst nightmare. I’m so glad she returned to you!

      Reply
      • Leah
        March 28, 2017 at 11:10 pm (8 months ago)

        You and me both. I couldn’t ever imagine life without her. Even though I have 4 Eskies and 2 other cats, she brings life in this house. The Eskies all adore her and she is puuurfect with the other 2 cats, its just a match made from heaven. My heart would have been lost as we are truly bonded together.

        Reply
  39. Mo D.
    March 18, 2017 at 5:44 pm (8 months ago)

    My tortie came to my attention as a stray, or so I thought. I found her, very thin and meowing, when I was out for a walk one day. Her front paws were very small, unlike her back feet. Later I discovered she belonged to a neighbor several residences away and I asked him about her. He told me he had to put her outside because she attacked his other animals constantly. I asked if he would give over custody to me and he readily agreed.

    Once inside my home I discovered her small front paws were due to declawing. Imagine, the man had put outside a declawed (but spayed) kitty unable to defend herself in an area with many cats roaming around! My vet said she was malnourished but otherwise in good health.

    I’ve had her for about five years now. Her only downside is that she bites. Other than that she is loving and friendly to visitors and family. They just have to be warned that she may give them a tortitude nip on occasion. She’s quite a character.

    Reply
    • Wynn
      July 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm (5 months ago)

      It’s been my experience that most declawed cats do tend to bite, and who can blame them! What an abhorrent practice de-clawing is. It should be outlawed everywhere.

      Reply
  40. Dan the Tortified
    March 18, 2017 at 11:56 am (8 months ago)

    I am glad to read about tortie personality traits finally. Have had a tortie (Jewel)or or she owns me,and her all black brother (Lucian) for two years now. Her brother is fat, a little skittish but affectionate and happy. However, my little Jewel seems to own the house and all that dwell in its walls. I have three dogs (one is a 200 pound great dane)who for quite awhile gave her a wide berth but are fine now. She wasn’t aggressive, just wanted to play with them. She shied away from most human contact for the first few months but since she seems to attached to me like a lost puppy. She follows me all over the house and when I stop she does, she want s to be picked up but has to be put back down. Its kind of hard not to pick her up when she runs in front of you and rolls over and begs.Or if I am sitting at my desk or (online, paper work)in the bathroom(toilet shower ect, dont matter), she is there. Hell when its time to go bed she follows and half the time she stops on the stairs and asks me to carry her but then she will only stay for attention briefly then stations herself on one of several perches within sight all night except if she thinks I am awake. Then she comes, stairs me in the face then goes back to her perch. All this stuff she does is a little off for any cat but the one thing she does the we just dont understand and that is when your tortitude must come into play, (or she is just bat crap crazy), she for no reason, will come to attention then run at full speed all , and I do me all around the house growling, snarling and talking a mile a minute. When she does this(like every other day) no one or no thing dares go near. It can last twenty seconds or ten minutes and if it wasn’t so damn funny it might be scary. From what I have read today I think most of you know exactly what I am talking about too. TORTITUDE, I guess we have been tortified. I have had lots of cats and loved them all b, but she is just different.

    Reply
  41. Bobj
    March 10, 2017 at 9:06 pm (8 months ago)

    You’re full of it! Listen to yourself.

    Reply
    • Brittany
      March 14, 2017 at 3:22 pm (8 months ago)

      My boyfriend brought home a stray gray kitten last September, a coworker found them abandoned in a box on the side of the road, so him and a few others brought them home. Well, this kitten was very different. She ended up not being solid gray, but had lighter patches throughout, and a cream colored spot running from her chin to her tummy, looking like she spilled milk. I had never seen a gray cat with splotches like her so I did some research, she looked like a tortie but I’d never seen one in gray…but sure enough, they do come in gray and cream. So we’ve got a dilute tortie, and she is a handful. She meows for attention, makes chirping and trilling sounds when running full speed through the house, she loves her two big brother ginger tabbies. Her personality is vastly different of my two big boys though, but she’s quite entertaining.

      Reply
  42. carol
    March 8, 2017 at 1:57 pm (9 months ago)

    I was given a stray tortie that I bottled fed for weeks, she was maybe 10 days old when I took her in she was so tiny and sweet, now she is about 4-5 months old and is mean she bites scratches and only will let you hold her when she is sleepy she will crawl in my lap and purr and let you love on her.I love her but when anyone comes over or other dogs are around she is vicious biting and scratching everyone even me she gets along with my 2 small dogs they play together, will she out grow this I plan to have her spayed very soon and thinking of declawing her she is destroying the house .

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm (9 months ago)

      Please do not declaw your cat, Carol. Declawing is an inhumane procedure that is banned in 25 countries around the world. It involves amputating each toe at the first joint, and not only causes tremendous pain after the procedure, but can actually make any existing behavior issues worse. For more information about declawing and why it should never be done, please visit The Paw Project http://www.pawproject.org/

      It sounds like your kitten is just being a kitten, with a lot of energy, and she needs appropriate ways to burn it off. Try structured play sessions, two or three times a day, 10 to 15 minutes each. Use interactive wand toys. Really get her tired out so she can burn off some excess energy. Make sure she has plenty of stimulation even when you can’t play with her: perches to look out the windows, toys, various scratching posts, etc.

      Reply
      • Leah
        March 28, 2017 at 8:47 am (8 months ago)

        I do agree with Ingrid about NOT getting her declawed. She will calm down a bit after spaying, although she is a Tortie with a unique personality. If it makes you feel any better, I bought brand new living room furniture a month a go and she has every bit of it torn up and it looks like it’s 5 years old. This is how it is. Understanding her and activities will make life better! I, myself have several interactive toys for Josie Outlaw along with taking the time to play is big in their world! Do as much research on your special friend and try to understand her more and I bet you two will have a loving relationship. Jut remember….pets are like children…they are for life! :0)

        Reply
    • Bobj
      March 10, 2017 at 9:10 pm (8 months ago)

      I have adopted several senior declawed cats that were declawed as kittens. I assure you declawing as soon as possible at the kitten stage has absolutely no effect on the cat later in life and makes for a great non damaging cat to furniture walls car seats etc.

      Reply
      • kaia
        March 10, 2017 at 9:25 pm (8 months ago)

        How can you say it has no effects on the cat? You are amputating half of each toe! To put it in perspective, that is like you cutting off each finger at the middle joint. Explain to me how that is not a)traumatic and b)barbaric AND c) extremely painful? It’s a multiple amputation. This is a procedure that should not even been allowed to take place. If you love your pet, I would seriously think twice before doing this. You are putting your furniture before the wellbeing of an animal…

        Reply
      • Ingrid
        March 12, 2017 at 7:29 am (8 months ago)

        There are very few areas where things are black and white, but declawing is one of them. I applaud you for adopting these senior cats – someone else already put them through the trauma of this horrific surgery, and they needed a home. But to consider putting a cat who is already part of your family through amputation surgery because you’re worried about carpets and furniture – it’s simply inconceivable to me.

        I’m not going to continue to discuss this topic, and I will delete future comments about this topic on this post.

        Reply
    • Ben
      March 13, 2017 at 7:06 pm (8 months ago)

      Kittens who don’t have play partners can have ‘aggressive play’ where they never learned how to play properly from their siblings/mother. She doesn’t know she is being naughty because no other cat ever told her.

      If that is her behavior, declaw could make it worse. Then her only tool is her teeth, and the underlying issue isn’t fixed.

      What I would do is enforce good play when interacting with her – if she is naughty and scratches or bites too aggressively, hiss loudly at her and/or snatch her by the scruff immediately (but briefly) .
      Afterward continue continue what you were doing, but be prepared to do the exact same thing again. You have to train your kitty, and taking away her fingers will not fix that.

      Reply
    • Gillowgirl
      March 30, 2017 at 5:12 pm (8 months ago)

      My vet was horrified when he wrongly thought I wanted mine declawing, explaining it could have physical and psychological effects. He trimmed their claws and explained how to do it.

      Reply
  43. kaia
    March 6, 2017 at 10:11 pm (9 months ago)

    I have 2 torties (they have me, really)…the older, and my first, is a lovely long haired forest pixie named Faelen and she is a total character. She is very talkative and has various dialects. She also climbs trees like a monkey.
    My other sweetie is actually Faelen’s niece! Her sister had a litter a year after I took Faelen home and it was the most unique litter I had ever seen! Mom is a short haired tortie and her litter had 1 short haired tortie female, a seal color point siamese female, a flame tabby point siamese male and a tortie point siamese female! I just stood there in awe when I first saw them and started waxing lyrical about how amazing this litter was …. no one else seemed to have a clue what I was talking about, nor did they seem to care (farm cat litter, by the way!) I immediately called dibs on the tortie point female….her name is Sora…she is beautiful.. blue eyes and all…and the sweetest, most affectionate kitty I have ever had in my life. They are both incredibly smart and communicative. Sora loves deer…they visit my cabin in the forest daily and she plays with the fawns. It’s hilarious and very heart warming.

    Reply
    • Liz
      March 12, 2017 at 5:22 pm (8 months ago)

      Female cats can be impregnated by more than one male so it’s not too surprising that a roaming farm cat might have kittens with different “daddies”.

      Reply
    • Liz
      March 12, 2017 at 5:43 pm (8 months ago)

      I’ve had my first torbie for about 16 months now. I got her form a shelter and they knew nothing about her past. She has a clipped ear so presumably she’s been feral at one time. Anyway she is full of sass and vinegar. Not having had a torbie before I thought all of her behavior and schizophrenic issues had to do with having been abandoned. I may have to rethink what causes her to be so antisocial. The vet I took her to said she was the most aggressive cat she had ever seen and she wouldn’t examine her. I took her to a different vet and the only way she would examine her was to anthetize (?) her first.

      Reply
      • Doug & Janete Massey
        May 2, 2017 at 1:13 pm (7 months ago)

        We took our anti-social Tortie for shots and the Vet sprayed some kind of Pheremone on the mat and calmed her down. She said you can buy a liquid and put in a container like glade and plug it in. Cover the whole house Doug

        Reply
  44. Bill
    March 3, 2017 at 11:14 pm (9 months ago)

    Liddi is my tortie. Got her from a county kennel at five weeks. Now almost a year she is the love of my life. I’d go to war over her. She has all of the attributes of tortitude and then some. When she wants attention she’s loving and rolls over on her back and lets me scratch that beautiful underbelly coat. If I ignore her she lets me know by giving m a tortie bite. Nothing like her.

    Reply
    • Liz Gardner
      March 4, 2017 at 7:28 am (9 months ago)

      Oh Bill its so lovely to read about your love affair with Liddi – she sounds gorgeous but then all torties are. I’ve got two torties in my life Fifi and Candy – we are a ‘menage a trois’ so to speak – my others cats look on in amazement 🙂

      Reply
    • Leah
      March 28, 2017 at 8:56 am (8 months ago)

      Oh, I so know that love affair! Having Josie Outlaw now for 5 months and learning everything about her and her little antics, I wouldn’t want her any different! I understand the feelings…”I’d go to war over her” as I would for Josie Outlaw and all of my other babies. Once they are in your life, it is forever and I wouldn’t have it any other way!!!!!

      Reply
  45. Clara
    March 2, 2017 at 2:24 am (9 months ago)

    I lived out in country setting and had strsy cats around. I would feed, catch and fix ones I could. I caught a tortie gave her the name of Scatster because she scat away from me. I managed to get her fixed and returned her to her area. She would visit my back door and knock on it from off the railing. She refused to ever want in house and I had been feeding her for about 3 yrs when I sold my house. I was lucky to have a buyer that liked cats and I told her of Scatster. Scatster still runs the neighborhood my daughter lives across from my old house and she will tell me she say her. Scatster is 6 yrs old most likely Maine Coon she is a large hairy girl. I have her brother a very clingy ginger tabby named Goldey who loves to sleep a top my head and cuddle. I wanted to bring Scatster with but she just refused to leave her area. I also have 4 others that have been rescued and fixed. No breeders for me too many animals that need a home.

    Reply
  46. Amber
    February 25, 2017 at 10:12 pm (9 months ago)

    We adopted a tortoiseshell (Callie – 5 yrs old) and a tuxedo (Louisa – 3 yrs old) last March. Oh my goodness! Didn’t know the excitement we were in for with these two! Callie is the best of the tortie personality – except when she’s scratching the walls & door frames. We’ve learned to deal with that while trying to change her behavior. But, really, she’s the sweetest cat – LOVES everyone who walks in our home. My sister-in-law came over a few weeks after we brought the girls home. She sat down in a chair to change her shoes and Callie jumped up in her lap, turned around, and laid down. My SIL just sat there, stunned! Cal just seems to want everyone to be loved.
    The moment we brought the girls in, though, Callie exerted her dominance over Louisa. Lou spent the first few weeks hiding whenever Callie was around (all the time!). She has since learned to stand her ground and will occasionally instigate a fun little chase around the house.
    I could go on and on about my preciouses…

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 26, 2017 at 6:10 am (9 months ago)

      They both sound wonderful, Amber!

      Reply
  47. Hilda
    February 25, 2017 at 2:03 pm (9 months ago)

    A few weeks ago I was blessed to be able to rescue a tiny, malnourished, on the brink of death Tortie from 2 shepherds here at the ranch where I live. She is exactly as you describe her. Needless to say, my life has been blessed by this, my new loving, beautiful friend and companion

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 25, 2017 at 5:02 pm (9 months ago)

      Welcome to the wonderful world of tortitude, Hilda!

      Reply
  48. Daisy Bright
    February 24, 2017 at 1:13 am (9 months ago)

    Much as I adore my tortoiseshell, as I have all my cats, the notion that there is such a thing as “tortitude” is an excellent example of confirmation bias.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 24, 2017 at 6:05 am (9 months ago)

      Which is why I constantly stress, both on this website and in my book, that while there are commonalities for most torties, each cat is an individual.

      Reply
    • Bobj
      February 27, 2017 at 9:28 am (9 months ago)

      As a current first time tortie owner and former of at least 10 other breeds I completely disagree. Even when visiting shelters It’s obvious all torties have that similar unique personality. I believe it’s genetic just like different groups of people tend to have similar basic personalities.

      Reply
  49. Taylor
    February 22, 2017 at 6:31 am (9 months ago)

    I was so blessed to get the sweetest baby Tortise Shell cat after I met these women who had both their queens give birth at the same time. It was overwhelming for them for sure (the one I picked was the only one without a name). She has been a delight since we brought her him. Her name is CleoCatra and she loves my older queen, Chairman Meow (who took time getting used to how rambunctious the kitten was) and will sleep next to my English pointer. She loves everyone and isn’t scared of strangers. In fact, she is so snuggely with people, that we had people begging us to not get her fixed so they could adopt her babies. She comes when you call her, is ridiculously smart (i.e. opened a large velcro closed box that had Christmas ornaments in it, flipped the very large flap, unraveled the tissue paper til she found the ornaments she needed.) The vet said she is due any day now with 3- possibly 4 kittens and I am hoping they are as sweet and original as she is. Plus the Tom is a ragdoll cat so the kittens should look like ewoks. I’ve had a lot of cats growing up and this breed is definitely my favorite. Though I may be Bias

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 22, 2017 at 10:35 am (9 months ago)

      I love both of your cats’ names, Taylor!

      Reply
  50. Crystal
    February 18, 2017 at 1:03 am (9 months ago)

    I am the human of a 14 year old torti, Jade. She has a very unique personality for sure! She doesn’t like anyone but me, and will only tolerate certain people. She is very vocal and can be very demanding when she wants to be. But, to me, she is the sweetest little girl and I love her so very much! I have 3 other cats (a gray 6 toed tabby, a tuxedo, & a Maine coon), but Jade will always be my baby girl and the one that sleeps and snuggles with me. She’s my baby!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 18, 2017 at 5:58 am (9 months ago)

      Jade sounds like she’s got tortitude and then some, Crystal!

      Reply
    • Kevin
      July 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm (4 months ago)

      Your 6-toed tabby is a Hemingway. We had one years ago. Loved the big paws. Learned later it was a Hemingway, named after the author in Key West who had them on his property.

      Reply

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