Tortie Talk: Are Tortoiseshell Cats More Talkative Than Other Cats?


Even though I have absolutely no scientific evidence, in my experience, when it comes to being talkative, tortoiseshell cats have most other cats beat.

Buckley was one of the most vocal cats I’ve ever come across. She had a range of expression from an almost silent meow to a very loud, demanding cry that almost approached a scream. I often heard her meowing or chattering somewhere in the house. It was almost as if she felt compelled to provide a running commentary on her activities: “I think I’ll go in the bedroom now.” “Oh, maybe I’ll jump up on the window perch. That looks like fun.” “Oh, look! There’s a big blue bird by the feeder!” It seemed that her constant delight at everything in her life needed to be expressed out loud.

Ruby has quite a sound repertoire as well. She squeaks. A lot. It’s a very happy little sound that can range from low volume to extremely high pitched and loud. She squeaks when I talk to her, she squeaks when I touch her, and she squeaks to announce her arrival in a room. She also makes this sweet little noise that’s somewhere between a squeak and a chirp when she first joins me after I’ve gone to bed. It’s like her “here I am, Mom, let’s snuggle” sound, and it makes my heart melt.

Allegra’s also has quite a range of vocal expressions. She makes a little “brrpp” chirping sound when she’s excited about a toy. Sometimes, she seems to use it for no reason that I can see, so I assume that she’s just particularly happy right then. She also uses a pitiful sounding little whine when she sees me fix my meals in the kitchen. Usually this is accompanied by her putting her paws on my legs, and she’ll only stop once I let her sniff whatever it is I’m making. Since I’m vegetarian, most of the time, that sniff will result in a scrunched up face on her part and she’ll walk away.

The other day, Ruby surprised me with a variation in her talking repertoire. It’s a chattering sort of meow that I’d previously only seen when she sees a bird outside the window. Occasionally, she’ll also make that same sound when she sees the reflections of light off my phone or iPad screen on the wall or ceiling. But that day, she was just lying on my lap, and all of a sudden, she started chattering away. We were sitting by the window, and while there was nothing that I could see, she clearly had a lot to say about something!

Are your torties chatty? Do you think torties talk more than cats of other colors?

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38 Comments on Tortie Talk: Are Tortoiseshell Cats More Talkative Than Other Cats?

  1. Cd
    October 16, 2020 at 8:39 am (7 days ago)

    Hey ingrid right my tortie”s name is galaxy she exactly found me and my family last November my sister didn’t even know wat kinda breed she was until I looked it up on Google but we did have a good feeling she was a girl we actually saved her from getting mauled by a dog. She is pretty chatty, she does hate being alone win she is in the house and she does like to hang out with my twin cats Cosmo and solar eclipse Cosmo doesn’t mind it so much playing with her but sol only plays with her when she wants to cuz she wants her privacy from both her and her twin bro cuz they annoy her both as for win galaxy hangs with me she loves to lay on top of me next to me u name it she even purrs loud she loves going out side and killing lizards and bugs and chasing squirrels she isn’t at all very vocal all she wants is to be around her siblings and her grandpa , aunt, and great-grandgrandmother b all an all she is a sweet an precious tortie in the end

  2. Michael Fumento
    November 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm (3 years ago)

    Frankly, sometimes it drives me to distraction. I had two previous cats, basically silent as I recall. This one especially drives me batty when I go near where the treats are kept. I’ve thought about no longer buying her treats but can’t bring myself to do it. She also eats like crazy but never gets fat. I call her my little poop machine. Bottom line is she can have plenty of food in her bowl (I actually have a contraption that allegedly slows down the eating process) but I can’t eat without her circling me like a shark. No, I don’t feed her from the table.

    I think it might be more fun if life were easier; but it’s not. And otherwise she is incredibly affectionate. But the constant chirping and crying does get on my nerves.

    • Ingrid
      November 19, 2017 at 6:16 am (3 years ago)

      Have you had her checked out by your vet recently, Michael? The fact that you’re saying she constantly demands food, is not gaining weight, combined with the constant vocalization, could be an indicator of a medical issue.

  3. Angela
    December 16, 2016 at 6:26 am (4 years ago)

    My beautiful Smokie, who died in January of this year at age 13, was definitely a chirper! Ask her a question, and she would chirp. Come home late for work? She would read you the riot act. My favorite, however, is when I would be getting her food ready, and she would sit there, “patiently”, constantly softly chirping, as if she was saying “Hurry up, Mom! I’m dying of starvation!”.

    If you looked up tortitude in the dictionary, her picture would be there. If she couldn’t wake up my mom, who woke up early to feed the cats, she would come and try to wake me up by pawing at my face or arms, or she would stick her face in mine. She was a master escape artist and would often find her in the breezeway, as if she did nothing wrong. If she wanted to cuddle, you better have nothing else planned. If you moved even slightly, she’ll get up and give you the cold shoulder. The other cats knew who ruled the roost!

    But she also knew when I was sick as she would stay by my side until I got better. One year I had bronchitis and she slept on top of me most nights while I was sick, like my own personal blanket.

    • Ingrid
      December 16, 2016 at 6:33 am (4 years ago)

      Smokie sounds like she was all tortie! Thank you for sharing her with us, Angela – I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. Ashyash90
    November 5, 2016 at 7:53 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve had my tortie a little over a year now. My mom adopted her and didn’t like her “chattiness” so as soon as I had an apartment I took her in because she’s beautiful and loving and I can’t bear to see her go back to a shelter. However, she is waaayyy more vocal than any cat I’ve had. She meows a lot and “talks back” when I talk to her which I think is adorable. And I’m fine with her meowing throughout the day. I give her tons of love and i love that she has a different sound for every interaction! Like I could make a Zelda dictionary if i had to, thats how much I’ve come to know her little sounds and squeeks! (Her name is Zelda btw). But she absolutely howls at night. I’ve tried encouraging her to come snuggle which usually if she does she will stop but some nights she refuses and just howls from the other room. Even if I try to get her to play at night and tire her out she still seems to cry at night, loudly. I’ve noticed it’s worse if it’s cold and dry so we’ve kept it warmer and run a humidifier but she still cries from tI’ve to time. Luckily my bf is a heavy sleeper and isn’t too bothered by her!! But sometimes between her crying and trying to open the closet at night, she’s a real pain! Vet says she’s thin but otherwise healthy so Idk what else to do! But I still love her and it’s starting to just feel like this is just who she is! Lol

  5. Moe
    September 19, 2016 at 10:57 pm (4 years ago)

    My Tortie- Snickers is extremely talkative!!! She meows when she wants attention, she meows when she is in a room by herself, she meows when you talk to her or touch her! She has a very demanding meow. There are times my husband and I find ourselves telling her to “shut up already”!!! She of course doesn’t listen!!!!! She will talk for 20 minutes even after you rub her belly, brusher, give her treats, etc.!!!! I have two other cats that can’t seem to get a meow in edgewise!!!!

    • Ingrid
      September 20, 2016 at 5:37 am (4 years ago)

      Snickers sounds like she’s got tortitude and then some, Moe!

  6. Travis
    October 20, 2015 at 7:11 pm (5 years ago)

    My girl Houdini, a tortie who’s an incredible escape artist, is incredibly quiet. 99% of the time, you can’t hear her meow, she’s so quiet. My best friend has a 15-16 year old tortie who’s equally quiet. But they’re both incredibly affectionate & my friend’s cat considers me her human, too.

  7. Rosanna
    August 19, 2015 at 10:13 pm (5 years ago)

    My tuxedo cat, Socks, is a meower of all different pitches. He meows for attention and food: (Especially between 4am and 7am). It’s really cute sometimes, but I’m hoping it ends when he’s older haha he’s going to be 2 or 2 1/2 next month.

  8. Erin
    August 13, 2015 at 10:07 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh jeez. I can’t even tell you how vocal my tortie is. Her name is Monkey. Sometimes, the dogs walks just a hair too close to her, and she squawks and complains with a high pitched, whiney meow. She cackles occasionally too. And oddly enough, in the middle of the night when I wake up and she needs to go out, she makes this weird cooing noise and is very affectionate. But this noise only happens at night. I moved recently, and have been getting her adapted to her new home before we let her outside. She SINGS in the evening because she is so nocturnal and used to being outside hunting all night. She is definitely the most vocal cat I have ever owned. But I love her 🙂

    • Ayleyaell
      August 15, 2015 at 12:05 pm (5 years ago)

      Our Bindi Bunnyfur, who is mostly Tortoiseshell (head, back, sides and legs, calico on chest, belly and 4 paws ) is not the most talkative cat I’ve ever had — I raised and showed Siamese as a teen. She’s quiet most of the time. However, when I sneeze or cough, Bindi chatters just like Ruby Tuesday in your video. She growls if the doorbell rings or a stranger visits our apartment complex. She also sits and waits patiently by her placemat when I prepare her food, while my other cat, Annabeth Abyssinian, is dancing about on her hind legs and meowing.

  9. Eli
    August 13, 2015 at 3:44 pm (5 years ago)

    My tortie is definitely not my most vocal cat. She has the sweetest most manipulative mew when she wants something but otherwise she is rather quiet. My most vocal and annoying cat has to be Mugi my black cat who hardly ever shuts up. We also had Maurice and his mother Tiffany who were quite vocal and Mia my precious tabby girl who also had a meow that she could get very loud if you ignored her for too long. Katy my fluffy princess even meowed more than our tortie girl Romy. Yeah, Romy only meows sweetly to manipulate us for treats. Irresistible meow my Romy girl has and uses wisely. Haha

  10. Lauren
    August 12, 2015 at 2:17 pm (5 years ago)

    Hey Ingrid! I hope you’re doing well! I loved this post and the vid! I played it and Rajah came out from wherever he had been napping and got all excited. I think he’s in love! LOL! He’s always had a fascination with cat videos. I remember I played a segment of the Today’s show with a clouded leopard cub on it and he was headbutting the screen like crazy, meowing and making all types of noises. LOL! Rajah can be talkative when he wants to. Usually after a play session or if he wants something like a treat when I’m cooking for myself. He’s most talkative in the morning. It’s like he’s saying, “Come on, Mama. The sun’s awake, so I’m awake, feed me!” LOL! Sometimes when I talk to him, he’ll meow back.

    • Ingrid
      August 12, 2015 at 2:27 pm (5 years ago)

      Aww, Ruby has a secret admirer! 🙂

      • Lauren
        August 12, 2015 at 11:38 pm (5 years ago)

        Hey Ingrid! Yup! It seems like she does. Smile! I had a question. How many times do you feed the girls? Once or twice a day? I feed Rajah once, but he’s always crying by nine or ten at night for more food. I just don’t want to overfeed him. The last time I took him to the vet, he was one pound over weight. Thanks!

          • Lauren
            August 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm (5 years ago)

            Hey Ingrid! What food do you recommend for Rajah? I’m on a fixed income right now. I confess, I do feed him dry food. It’s wellness grain free. A formula to help his weight. It’s low in carbs and high in protein. But what’s the best food to give him? Also, I thought wet food was junk food?

  11. Cleopawtra (Becca Cook)
    August 12, 2015 at 1:54 pm (5 years ago)

    My tuxedo kitty (16 years old) named Din ( noisy clamor, continued loud sound) hasn’t stopped talking since we found him. He was about 3-4 weeks old and we heard him meowing in the bushes. He and my husband have long conversations everyday. He lets you know what he wants or doesn’t want. He has an extensive vocabulary, and over the years we’ve learned just what he is saying to us. Our new kitty has two things he says, Feed ME and give me some lovin’. Cats are amazing creatures. I think they become in tuned to us and give us waht we need.

  12. Will Hodges
    August 12, 2015 at 12:43 pm (5 years ago)

    Ruby is a doll.

    Our Oscar (tabby/tuxedo/siamese mix) is a big talker. He even seems to “ask” questions, and responds like a little old man when he’s awakened suddenly. “What the heck do you want! I was sleeping!”

    Our Anya chatters much like Ruby, but only when she sees birds on the feeder. Oh, and she always announces when she’s bringing me a toy (gift) in the middle of the night (like last night at 4:15AM!) “Here dad, I forgot to give you this earlier! Sorry!”

    • Ingrid
      August 12, 2015 at 2:28 pm (5 years ago)

      Allegra does the “middle of the night gift announcement,” too, Will.

  13. Lilo Huhle-Poelzl
    August 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm (5 years ago)

    We adopted 2 tortoise kittens, in 2000. We named them Hyena and Hyaene (= German word for Hyena). They were, most likely, litter-mates. Hyena was not talkative. (She, unfortunately, died in 2007 of a heart problem.) Hyaene, however, is the most talkative cat we have ever had. (And we had up to 35 cats at a time. We are presently down to 24.)

    After I had brought Hyaene home from the local shelter, she jumped onto the back of the couch, talked 10 min non-stop and told me the story of her life. (Kids had brought her from the Indian Reserve when visiting relatives there, but the parents of the kids could not keep her, so she had landed in the shelter. [Hyena had the same story; except that we got her directly from the Native American family that could not keep her.]) Well, I must admit that, even though I speak some cat, I did not understand Hyaene but was told her story by a shelter employee.

    We still have Hyaene, and she talks 100 times as much as all our other cats combined. My husband says she talks too much. 🙂

    • Ingrid
      August 12, 2015 at 2:29 pm (5 years ago)

      Hyaene certainly supports my theory from the sounds of it, Lilo!

  14. DB
    August 12, 2015 at 10:38 am (5 years ago)

    My gray and white cat could definitely give a tortie a run for their money in the chatty catty biz. She’s always got something to say, especially first thing in the morning, when I get home from work (for a good 10 min at least) and a greeting anytime I enter the room she’s in. And occasionally at 4 in the morning.

  15. A.
    August 12, 2015 at 10:26 am (5 years ago)

    Our Natalia is a Siberian tortie. The breed is known to be chatty, so it is fair to say our girl comes by her extensive vocabulary honestly! She is an opinionated little thing too!

  16. Elizabeth
    August 12, 2015 at 9:31 am (5 years ago)

    My last tortie, Misha, was a big time talker. We’d carry on conversations. The one I have now, Lucy, isn’t nearly as much a talker though she does have the most precious squeak I’ve ever heard in my life. My tabby, Molly, though? I call her my blabby tabby because she constantly has things to say!

  17. Melissa, Mudpie, & Angel Truffles
    August 12, 2015 at 9:28 am (5 years ago)

    What a cute video! Truffles was a little chatterbox…she loved announcing whenever she was going someplace. She even yelled after using the litter box! (Purr-sonally, I think she was saying “clean it up NOW!”) Mudpie is quite chatty too…but her voice is completely different. Not loud, but scratchy and squeaky.

  18. Ellen Pilch
    August 12, 2015 at 9:24 am (5 years ago)

    Cute video 🙂 I agree that torties are chatty. My Penny is very vocal. SHe will follow my hubby around the kitchen like a little kid talking to her Dad.

  19. sivyaleah
    August 12, 2015 at 9:15 am (5 years ago)

    Great capture on video! I would never be able to reach for my phone quick enough in order to get that, without a cat jumping off my lap.

    Our Tortie is a big talker also. It’s such a contrast against our very silent tabby boy. Like you and others have mentioned, ours is vocal about everything and has specific sounds for different situations. She lets you know in no uncertain terms if she’s happy, wants to play, annoyed, stalking something, whatever.

    We love it!

    • Ingrid
      August 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm (5 years ago)

      Ruby is a bit of a ham, so being filmed doesn’t usually phase her. 😉

  20. MittensMom
    August 12, 2015 at 7:38 am (5 years ago)

    Awww. Adorable Ruby!

    My tortie is definitely a talker, and has been all her life. We can meow at one another for ages. When she is looking for me, she meows in such a tone that it sounds like she’s asking a question. Other times, she will walk around the house behind me, just meowing away. She also has this really adorable, “mom, there’s a moth in the house and I can’t reach it” sound. It’s also the “mom, I’m locked in the kitchen cabinet” noise (long story). 🙂

    The best moment was when I had a bunch of neighbors over for a gathering. She and I were sitting on the stair landing, there was a lull in the conversation and she let out the biggest, loudest, “MEOW!” We just burst out laughing.

    My little tabby is much quieter. She’s a squeaker, and she pretty much limits her squeaking to when she wants something like food, or when she chatters with the cardinals in the tree outside. hehe Love them. 🙂

  21. Michelle Stewart
    August 12, 2015 at 6:49 am (5 years ago)

    I played this video down on the floor for my Louise to watch, she perked right up and watched! I have a calico/torbie that has grown more vocal as she has aged, especially at 5 am….. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Claire
    August 12, 2015 at 6:36 am (5 years ago)

    I couldn’t believe how talkative Resi was when I first brought her home. She had an opinion on everything. Initially I thought it was because she was in a strange place, but she still sings to me months later, so evidently that wasn’t it. Compared to the tuxedo, who is my only point of comparison, she is a proper diva! Like Ruby and Allegra she has a vastly varied repertoire ranging from chattering to burbling to singing at whatever volume takes her fancy. (Hearing Ruby, by the by, occasioned no end of alarmed mewing; she was convinced I had brought home an intruder!)

    • Ingrid
      August 12, 2015 at 2:33 pm (5 years ago)

      Oh dear, perhaps I should have posted a caution notice about the video possibly upsetting other kitties, Claire!

  23. Summer
    August 12, 2015 at 4:50 am (5 years ago)

    My human says that Binga has always been pretty talkative, but even moreso now that she’s older (she turns 15 this month). She is more talkative that Boodie, who’s a pointed cat (they tend to be talkative too!), and WAY more talkative than me – my breed tends to be a little on the quiet side.

  24. Jen E
    August 12, 2015 at 1:44 am (5 years ago)

    We took in a stray torbie recently and oh my gosh she is loud. Even after we had her spayed she is still going. She is under a year though. The way how you describe Buckley is how she sounds. My other cat gets annoyed with her but not a dull moment that is for sure!


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