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13 Fun Facts about Tortoiseshell Cats
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13 Fun Facts about Tortoiseshell Cats

Does your Tortoiseshell cats have "tortitude" or 'catitude'? It's more common than you might think!

Sometimes known as the 'divas' of the feline world, our loveable 'Torties' have a reputation for being sassy, vocal, and are often a little aloof and independent. But, they are also very loyal, loveable kitties, and we wouldn't change them for the world!

Beautiful, and fascinating; here are 13 fun facts about tortoiseshell cats.

dark tortoiseshell cat

13 Fun Facts about Tortoiseshell Cats

  1. They are called tortoiseshell because of their very distinct multi-colour fur, which normally consists of a mixture of black, red, brown and orange fur. Sometimes their colouring is less intense due to their genetics, but they can also be more of a chocolate colour which means they have darker fur.
  2. Torties are not a specific breed but they can be found in a variety of other different breeds, including British Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Ragamuffin, American Shorthair,  Persian and Maine Coons.
  3. Both purebred cats and mixed breed cats can produce a tortoiseshell coat that's either shorthaired or long-haired.
  4. And it doesn't end there! Their coats can be brindled or patched;  if the colours in their coat appear to be woven together, it's brindled, but if colours appear in large sections all over the body, then it's patched.  Tortoiseshell cats with a tabby pattern are often called 'torbies'.
  5. The most common Tortie has a random mix of colours - known as 'mosaic'.
  6. But, if you have a tortoiseshell cat that has one colour on one side and a different colour on the other side - they are known as 'Chimera'. This can be on the cat's head, but also on the whole body.
  7. Cats that have three colours (black, orange and white) are called Calico cats in the USA and Canada.
  8. If you are lucky enough to have a tortoiseshell cat, it's most likely to be a female, and that's all down to the chromosomes! The female sex chromosome (X) carries the gene for orange or black coat colours.  If they carry two X chromosomes, females can have both orange and black colouring in their fur.  
  9. Male tortoiseshell cats have an extra X chromosome (XXY) so they are very rare and also usually sterile. Every 1:3000 cats is a male tortoiseshell!
  10. Torties have an endless amount of energy and can sometimes appear as being headstrong;  this makes it important that you set aside plenty of playtime together, their upbringing and time that you spend together will have an impact on their personality, and your bond.
  11. Many people consider Tortoiseshell kittens to bring good fortune.
  12. There have been some famous torties too!:

    - Cattarina was a muse of Edgar Allan Poe
    - The resident cat at the Astor Theatre was called Marzipan and she lived to the age of 21
    - Tama was station master for Kishi Station on the Kishigawa line in Kinokawa, Japan, her job was to meet passengers and she was paid in cat food!
    - Cleo and Sarah were President Regan's tortoiseshell cats
    - The official cat of Maryland is a calico cat!
  13. There are a few legends and stories around the world that surround tortoiseshell cats:
  • In the US they are referred to as 'money cats'
  • In Ireland and Scotland, they are thought to bring good fortune to their owners
  • According to a Turkish myth, tortoiseshell cats were created by a wizard using smoke
  • In Japan they are thought to protect ships from ghosts, bad storms and shipwreck
  • In Cambodia, Khmers thought they came from the blood of a young goddess (perhaps Nang Kwak) born of a lotus flower
  • The ancient Celts thought that If a male tortoiseshell cat stayed in a home it was considered a good omen
  • According to English folklore, rubbing a wart on the tail of a male tortoiseshell cat will cure the wart, but only in May!
  • One legend states that all current tortoiseshell cats are descendants of a black cat that hosted the sun while it walked on the earth. As the sun had to leave the body of the cat suddenly, it left behind some of its golden rays in the cat's fur.
  • If you are lucky enough for a tortoiseshell cat to appear in your dream then you will enjoy good fortune in love.

So, if you're looking for a cat with a big personality, this female-dominated cat tribe will deliver!

They will keep you on your toes, at the same time as giving you loyalty that some cats don't.  Like any other cat, the tortie relies on humans to provide all the necessary home comforts, cosy beds, food and drink, hiding places, scratch posts and a little help to stay serene and calm with FELIWAY Optimum.

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