Last updated August 2019
In August of 2009, I wrote a post titled Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. The post describes some of the unique traits that many of these beautifully colored cats seem to share: they tend to be strong-willed, a bit hot-tempered, and they can be very possessive of their human. Other words used to describe torties are fiercely independent, feisty and unpredictable. They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr.
The post still gets hundreds of views every single day, and has generated more than 14,000 comments to date. It has become more than just a source of information for cat lovers looking for more about cats with these distinct orange, tan and black colors: it has become a place for people to share stories about the torties in their lives.
As someone who has been owned by four torties at this point, not counting my first office cat at the animal hospital I managed, I feel that I’m somewhat of an expert on these special cats. And while Virginia, Amber, Buckley, Allegra and Ruby all had or have some degree of tortitude, their personalities were and are also very different. This appears to be true for the torties whose guardians have commented here on the site as well.
What is a tortoiseshell cat?
Contrary to what some people think, tortoiseshell cats are not a breed. They are named for their distinctive coloring – a combination of patches of black, brown, amber, red, cinnamon and chocolate. The size of the patches can range from a speckled pattern to large splotches of color. Tortoiseshell cats have have very few or no white markings, as opposed to calicos, who are tri-colored cats with larger areas of white fur. Sometimes, the colors are more muted. These torties are known as dilute torties. Very dark torties with a lot of black in their fur are often affectionately called “chocolate torties.” Occasionally, the typical tortoiseshell colors are also seen in a tabby (striped) pattern; these cats are referred to as “torbies.” Tortoiseshell is not a breed, the distinct markings appear in many different breeds.
The unique genetics of tortoiseshell cats
In addition to their unique personalities, torties also have unique genetics. A cat’s main color is determined by a primary coat color gene. The tortoiseshell pattern is determined by two co-dominant genes, in other words, two genes that are expressed at the same time and affect each other. In a bi-colored tortie, these two genes comingle to produce the characteristic brindled tortoiseshell pattern. In dilute torties, these genes are modified by a recessive gene, which results in softer coat colors. Black becomes grey, orange becomes cream.
The vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female, because two X chromosomes are required to produce black, gold and orange coloring. Male cats only have one X and one Y chromosome, so technically it’s genetically almost impossible for a male to inherit the tortoiseshell coloring. A male tortoiseshell has an extra X chromosome, making it an XXY. According to a study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, only 1 in 3000 tortoiseshell cats is male.
A tortoiseshell cat may have a distinct tabby pattern on one of its colors. This pattern is driven by yet another gene. Tabby cats, also referred to as tiger cats, are cats with a coat featuring a pattern of distinctive stripes, lines, dots or swirling patterns. These cats are known as torbies, and, like all tortoiseshell cats, are predominantly female.
Tortoiseshell Cat Folklore
Tortoiseshell cats have a mythical folklore in many cultures, much of it centered around the rare male tortoiseshell. The Celts considered it a good omen if a male tortoiseshell stayed in their home. English folklore has it that warts could be healed if rubbed by the tail of a male tortoiseshell’s tail during the month of May. Japanese fishermen believed that male tortoiseshells protected their ships from storms and ghosts. A Khmer legend in South East Asia has it that the first tortoiseshell arose from the menstrual blood of a goddess born of a lotus flower.
Torties are thought to bring good luck in many cultures. They are sometimes referred to as the money cat.
Tortoiseshell cats were believed to have psychic abilities and see into the future. It is said that those who dream of a tortoiseshell cat will be lucky in love.
Are tortoiseshell cats really different from other cats?
Speaking from personal experience, it appears that no two tortoiseshell cats display the exact same amount of tortitude. Virginia had definitely read the book on tortitude. The first time I met her, during my interview for the hospital manager position, she greeted me by walking over to me, looking up at me, and then digging her claws into my legs to use them as a scratching post. Amber was the “anti-tortie” – she was a gentle, calm, almost shy cat, but she was a bit headstrong. Buckley’s tortitude manifested in her exuberance. She loved everything and everybody. Allegra is highly sensitive to the world around her, and often quick to react to something that she perceives as a threat. Ruby is the most high-spirited cat I’ve ever had. Of all my cats, she is the one with the highest dose of tortitude.
The experts weigh in on tortitude
I decided to check with some other experts to get their thoughts on tortitude. “I often tell clients that torties are the redheads of the cat world,” says feline veterinarian Dr. Fern Slack, who owns Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center in Boulder, CO. “They are beautiful, but short-tempered and quick to wrath. Of course they are not all like that, any more than every redhead is – but I always approach a tortie with a tad more circumspection than any other coat color.” While Dr. Slack takes a cautious approach to her tortie patients, she adds “I’ve always thought that the price you pay in tortitude, you get back tenfold in love.”
“There is no evidence that there is a link between color gene and personality,” says Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, a former president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and owner of two cat hospitals, Chico Hospital for Cats in Chico, CA and the Cat Hospital of Portland in Portland, OR. “It is true though, that almost all tortoiseshell cats are females, and some people perceive females as being more headstrong than male cats. However, the real determination of personality is naturally a combination of genetics and environment.”
Jackson Galaxy has worked with his share of tortoiseshell cats in his decades of helping cats with behavioral challenges. “In my experience, tortitude is a very real thing,” says Jackson. “And now that there is a a study correlating coat pattern with behavior, our characterizations have been validated. Of course, anyone who knows me, knows I try not to talk about cats in generalities.” Jackson feels that torties and calicos are more energetically sensitive. “I think that’s part of the reason why their personalities are always on full display,” he says. “I’ve always said that cats are energetic sponges. Torties, however, just seem to soak up more, which is why they’ve got so much to say.”
Tortoiseshell cats are special
Those of us who love torties embrace their unique personalities. It is important to remember that every cat, regardless of coat color, is an individual. Not every tortie will exhibit the traits attributed to these beautifully colored cats, but the majority seem to live up to their reputation. As far as I’m concerned, tortitude is real. And while torties may, at times, seem like they have split personalities, going from purring away in your lap to suddenly racing around the house like a crazy kitten, those of us who love them wouldn’t want them any other way.
As everyone knows , I had a Tortie named Stirfry. She ws a Tortie and if anyone knows cats, that meant she had a personality that was not to be messed with. Stir’s was to the extreme – a hair trigger and no cat dared to cross her. Thru a cat blog I found others with Torties and a tiny few had Tortitude that matched Stirfry’s. Bernie had Steeler in Pittsburgh, Glen had Kasey in Ontario Canada and Harry had Brooke near Falls Church VA. All these cats played hard and loved harder. Loyalty was one or their traits. They took their family seriously and would protect you with teeth and claws. The Tasmanian Devil was a kitten compared to them. Steeler , then Kasey and then Stirfry crossed the Bridge. Sadly Brooke crossed today. These cats could have never been together in life. But now all 4 are together and waiting for us. When you hear thunder you will know that Brooke was welcomed with open Paws ( claws sheathed )
Chloe is my 12 year old tortie. I’ve had her since she was a month old. I think that’s where a lot of her tortitude comes from. She’s very social and thinks she should rule the house lol. That does work with my 7 year old tabby, they butt heads all the time. Chloe loves attention on her terms and she loves lap time with me. No one is allowed to touch her back near her tail, pick her up, or touch her tummy. If you put her in the cat carrier to go to the vet, you can head her from a mile away. (Yes she is that loud) I love her
I have added a torti to my kitty clan.I have 2 tabbies and a calico…Torti was part of a group of outside cats I’d fed .I always felt she had belonged to someone and was dumped by the previous owner. She’s extremely talkative and affectionate but also very possessive of my husband and I. Finally calming down from that issue but we love her dearly. …All cats are beautiful in my eyes..I’ve adored them since childhood.
“I had Rosie for about 2 years til she let me pet her”
That is like Freyja, who is now 3 years old. We adopted her at about 8 weeks of age but believe she came from feral stock.
She looks to have some Maine Coon background, large and weighing 14 1/2 pounds (not fat, just big).
She is actually a very tame and gentle cat and wants to be around us all the time. If I go out, she will often wait and fuss at the door until I come back in. She will sit with me in a recliner, draped across my ankles. She is long haired and I have just got where she will let me brush her, a bit.
I have also got to a point whee I can pet her, a bit, but she does not like being picked up.
I have 2 chocolate torties named Rosie and Lil. .we call Lil One Paw because she is always doing something with her one paw most likely just holding it up..reaching out to touch me. Both are aloof and chatty and I had Rosie for about 2 years til she let me pet her..now she allows my boyfriend and mom to pet her and Noone else. They are very vocal talking to me through the window even..and when One Paw wakes up from a nice deep nap she talks up a storm. I also have 5 other cats so I can definitely notice a difference in demeanors.
Hello. Just wanted to share info about my torties! My first tortie I got when I was 16. She definitely had tortietude! Her name was Wednesday, like Wednesday Adams. She lived in my room and every morning she would jump on my face to wake me up. She loved me more than anyone and one time but my sister and drew blood when we got in a fight. She was awesome! My current little tortie is named Jade and she is definitely high maintenance. She gets extremely jealous of my other cat and demands to be the center of attention. She follows me EVERYWHERE and cries at the window when I leave. She even sits on my lap when I’m on the toilet! And she is a purr machine! I just have to look at her or say her name for her tail to shoot up and her purr box to start up. Love this girl!
“High maintenance” is a great description for torties with tortitude! Love it!
Indeed unique and wonderful. Yes, thanks for sharing your precious Siren.
We also had a Tortoiseshell cat. Her name is Tabitha Ann. She is a force to be recon with that is for catgone sure.
She claim my wife and daughter as her own favorite personals, (as for me)…I’m more of her personal servant, but it’s okay…we get along best doing it her way.
“we get along best doing it her way” – that should probably be the tortie theme song!
I had 2 Torti cats one was way more Torti than the other. Here is a little story I wrote about my cat Siren. She is gone now and I still miss her everyday.
For those of you who do not know my cat, well she is a little different shall we say. Ok total Torti is closer to reality. People are afraid of her. Most people will make a wide birth around her for fear she is going to attack. She has trapped my roommate in the bathroom. In his bedroom and even stopped him from going into the kitchen, but she likes me for the most part. So it is all good.
Day starts off 8:05am I open my eyes and there is Siren staring me down. It is way past treat time and I have slept in. Big mistake. So in an effort to get that look out of her eyes, I reach out to pet her right behind her ear where she loves it. Not a good idea, Tortitide is strong today. Cat is now really ticked and she hisses and scratches at me. I got out of bed. Started towards the kitchen and she is howling at me to speed up. When I get to the kitchen, I smell that wonderful morning smell, cooofffeeee. I walk past the treat cupboard and head for the pot, ahhh Siren has figured out what I am doing and having none of it. Her paw comes out at my wrist so fast I drop my cup in the sink. So off to the treat cupboard I go. Her day did not start well, I will give her that.
Now you would think kitty would be all happy now. I not only gave her treats but a little wet food to help calm her down in her anger. No, not Siren. She inhales her food and comes at me again. This time she wants to play fetch, oh why oh why oh why did I teach this cat to fetch. After 50 or so runs down the hallway she is finally ready to call it quits and my arm feels like spaghetti, but there was no way I could not throw the dang mouse, she will bite at me tell I do.
So now it is about 9am and she is on the couch sleeping. 10:20pm It happens, a fly lands on her nose. Have you ever seen on cartoons where a cat claws themselves to a ceiling, well I got to see it right in front of me today. All I hear is this howl out of her and in a matter of a second she is stuck to the ceiling. Might be time to cut the claws was my first thought. So I go and pry her off the ceiling, poor cat is still shaking and I am laughing so hard. Not good, it is like she knew I was laughing at her and out comes the paw right to my face, but I pull back and she misses hahahaha.
Now the fly is on the TV calmly watching Siren still twitch from her shock, and I am sure laughing as hard as I was. Siren jumps out of my arms right at the TV. Of course, fly was gone. So for 20 mins I got to watch this cat go nuts trying to catch this fly. Somehow she eventually makes contact. Fly drops to the floor. Now Siren in all her wisdom is staring at this black thing on the floor, then looks back at me, back to the fly and back to me. Very carefully she reaches out and touches the fly with her paw, it moved she ran to the edge of the livingroom and stared at it as if it were going to attack her back. She gets into full on pounce mode, like cats do. The fly, that can now no longer fly, starts walking towards her. Siren backs further away, fly is making the distance shorter, now Siren’s fur is all on end, her tail is all poofed out and she hisses at the fly. The fly will not back down, Siren hisses again, the fly makes a move closer. Siren try’s one more hiss, this seems to work on the humans around her, but the fly just keeps coming.
Siren who has scared many people in her time takes one last look at the fly and turns tail and boots it down the hall and under the bed. I didn’t have the heart to laugh at her directly, or maybe the guts to laugh at her, she knows where I sleep. Poor thing was under that bed for about 2 hours. No amount of calling her or shaking her treats was gonna get her to come out of there.
So in the end for those of you who have had a torti encounter with the psycho Siren, remember she scared you, but she lost a battle of nerves to a fly.
Thank you for sharing Siren with us, Tina!
I loved your story about Siren immensely! I recently adopted a tortie and am getting used to her “tortitude”. I’ve had to rethink my cat mommy’s approach to her versus how I behaved with my last cat Max, who was a grey domestic shorthair and a real lover. My tortie Cleo loves me just as much but on her own time schedule.
Can anyone comment on a particular behavior of Cleos that has me stumped? Everytime I use the toilet, she comes rushing in very close to my legs & puts her butt in the air until I pet her?! If I don’t pet her she’ll stay there until I’m done. Any thoughts?
My 12 yr old red torbie Honey has a thing about the shower, I find her waiting on my bathmat every time I finish, without fail, no idea why though.
I am a proud employee of a tortie kitty named Cleo! I adopted her after her siblings and Mom were found outside by a wood pile, so she was feral when I adopted her. With a ton of patience she has morphed into an energetic, well rounded and loving kitty! ( but still has tortitude!). I had to teach her to not bury her food for later and taught her how to take treats from my fingers. She still swats at me on occasion but that’s pretty normal I think. She’s a joy to watch when she plays, running from room to room on a wild streak, and when I Facetime with my 2 and 1/2 yr old granddaughter she always asks to see Cleo!
“I’m a proud employee of a tortie” – I love that, Dee!
my torti is now 11yrs old and will not lap sit and prefers head rubbed of under chin. I have 2 feral outside torties 1 is going on 16 and not touchable..all have been TNR and are happy..take your kitty to a vet for a check up and she Will come to you on her terms..be patient ..
my torti is now 11yrs old and will not lap sit and prefers head rubbed of under chin. I have 2 feral outside torties 1 is going on 16 and not touchable..all have been TNR and are happy..take your kitty to a vet for a check up and she Wii come to you on her terms..be patient ..
We had a Torte cat show up at our house. She looks rough. She has been here about a week and is very shy. One evening she came up to me and was very loving. Today she only wanted her head petted. I would love to give her a bath. She looks like she may have been either abused or just totally on her own. My other two average cats hiss at her and reject her. She is eating well, and will “talk” to me from a distance. Any suggestions for how to handle her? She is very small. Very thin. Some say her face looks like a wolf.
I would take her to your vet to get her checked out, Kathy. She’s probably just malnourished, but it’s always a good idea to rule out any medical issues. You may also want to consider giving her a safe space away from your other two cats, and then gradually and slowly introduce her. Having the other two hiss at her is probably not going to help her get over her shyness, and is making for a stressful situation for all three cats.
We brought Freyja home when she was about 8 weeks old.
Gigi is our older cat, she is a 17 pound, longhair tortie with white. Gigi is pretty gentle and laid back, the epitome of a tame, pet cat; I refer to her as the Empress Of Th House.
When she saw Freyja, she started hissing at her and this continued for about 3 weeks. I think she saw that Freyja was an energetic little thing and did not want to be bothered with her antics.
The difference from your post is that Gigi did not actually try to grab her, so I can understand your concern.
After about 3 weeks, Gigi started to settle down over time and now they are companions.
Perhaps more time will take care of your situation.
I haven’t been on here for a while, so I thought I’d post something.
I had an experience a few days ago, where Freyja awakened some sort of primal fear in me.
Freyja, our youngest of two torties is now 3 years old. Gigi is our other tortie, the “Empress of the House”.
Freyja has grown quite large, not over weight. She is 14.7 pounds, with long legs, tail and body. It almost looks like she has some Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat lineage, due to the size, long hair and long, busy tail.
She has a small orange marking on her face, which is otherwise quite dark; this along with piercing eyes gives her a formidable appearance, cause one vet to say “she looks like a wild animal”. However, she is a gentle giant.
I was at my computer, sitting quietly and Freyja thought she should see what I was doing.
I did not see her and suddenly she stood on her hind legs and put her front paws on the arm of the chair.
It surprised me and I turned a bit to look and was looking directly, close up, at a wild looking face with fierce looking eyes. This gave me start for a few milliseconds.
After the initial startling, I found the whole thing kind of amusing.
I imagine if that had been Kasey, you would have felt more than a little “primal fear”. Freyja doesn’t have that killer instinct that she did. Size didn’t matter to her. There is a reason Bigfoot has not been found in your area
Kasey was very formidable, to put it mildly.
Freyja has been house raised from about 8 weeks of age and fortunately did not have the rough start Kasey did.
Freyja, when play fighting with Timmy does show an instinctive cunning in her moves and tactics that way outclass our little orange guy.
This just came naturally to her and she is very good at it; probably just as well she does not have the killer instinct, with her size and moves, she would be quite something to deal with.
I owned a tortie, or should I say she owned me, for 14 years. We found her in a parking lot at 3 months old and decided to keep her. I knew nothing about torties at the time. She was the boss over my other 3 cats, but boy was she ever a sweetie to the humans. She would come running when you called, just like a dog. She was always in my lap and very loving. She hated the vet and would hiss at them. Unfortunately, after 14 years she got lymphoma and we had to let her cross the rainbow bridge. I know I will get another tortie, I hope soon! They are awesome cats, with HUGE personalities.
I think “boss” is just another word for tortie, Lois 🙂 Your girl sounds like she was very special.
Hi, we have a 3.5 year old tortie that we’ve had since she was about 4 months old. We rescued her from a shelter where there were tons of other kittens around her. She has been the only animal in our house since her got her. She is 110% a tortitude type of girl and never lets us forget that she’s in charge lol. She doesn’t like to cuddle or anything like that but likes to be near us and follow us around the house.
My husband and I both work full-time jobs and we’ve noticed our tortie might be a little lonely all day when were gone. We love her and wanted to get her a friend so we adopted a black male kitten who is 11 weeks old and OMG, it is a war at our house.
We’ve been slowly introducing, as I’ve read in articles, but our tortie adult cat will not stop chasing and stalking the new kitten. Once she gets a hold of him, she will wrap her body around him and bite him and we have to separate them every time.
It’s been going on like this for a week which I know isn’t a ton of time, but I need some advice on whether our tortie will ever adjust to this or if I just created a whole issue in her life and endangered this new kitten. I really don’t want to have to take him back, because he’s such a sweetie, but I don’t want the kitten to get hurt.
If anyone has any advice, I would appreciate it!
Hello , I have a very sassy tortie named lily mae . She is 2 years old now 🙂 ..she definitely has the attitude and possessiveness over the household. I have had her since was roughly 4 weeks old. Very young that’s for sure ..the only one she let’s love on her is me she merely just put up with everybody else in the household lol..
I have a tortie cat that was abandoned because she could not get along with other cats and i must say she is very possessive of me when another cat comes to my back door looking for food she has a meltdown but she is sweet I will be on the couch watching TV and she will jump up onto the couch and start purring away. She has a habit of jumping on my bed 2:00 am in the morning purring in my face demanding to be petted and always is licking my face, but I love her she is a good girl that is loyal to me
My Tortie is sort of small, but seems to be almost full grown, judging from her teeth. She was a stray who came to a relative’s house. They called to see if she was mine. I went to investigate, and she came home with me with mud, matted fur and very thin. She got a bath first thing. I took her to the vet for shots and to get her mats shaved. That was about a month ago.
I am pleased to report that her fur is shining, she has filled out, and has made our home her happy place. She is now obsessed with the red dot laser….lol. She definitely has that Tortitude, and we love her very much. Our tonkinese doesn’t love her, but is adjusting.
We adopted out Torti 6 months ago.She’d been living as an outside cat for 2 years (was abandoned ) and I’m the Cat Lady of the neighborhood who cares(feeds, spays, neuters) these poor creatures.We finally added our Torti to the family(3 cats-red Tabby, Gray tabby and Calico) Our Torti is sweet and docile and yes, possessive of US..but she doesn’t enjoy sharing us with others so we have to put her in a separate room so she won’t get “attitude” with the other kitties.(sometimes) She just survived being bitten by a poisonous snake . Her tortitude ,meds and our love kept her alive.She’s doing great and eats like a little piglet!!! Tortitude is the perfect name for Torti’s!!!
I got my tortoise shell as a kitten. She’s now 2 years old and still under the impression that I’m only here to wait on her! She’s very laid back but she runs like heck when my great grandson comes. She’s very smart and lets me know she wants to be brushed by hopping on the arm of my chair and when she’s had enough she just jumps off.
My Torti Mona found me. Jumped in my lap sweet as pie. All a trick to get inside. Lol. Once in she rules the house. Small, but mighty. I’ve brought in 3 males since finding her all much larger than her. She has put each one in their place. Smartest, weirdest, meanest, sweetest (on her terms) little kitty I’ve ever seen. She definitely has a Tortitude.
I adopted a tortie and she’s an absolute sweetheart, I’ve never heard her growl or hiss. I guess the only “tortitude” she has is stubbornness, she still insists on walking across my keyboard, getting up on the counter, etc. I love her so much.
My Missy cat (tortie) has spent the day being mean. She tried to attack me for no apparent reason. I corrected her and now she hisses at me when I come near. Help, what can I do? She is the same Missy that I wrote about earlier. She was partly feral when I got her. My post was on February 24.
This sounds like possibly redirected aggression. Here’s more information: https://ingridking.com/2012/03/12/redirected-aggression-when-good-cats-attack/
My torti is 11yrs old and when she has an off day I get the DASNCER out and she forgets what she was mad about and loves her DANCER,,I think the key is distraction as it works every time
I agree totally, the feather dancer/bouncer wand is Honey’s favorite toy. It is the only one that can change her mood, but I hesitate to use it when she is in her mean feral reversion mode for fear of rewarding her bad behavior. I am now in day 2 of withholding interaction stemming from a particularly bad episode of hissy fit meanness.
Dar, when you said your cat tried to attack you for no reason, that sounded familiar to me. I’ve had my tortie for years, and it took a while to figure out the main reason she attacks me is out of jealousy. At first I noticed when she’d be sitting calmly in my lap or near me and I would start talking on the phone she would attack me. Also if all is calm and my husband and I start talking, and sometimes if I have company and am talking to them.I’ve learned to be much more alert when doing these things, rubbing her while I talk, even at times going out of the room to make a phone call! Anyone else experienced this?
YES, All of the time! My torby cat Dixie, she always hisses at me or strikes at me if I do anything that shows attention to another living thing, especially another female, or I am on the phone.
My man and I adopted a 5-month old tortie a few months ago and we are absolutely in love with her fierce, sensitive, hilarious, beautiful little spirit. We named her “Latte” because I love lattes and she looks like the coffee and milt froth. Haha! =D She definitely has her “tortitide” and can be super active, claw, gets jealous if I’m on my phone or computer, cuddles a ton (which I just adore in her), but is just the best! I wouldn’t trade her for the world. Never knew we could love a cat so much. To be honest…we didn’t even know anything about torties until we looked it up. My little Latte is a mommas girl for sure!
Latte is such a great name for a tortie!
I’m not very educated on cat breeds. So for my wife’s 29th birthday I promised I’d get her a cat or a kitten, whatever she wanted. So I’m feeling good, my basketball team had just won it’s 1st championship under me, I tell my wife “get whatever one you want, baby!” We stop at the Humane Society with the hopes of finding a cute baby kitten. So we’re looking and looking, BOOM! We see a dark colored cat, poor thing stuffed in a little kennel. My wife does her cute “sad” face and goes awww “Lila? I want to see her.” So they lead us to a room and Lila comes in, I was baffled looking at her, like “omg does this poor cat eat?” She was so skinny and long! Looked like Slinky Dog from “Toy Story” with fur and unique coloring. I’m very standoffish at this point like “my wife wants this cat, not me. But cute!” She’s just rubbing her face on anything hard in the room, chair, tables, my leg, my wife’s leg. I’m thinking “aw she’s lovable!” Few weeks later I get out of work, we have a new friend in the house. Lila! First thing I noticed was after she stopped shaking and adapting to her new surroundings was her personality, she could be hot and cold. Ha! Few weeks went by, i had a bad night at work and it’s so weird it’s like she could sense I was not in a happy mood, all of a sudden..*cat roar* I feel claws and teeth digging into my hamstring! HA! I grabbed her, threw her off and I was like WTF just happened? Calmed her down, told my wife “if this happens again, she’s history!” But..as time went on, I knew like any other animal you have to give them their space, show them affection but don’t smother them with it. Over time though she’s become my little furry best friend. I have about 1,000 different names for her. One night I was watching film and a former basketball player named Jon Koncak’s name came over the TV and my kitty was spazzing around the house and trilling A LOT! I go “Jesus, you sound like a coon cat! Raccoon like!” So I turned and pointed and said “KONCAK!” HAHAAHA! To this day, all of my friends even family members call her Koncak hahahaha! I will say this though, I fell in love with her on the day I found out a family member whom I’m close with had cancer, I covered my face crying and I was alone and I heard a trill, uncover my face and she’s right there, rubbing her face onto my hands and face. She has NEVER done that! Only time ever. But..I love my little fuzz ball! She’ll be 4 in September, I’m very grateful for this cat coming into my life. Many years ahead of us! She went from somewhat feral to a loving house cat. 🙂 I’ have 1,000 more stories but I don’t want to sound too crazy but I’m proud to say I’m the crazy cat man. 🙂
What a special little girl! And full of tortitude from the sounds of it 🙂
I’ve had my tortie since she was 6 weeks old, and 6 years later she is still the character and trouble on four feet. I have 4 cats, and she’s about half their size but she definitely rules the roost. Even my former feral cat who outweighs her literally twice over doesn’t mess with her too much. She’s very Jekyll and Hyde as others have said. One minute she’s rolling around purring and the next you’ve got scratches all over you. But we just love her to pieces–what a character!
Hi. First time poster. Adopted a tortoise kitten (6 months old) in November 2018. Have had a pet since high school. My moms kept 3 cats locked in a room, which I HATED! Seemed so cruel.
Back to my cat, I let your room in the apartment, but she randomly will scratch rugs, chairs, curtains… or go to scratching post. No rhythm or reason. Will sometimes play with toys.
She is spayed. Do I need to keep her entertained more to stop her scratching furniture. Sprays and pheromones are not working. Thanks
It does sound like your kitty is bored, Kristi. I would increase playtime. Try structured play session, two or three times a day, 10 to 15 minutes each. Use interactive wand toys, really get her tired out. For the scratching behavior, this article has some suggestions: https://ingridking.com/2013/03/04/how-to-stop-your-cat-from-scratching-your-furniture-and-carpets/
I have a 5 year old tortie. I got Missy when she was 4 months old. Missy was not introduced to people so when I got her, she was a terrified little kitten. My vet told me that Missy was part feral and very much a tortie. Missy sure does have tortitude. She can be so sweet but the next minute she is unpredictable. If I pick her up she gets angry, she must come on her own terms. I love her so very much and would not trade her for the world.
Yes Tortitude is definitely real. I have 3 torties and all 3 have completely different personalities. Cali our oldest (11) is sweet, and fearless, Sassy (10) is a super sweet loving cat gets along with everyone including the dog, Torti (almost 2) well she has not only read the book but has added her own chapter on how to exhibit the famous Totitude. She can be sweet one minute and attacking you the next. She steals the dishrags, the strainer, and anything else from the sink. She hides them along with magnets from the fridge and socks under the fish aquarium. Oh the joys of the tortitude.
We were taking two of our 6 cats to the vet for their annual checkups, and the vet tech was holding this 5-week old tortie in her lap. She looked at us and said, “You guys need another cat,” and the rest is history. NIne years later, Spitfire causes more trouble than all the other cats combined. She loves to rip paper to shreds, chew pieces of my burrow’s tail cactus, leaving the little leaves all over like cookie crumbs. I can’t have any silk flower arrangements in the house, as they get totally destroyed, piece by piece. Unlike the other cats, who gratefully lap up any and all human attention, “Spitz” makes her displeasure known immediately. If she’s comfortable on a chair, you don’t dare move her… she hisses and snarls, and out come the claws. She doesn’t get along with any of the other cats (although, she tends to curl around my two dogs). But just like Jekyll and Hyde, she has her good side. When my husband towels off after a shower, she’s right there, waiting for him to “rub her down” with the wet towel. She absolutely shrieks with joy. When she wants to hop up on the counter to get to her food bowl, she will first come find you, meow slightly, and beckon you to follow, so that once she jumps up and starts eating, you can scratch her back. And when we all watch TV, she will go to the middle recliner, and no matter who is sitting there, she will curl up on their ankles. But only the middle chair, as it’s the one with the best viewing angle. Just don’t try to move your legs once she’s there. My poor husband, who really didn’t want another cat to begin with, is now her biggest fan. He alone can pick her up in his arms, and she’ll dangle her right paw out in front, and squeeze her eyes half-closed, purring. She can drive us both nuts, but we adore her.
Spitfire is such a great name for a tortie!
My tortie (or torbie) is same. Once she is comfortable wherever she is sitting if you dare move or even worse, move her, she attacks. And she holds a grudge too and will get back at you another time if she misses the opportunity. She smart enough too to know which area of your body is unprotected by clothing and goes for that. Def a one person cat and did not like to share the attention with other cat. Very jealous and possessive. She gets into everything too. One time she somehow managed to remove the screwed on caps from the spice has and smelled like garlic and cumin for days. I also left the front door open once but with a latched security gate and somehow she was able to reach her paw underneath the small opening at bottom of gate and pin a bird that was outside and drag it back in under the gate. I still have no idea how she was able to do that. Poor bird-so basically she has to be supervised Ike a toddler but she is a very loyal, devoted and loving kitty when not using her tortitude
I had a beautiful tortie named Guinness, because she looked like a pint of Guinness with nice patches of black, red, and white in her face. She was a one man cat, who hated everyone else, but totally loved me. Unfortunately, she developed cancer in her palatte. After a year and losing half of her weight, I had to make the difficult decision to end her life to avoid further suffering. RIP Guinness.
I’m so sorry about Guinness, John.
I’m so sorry about the loss of your wonderful cat. It is such a difficult thing to make that decision but it shows just how much you considered her suffering as opposed to your own feelings. God bless you. Your kitty will wait to join you on the rainbow bridge.
My condolences John. When my 17 year old cat became ill, I rescued a tortie kitten and I named her Brownie to keep him company. He passed away a year later and while she’s a regular terror, she was sweet and gentle to him in his last days.
I have a torby (tortie/tabby), and well, she is downright mean. Got her about two years ago, she wandered out of nowhere when I was in west Texas, and has been with me ever since. She has followed me all over the country, living with me in my van when necessary, and sleeps by my side. We play rough, but it is play, but if anyone else touches her, she attacks. She hates females especially, of all species, when they are around me. She has been known to knock the cell phone out of my hand, and gets jealous when I am on the phone . She likes to ride around on the dashboard of my vehicle if I let her, most of the time though I put her in a carrier in the passengers seat, and she likes road trips, as long as she can watch me driving. She hates not being around me pretty much constantly, even an hour of separation sets her off. I can carry her around like she is a baby, but she wont let anyone else even touch her.
Oh Daniel you lucky guy she obviously absolutely adores you and I’m jealous. I had a tortie for 18 years who used to behave just like your girl – I lost her three years ago and still cry for her – I miss her so much you just cannot even being to imagine – so make the most of every second of the time that you have with her she is precious beyond words 🙂
My tabby is also mean. the wife named her pepper. You could be scratching her head and next thing she hissing at you. How do you others handle this?
That sounds like petting aggression. Please read this article for more information: https://ingridking.com/2016/04/04/cope-correct-petting-aggression-cats/
Oh and another thing is that since she is high strung and anxious I thought she would lick off her fur and vomit frequently from stress but turns out she is extremely allergic to a lot of stuff and scored the highest on allergy testing (poor thing) so does anyone know if that is common with this breed? Thankfully her beautiful coat is back and no more vomiting thanks to treatment. I’m so glad I finally discovered the uniqueness of torties as before that I was encouraged by one person to get rid of her for being too difficult and temperamental (which I would never do under any circumstance) but I just always assumed she had a split personality. She is so fun and funny and also crazy and quick tempered but I love her exactly the way she is 🙂
“Split personality” is a good way to describe torties, isn’t it? I’m glad you are able to appreciate your girl’s uniqueness and love her for it! Allergies aren’t more common in torties than they are in cats with other colors.
We have a 7 yr old Tortie, Miss Callie, who is just like that. Very high strung & is constantly licking off her fur.
Miss Daisy licked herself a nice Brazilian one summer til we took her to the vet – it turned out that she’d been in pain from dental issues, trying to work on that and distract herself….. keep an eye out!
We rescued our cat from the pound at 5 weeks old and were never told her breed and had no idea what she was. What we quickly realized was how different she was from our gentle Russian blue kitty. This newly rescued kitten took over the
household like nobody’s business the second she walked in the door and hasn’t stopped. Very head strong, defiant, assertive, won’t back down for anything and in fact will chase you if she’s mad enough, goes from lovingly purring on your lap to suddenly hissing at you or biting or swatting you for no reason, can go from 0-60 in a milli second, can be so gentle and loving to scaring the heck out of you like a wild cougar, seats at you or attacks you depending on her vantage point any time you walk by her, talks up a storm more than any cat I’ve ever known, is extremely attached to us that leaving her alone for a day causes major stress and anxiety, most vets won’t treat her because she is so scary and aggressive with them-even scares us enough that we leave the room-as she morphs into a mountain lion the second we enter the vet and now they insist on sedating her every time. The list goes on. I have never had a cat anything like her. She’s so unique and difficult but special and loving and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. It wasn’t until one vet finally told us oh she’s got tortitude and owns you because of the kind of cat she is-a diluted torbie! Once I read up on that it all made sense and described her perfectly. The only thing I didn’t see was she is overly sensitive to noise. I can’t sing or talk on speakerphone or she gets mad and attacks me even if she’s asleep. She will wake up and attack me if I play music on my iPhone. Crazy. Like they say she can be cuddling and loving and purring so loudly on me and in a split second gets wild eyed and wants to kill me, especially if she’s comfortable next to me and I dare move and disturb her. If she was 300 lbs she def would have done that by now haha.
She sounds like a wonderful kitty. Torties are so full of life and personality that nothing can hold them back. I am so happy that you accept and enjoy her unique little self. Torties give you such love.
Great article. It helped understand some of the personality traits of one of our cats. We have two a year and a half old Tabby named Marcus and a Year and one month old named Bella who we thought was a tabby like her big bro but it seems she may be what you referred to as a “torbie”. Kinda wondered a bit if she was a tortie when the orange fur pattern started to appear as she grew up. But now that i have read this article i have a better understanding. She def has the tortitude going on. Full on daddys girl and vocal at times. Not full on meowing but a sort of questioning and curious hmm? Kind of noise. It is difficult to explain what it sounds like really.
Every cat, like every person, has its own personality. But Torties have unique personalities. They seem to be able to know their owners feelings on a higher level than other cats. I lost my little girl, Rusty, last September and lost part of my heart with her passing. She was the most loving and lively cat I have ever had. I will always love her and hope she will be waiting for me on the Rainbow Bridge. Torties are awesome!
I’m so sorry about Rusty, Betty. They do take a piece of our hearts with them.
Thank you so much. I still miss her sweet little presence every day.
My tortis are totally different. I have 5 cats, two of them are tortis. MiYim is 10 years old, I have to admit she is my favorite. Why? MiYim is so silly and makes me laugh everyday, she knows when I am playing or teasing her and would play with me. She is wonderful with other cats, even female cats. She is great friends with another torti cat, Mimosa. They are best friends. They sleep together and groom each other. She is totally different from MiYim, Mimosa is not affectionate with people. She is just loving and sweet. I still love them so much! <3
Yep know the tortitude.. My wife and I have 15 cats 3 are torties
Gidgit, maakins, and alee-roo.. And each one has its own tortitude,
Got mainecoons also and cali’s..but most keep there distance from the torties… Except tank my 22 lb mainecoon.. He could careless about them..he’ll get waped by one just looks at them..if he could talk he’d probably say really. That’s all ya got… Then he just walks off..lol
But all are furbabies. Are just wonderful… My wife has a crazy gift
She can hold a cat for a bit and if there is something wrong with it she can almost to a tee tell what’s its problems are… Freaks are vet out.. Lol
Catitude on peeps…….
Your description of Tank’s reaction to your torties made me laugh out loud!
Porschie-girl was the best tortie you ever hope to have. I had the most amazing 14 years with her since the day my wife brought her home to me on my birthday as a gift. She would go to work with me about once a month. She was the hit of the drive though when I got coffee. She was unseperable from me. She waited for me outside the shower and jumped on my lap the second I sat down. She slept next to me with her head if the pillow next to me (under the blankets). Her tortietude was her possession of me. I am heartbroken over her loss… I am not ready for another as I am convinced I had the best kitten in the world and I couldn’t love another. I had always told my wife if Porsche goes before me to just kill me and burry us together… But when the time came she refused and has been consoling me daily now for 2 weeks… I hope everyone finds a tortie as perfect as mine!
I’m so sorry for your loss, Peter. Porschie-girl (what a great name!) sounds like she was your soul cat. It always hurts to lose a cat, but when these special, one-of-a-kind cats leave us, it’s devastating.
Hi Peter C,
I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your furrbaby Porsche. Believe me, I know and understand how painful and real this kind of loss is. I suspect many on this site understand and sympathize with you as well.
I don’t know if you are familiar with The Rainbow Bridge but it has brought comfort to me in the past (on more than one occasion). Got to: https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm I hope you are a Christian. If so, you know that what we call “death” is only a transformation. Porsche-girl is safe and well and you will be reunited again (in God’s good time).
One other thing I want to add: grieving over a loss is normal, even for a man (despite what some in society think or say). So go ahead and grieve. Then heal. After a reasonable time has passed and the healing is progressing well, Please, please, please take a little trip to the nearest animal shelter (‘dog’ pound, or whatever else they call it in your area). Go in and ask to the the kittens and cats. I’ll bet you will find a new love of our life there. When you do……ADOPT. You will not only be finding a new furrbaby companion but you will ALSO be SAVING A LIFE!
God bless you in your loss and sorrow.
I so know how you feel. I lost my tortie almost three years ago now – she was with me for 18 years and still think about her every day and still want to cry she is/was the love of my live and no-one has ever touched me the way she did. She is buried outside my bedroom window and every few days I pray that she will just be allowed to come back to me for a few minutes – miss her dreadfully and will never love anyone human or cat the way I loved her
Oh my gosh! Tortitude really IS real! I’ve had many cats in my 63 years of life ranging from Siamese to Calico (and a couple of Tuxedos in there too) but I just acquired my first Tortie just a little over a month ago. She was a stray that “found” me. I already had 3 cats (my wife does NOT like cats) so adding another to the household really wasn’t a good idea. But Princess (yes, that’s her name; I call her my Little Princess) just started showing up in the backyard. After about a month of chasing her off, I couldn’t resist and tried to coax her to me……and she came right to me. After sitting on the patio and petting her on my lap for two nights, well, my wife was just going to have to get used to a new member of the family. Anyway, Princess is 1/2 the size of the other 3 but she rules the roost. ALL THREE of the other cats are afraid of her. Why? TORTITUDE! And she is surely a Daddy’s girl too. If she’s awake, she has to either be in my lap or within touching distance on my desk. And purr? Oh yes. As long as she is getting my attention she purrs and purrs – loudly. One other unique thing about my little Princess is she loves for me to rub her tummy. I’ve never, ever had a cat that would let you do that but she loves it.
Welcome to the wonderful world of tortitude, Rod! Princess sounds wonderful!
I know when cats find us… they make us feel the most bonded to them because of the special/unique connection… that being said, I admin a Facebook group for missing and found pets, and I just am hoping you looked for humans who might be missing that Princess of yours… I lost the only nice cat who has ever owned me, and I looked and searched and did everything possible short of taking out a full page ad in the newspaper… if someone kept my girl without looking to see if anyone was missing her… I just have no words for the devastation I still feel by not having closure. I learned a lot because of my loss. If you need any tips on where/how to look, I’d be happy to guide you!
I did look and I keep up with all the local lost and found pets in our area. The first thing I did after she chose me was to have her checked for a chip (she wasn’t chipped….but she is now!) I also checked with a neighbor who is the former Humane Society President and now operates a local cat sanctuary and she highly encouraged me to take Princess in. My vet says she thinks Princess was “thrown out” by a human who wasn’t prepared to be responsible for the costs, sacrifices and inconveniences of pet ownership. If you knew the area I live in, you would understand. People down here on the border are terrible pet parents.
I just want to say that i liked when you said “regardless of coat color, is an individual” You are absolutely right, so we need to treat our cats the same way.
Can Torties change color? My little princess found us about 2 months ago, when we first met she was true definition of a tortie, black, amber and yellow mixture everywhere except some white spot in her nose, her front paws and specks in her belly. But over the last month more white fur has come in, she looks ashen, her beautifl colors are still noticible but look a little muted. Wondering if you know of this happening to other kittens?
It sounds like she’s a dilute tortie. Some breeds change color as the kitten grows up. Typically this happens in Siamese and Persian cats. Maybe she has some of that lineage in her background? Color changes can be an indicator of a health issue if they’re accompanied by other symptoms.
Tortitude is definitely a real thing. We have a Tortoiseshell cat, Amber and who is 2. Her personality is unlike that of any other cat I’ve had perviously. She is had strong for sure and doesn’t seem to like my husband much, which is terrible because she is supposed to be his cat, but is attached to me which drives my 17 year old Tabby crazy. She is playful with me and our other cat, but doesn’t care for others. We love her and her unique personality.
Hmm, I don’t know if our tortie has any Tortitude! She’s 4 now. Her tabby sister is 8 and ginger brother is 17ish. And they are WAY more dominant. But our tortie girl is special. We adopted her when she was 2.5 pounds because she both growled, hissed and purred like an insane little thing when we were introduced. She CAN be very skittish. Doesn’t like loud noises. Growls at the mailman like a dog while running to hide. She doesn’t come out for any short term visitors though overnight guests sometimes catch a glimpse of her spying.
The truth is, she’s not exactly smart….at all. She learned the basic rules easy enough. Pee, eat, sleep here and respond to her name, but she’s just not quick thinking. She has two modes of passing her day. Loving everything and scared to death but still loving everything. She is the sweetest and the most loving and the one that doesn’t bear a grudge. Within two days of meeting our fluffy orange ginger guy (who was NOT pleased at a new kitten) she started staring at him in wonder. SO FLOOFY. Then she followed. Then she got closer…and closer. Sometimes, they even snuggle if he doesn’t care enough. He is her golden God and she loves nothing more than to throw herself at his feet and wriggle and purr. And if she’s lucky, he’ll lick her head before biting it and smacking her away. It makes her feel so special.
So Tortitude? I don’t know if she has it. Though I definitely believe in differences between cat coat colors. Our ginger is SUCH a ginger and we hold him like a baby. Our tabby is headstrong, judgey, calm and calculating to get her way. But maybe our tortie ended up a little touched in the head, though I wouldn’t change her at all!
Your tortie girl sounds very sweet!
Thank you so much for this article it describes my little girl so much! My torties name is Juniper but goes by Juni. I got her as a 6 month old kitten as a gift from a friend. The moment we met each other it was love at first sight. As soon as our eyes met she yelled her greeting demanding attention. She follows me everywhere and we talk to each other for hours. She is my little princess she likes most everyone but despises my mom. Everytime my mom picks her up she screams and tries to push her away to be let down. She doesn’t do that with anyone else just her. She loves to chase my other two cats around and catch bugs midair, she is such a beautiful little blessing I couldn’t imagine my life now not having a tortie they are so purrrfect.
She sounds wonderful, Leslie!
Hi! I found your research very interesting. A few months ago, I took in a tortie kitten, maybe almost a year old, who was a stray that a friend took in, but couldn’t keep… It’s been a wild ride every since! She was affectionate from the start, rubbing her face on my short beard, licking me, jumping on my back, but now she kicked it up a notch, and is always where I am… She sits on my lap every chance she gets, when she’s not running around chasing who-knows-what… lol She’s very vocal, meowing at me all the time, except when she’s calm in my arms, or sleeping next to me in my bed… She follows me to the bathroom and drinks water from the sink when I’m there… She also appears at the edge of the tub when I’m taking a shower, meowing at me, as if I’m taking too much time in there… lol I’ve never seen her hiss! And, when I run the vacuum, instead of running away and hiding, she takes a stance a few feet away and just watches me… She’s such a golden-eyed treasure… Just thought I’d share… Thanks!
Sounds like she’s got tortitude and then some!
Yeah, and then some! Now, instead of watching me shower, she sits between the liner and the outer curtain and, when I’m done, and move the curtains back, she’s sitting there at my feet, meowing at me! I say, “What? Did I disturb you?” and she meows some more. Then, when I step out, she likes to dry my ankles off by licking them. lol She still has this thing about jumping on my back, when I’m bent-over… Ouch! But, she also likes to attack me, with love, when I’m least expecting it! She jumps up in my lap and reaches her paws out, and touches my chest and face with her little paws… She’s like putty in my arms, sometimes, forgetting that, if I shift one way or another, she might fall… Oh, well… I love her and she loves me… lol
❤️that melts my heart!
Update! lol Well, it’s been almost 2 years since my treasure and I have been together, and I’ve never seen or hear her hiss! She’s the gentlest, yet clumsiest, creature I’ve ever known. She still smothers me with love, but she turns into a rag doll when she does, and her claws have a mind of their own… she doesn’t mean to hurt me, she just gets caught up in the moment, I guess… lol She still climbs on my shoulders once in a while and rubs my head with her head, and still does all I said in my previous post…
My 15 year old male fdr died and I was heartbroken I also have a 14 year old 20 pounder teddy. My granddaughters and I went to a cat cafe and they fell in love with a little chocolate tortie. I succumbed and she exudes tortitude. She is smart learned her name in 2 weeks loves everyone,especially me. It is impossible to clip her nails so I have to burrito her. The 20 pounder lets her have her way and stopped hissing at her in 4 days. The vet said she never saw one so active and my cat sitter who has ten cats said she is something else. Tortitude lives at my house
I just adopted an 8 year old Tortie. I’ve had for just a little over 24 hours. So far, she’s let me brush her a few times. And now she’s under the bed going on 5 hours. I guess I’ll learn her personality gradually, once she decides to come out again. For now, I’m giving her food, water, and plenty of space.
You have a scared kitty out of her comfort zone.We have a now 17 year old ginger cat with diabetes. When we first got him at 11, after a happy first home with a family who started having children to which he just never adjusted to, he found himself with us (a happily childless couple who loves cats) and a 2 year old cat that decided she suddenly wanted to be the only child. He was heartbroken about his family and antagonized by our cat and hit under the bed for so long we later realized he peed himself under there. And all we could do was sneak him treats and say his name while rubbing his nose. The more comfortable he got, the more his personality came out. Holy crap, he has SO much personality! It took about 2 months for him to really start coming out. Today, he’s a 17 year old super cute nightmare of assertiveness and personality that still plays daily, demands chest cuddles and regularly wakes up my husband two hours early for work by smacking him on the head over…and over…and over. So don’t worry for a second….there’s a personality in there just WAITING TO BURST OUT to annoy you one second and make you melt with cuteness the next!
I have a tortie cat. Her name is Abby and she is a beautiful cat. I adopted her from a cat rescue group. She was found outdoors hiding under a porch. Whoever owned her beore had her declawed(all four paws). When I saw her picture on the website and read her story, I had to meet her. She was shy during that meeting. I felt that I could give her the understanding love and attention that a Tortie cat needs so I adopted her. She is a very moody 2year old girl but when she is in her loving mood it makes up for all the warning meows, growls and hisses. She does not like being picked up at all, and doesn’t like her belly touched. If you try she will swat you. I have had her for 8 months now and I think she finally realizes she is home! She recently started resting her front paws on my shoulder and rubbing her face against mine and then waits for a kiss on the head. I love my Abby and I am very happy that I adopted her. She is my baby attitude and all!
Hi Cindy I enjoyed your story as it is a lot like mine. I adopted my Hanukkah from a shelter a few months after she was found half Frozen on a doorstep. The girls at the shelter worked hard to save her and named her after the day she was found on Hanukkah. I was looking for a senior cat. She was 9 estimated at the time.Also had been declawed but front only. You are probably in for a true long time friend as mine is now 17 yrs old!. I have had about 15 cats mostly short term seniors I adopt and spoil until the end. Hanukkah is in my top 3 of all for sure. She has that little kitten but adult quality about her. I never planned on a tortie but definitely agree they are different from other breeds in their personality. I best describe it as the way many people from India or Newfoundland have their own defined sense of humour. It is like a more intense and exaggerated personality. I enjoy every minute with her and she spends hours happily right next to or on top of me. Since I’ve been through so many cats I realize I’ll only have her a little while longer-a few years I hope. So my message is I hope you get the most you can out of your time with Abby like I am with mine. Life is so much better with a good cat!
Our beautiful Mercedes was a birthday gift from one of my good friends. That May our other cat got taken by foxes we believe and I had a hole in my heart. My friend couldn’t stand seeing me hurt, saw an ad for free cats and thought she’d surprise me. The woman we got her from was having surgery and could not take care of her 9 cats after so she wanted to find loving homes for them. She took excellent care of them. All spade, neutered, shots up to date. That December I brought home two cats!!! My friend didn’t think one was enough and she picked them out. Well, once we got home, Mercedes tortitude was on full display!!!! As soon as we let them both out of the kennels, Mercedes promptly chased Jill downstairs and would not let her come up!! Mercy! The poor kitty! We put a litter box, food and water bowl downstairs, but then I caught Mercedes laying at the top of the stairs waiting for Jill to come out for one of them just to chase her back into the corner. We would try to get to Jill to pet her and finally succeeded, but in the end had to get rid of her. We gave her to the gal who got her for me as a gift. My husband wanted to get rid of Mercedes because she used to make him so mad, she wasn’t a lap cat and she had been so mean to Jill. But the lady had a dog smaller than Mercedes and we knew she’d probably kill it as she had dented the metal strip on our screen an inch trying to get out to fight a cat in our yard! I’m glad we kept my boo boo kitty!! She will get sassy if you pet her in the wrong places at the wrong times. When she’s frappy and lays on her back, it’s not an invitation to pet her belly. It’s a claw trap! In the mornings when she does it, she loves a belly rub!! She absolutely hates my singing (I’m hearing impaired). If I’m sitting, she’ll sit on my lap hoping that will shut me up. When that doesn’t do it, she puts her paw over my mouth. When that doesn’t work, she puts her mouth up to mine and meow, meow, meow, meow. And if I’m still singing she’ll bite my cheek (nicely). If I’m standing or walking, she’ll chase me around biting my ankles!!!! She’s quite a trip. When we would go out of town, we would mostly ask this one friend to come over and feed her. Well, Mercedes would hiss at her every time. My friend finally nicknamed her Princess Hissy Whiskers! Ha! Fits her tortitude to a T! Yes, your highness! She hisses at the nicest people. If you’re a little ornery, then she may not hiss at you. My friend who has four cats came over. Mercedes hissed at her. Mary said, “Oh no you don’t!”, hissed back at her and chased her into our bedroom. Three minutes later Mercedes emerges and rubs all over Mary like her best friend!!!! Hahaha!! It was hilarious! Mary was able to pick her up and lay her on her lap, rub her belly for a long time at night!!! These were things I was lucky if I could do them and my husband couldn’t do them at all!!! All kidding aside. My baby kitty means so much to me!! She has been here for me during the last year and a half to confi comfort me when I would cry she would come sniff me and put her paw on me. It’s been a tough period getting used too a condition that keeps me home and indoors most of the time. She entertains me, comforts me, keeps me busy, sits right I the middle of what I need to do . She’s my baby girl!! Never a dull moment with her!! A couple of years ago we had to have all but 8 of her teeth pulled. She had a feline disease where her immune system attacks the bacteria in her gums and rots her teeth. The procedure was very expensive, but when my husband mentioned putting her down, I couldn’t take it. I broke down in the vets office crying for an hour and a half. I didn’t want to part with my baby girl (even though she was already 10)! I know someday I will, but I’m so blessed to have her now. God knew I’d need a companion for this time in my life, an angel and He sent one with fur and tortitude!!! I know this is long and this is just a snippet of my baby’s tude!
I was so happy to hear that someone else could love a cat with so much tortitude! I have a tortie named Skittles with much the same tortitude as your Mercedes. She is the love of my life, next to my husband of course! LOL. My husband absolutely hates her. She will surprise attack his feet, scratching and biting. She hisses, growls, bites and scratches him if he tries to pet her. She even attacks my grandson. She is a holy terror, except to me. She doesn’t attack me and she will roll over and let me scratch her tummy. She follows me everywhere talking to me and insisting that I scratch under her chin. I am disabled also, and confined to the house most of the time. I am blessed to have her as a companion.
Deborah, I hope your cat lives a long, long time. She is blessed to have you as her Mommy. The pure and unconditional love we get from our furry friends is one of the best things life has to offer. God bless you.
Our torti Cassie is 18 years old. She prefers our 2 big dogs to the other 4 cats.since she is thin I Offer food 5 z or more a day she eats trial and error whatever she wants. She is a cat that hOlds her own in any situation . She loves to cuddle at night on her terms of course ! A dear girl 18 years I would do anything to make her senior years pleasant. When we adopted her she was from the Humane Society she developed upper respiratory
Disease and we hand fed her and medicated her on the hour the vet gave her a 50 50 she made it with flying colors the dear we are happy she is still part of our animal family.
“She is a cat that holds her own in any situation” – now that’s a perfect description of tortitude!
My torty cat, TESSA, has been with us (my old guy diabetic cat) for 8 months now… the first two months she was in complete hiding between a bedspread and the closet. She didn’t know how to play and was terrified by any toy I offered to her. I think there’s been a breakthrough as I was sitting on my sofa this morning and decided to run the light play device in front of her and she pounced on it! That’s an absolute first. She look like a joyful young cat should look. I suspect it’s all upward and onward from here. I’m glad that I was able to offer her a relatively quiet home because I think she is extremely sensitive as many say their torty’s are. She often moves in a very skittish fashion and I’ve taken to calling her Twinkle Toes. The end of her tail has a white tip she will flick it with distain and dance out of the room.
I’ve had cats all my life but I had never met a “tortie” until one arrived at my patio door in 5 degree weather hungry and cold. She has a beautiful white tipped tail and classic markings. A few weeks later we found she was pregnant but the vet said this was her first litter because she was young. we decided to let her stay with us and have loved every minute of her unique personality. During her pregnancy she scoped out places and would use a unique voice and behavior to get me to follow her around.i thought she was looking for a safe place to have her kittens so I looked around with her. She kept going to a hallway closet but she would go in and come back out “talking” to me again in a different voice. I removed all the clutter in the bottom of the closet and placed soft blankets inside. She stopped looking after this and eventually had her 2 kittens in the closet we cleaned out. The funny thing is that she was aloof most of the time until she wanted food, attention or a nice comfy place to lay. She used her meowing noises to let me know what she wanted. One of her kittens was another tortoise shell which we kept in our home. She was loving, had the loudest purr, and possessive over me and only lays in my lap. 12 years later they are in great health and we still have both of them but their personalities have changed some over time. The original cat, Gabby, has taken over my lap and will not let her daughter come near me. When she is not on my lap, Hannah, uses it but leaves when her mom comes back. We know they will not be with us forever, so I don’t know what I will do without them.
Thank you for sharing your tortie love story, Sherry!
Wow! Had no idea. I adopted my girl, Lavender, from the local shelter, where she had been surrendered for euthanasia…well, I just could NOT let that be. I
was told there had been a 2-yr old in her previous home, and Lavender had
nearly no fur, plus scabs on her back half when surrendered, likely due to stress. She is still quick to run & hide, but is better here, her fur is coming back, she is nothing but LOVED, although she does strike if touched in a wrong spot, or when she isn’t ready. She’s here just about 6 weeks now, I will not EVER abandon her, and I have hopes she’ll settle, except for some Tortitude.
Thank you for giving this girl another chance at happiness!