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Are Tortoiseshell Cats Good Pets? 10 Fascinating Facts

Are Tortoiseshell Cats Good Pets? 10 Fascinating Facts

We have all seen a cat, we know their personalities, and you can describe them even better as a cat owner. However, if you have been wondering what tortoiseshell cats are, you are at the right place. Are they a specific breed? How do you recognize them? Are they good pets?

Yes, tortoiseshell cats are good pets. Although they are sometimes referred to as having a strong-willed personality, they are undoubtedly loyal to their owners and safe to have around. Lovingly referred to as “torties”, their colorful coats make them one of the most loved by several owners. 

Tortoiseshell cats are not only loved due to their beautiful coats; anyone that has ever had one can quickly tell there’s something special about them. They are slightly aggressive but are loyal to and attributed to bringing luck to their owners, amongst others.

10 Fascinating Facts

Several fascinating facts, such as being mythical creatures and rare, are attributed to tortoiseshell cats. Let’s discuss some of them below.

There Isn’t A Breed Of Tortoiseshell Cats

Torties are easily recognizable by their multicolored fur, but they aren’t a breed. Any breed of cat, such as Cornish Rex, American Shorthair, Maine Coons, British Shorthair, and Persian, can be a tortoiseshell cat. Their coats, similar to natural tortoiseshell material, are usually multicolored solid black and various shades of red.

The tone varies on different cats; sometimes, orange or gold with a hint of cream makes them stand out amongst felines. Typically, their fur colors can be interwoven together; a look referred to as bridled or appear in patches all over their bodies.

tortoiseshell cat on window

Tortoiseshell Cats Are Generally Sassy

Researchers believe there might be a relationship between torties’ fur color and their behavior, even though there’s no clear evidence after studies. The term fortitude was coined after a study by the University of California whose result was inconclusive.

The term was used to describe tortoiseshell cats as strong-willed. The word is further intensified by several owners claiming that their tortoiseshell cats are unusually aggressive than others. Although tortoiseshell isn’t an individual breed, they are generally sassy, fierce, and highly temperamental.

Majority Of Torties Are Female

Tortoiseshell cats are majorly female and are referred to as the divas of the cat world. Generally, two chromosomes come to play for two colors to emerge on a cat’s fur. Two X chromosomes with two different color genes are needed to form their beautiful fur.

Females have two X chromosomes. On the other hand, male cats do not have XX chromosomes but have XY instead. Hence, this makes it hard for a male to be a tortoiseshell cat.

Male Tortoiseshell Is Rare

As explained above, genetics makes it hard to produce male torties, but there are some rare instances where we can have a male tortie.

Some male kittens are born with an extra X chromosome. The XXY chromosomes allow them to carry two different colors, granting them a tortoiseshell look, but it comes at a price. Although male torties are uncommon, the few available develop other issues instead.

Male Torties Are Usually Sterile

Not all male tortoiseshell cats are sterile, but most are infertile due to genetic abnormalities. It doesn’t affect their health in any form; the only difference from a regular male cat is that the male cells can also undergo the X inactivation process as females and are unfertile.

They Are Considered To Bring Good Luck

People in the United States usually refer to tortoiseshell as money cats. According to folklore and myth, they are considered cats that bring good luck in most parts of the world. For instance, they are believed to protect against ghosts in Japan and believed to cure affections in English folklore.

Their Name Originated From Tortoiseshell Material

Tortoiseshell from real turtles was a highly valued material used way before the 1970s to produce jewelry, eyeglasses, etc.

Although, synthetic tortoiseshell was developed to reduce the use of natural life tortoiseshell. Tortoiseshell cat’s fur is a reminiscence of the material’s intricate design and color.

They Have Varying Lifespans Depending On The Breed

Tortoiseshell cats have varying lifespans because they are of various species and can only be generally classified by their coat. Thus, their lifespan might depend on their breed, health, etc. For instance, one of the oldest tortoiseshell cats was 21 years old. She was named Marzipan, and she passed away in 2013 after a long illness.

Their Fur Color Isn’t Associated With Their Health

Again, since they aren’t a specific breed, their color doesn’t affect their health in any way. However, it would help to look out for other health issues of the exact species of your tortie and general cat health issues.

Torties Can Be Torbies

Torties can also have stripes that run vertically down the body of a tabby. In these cases, torties are referred to as torbies. A name coined together from tortoiseshell and tabby.

Although tabby stripes make the red color harder to be seen on torbies, they still have a solid black on their coat. Torties are also relatively common compared to torbies.

Why Are Tortoiseshell Cats So Weird?

Tortoiseshell cats’ unique personalities can make them seem strange to many cat owners at first, but they are great pets. Their unique personality is usually characterized by fortitude. Tortoisecats ability to be unpredictable, fiercely independent, and slightly aggressive has earned them this term.

What Is A Tortie Cat’s Personality?

It is hard to describe a tortie’s unique personality in a few words, but in summary, they are energetic and affectionate pets. Although, several believe their personalities will be similar due to their coat color. It isn’t precisely accurate, as breeds can also affect their characters.

Still, they are generally independent, a bit aggressive, and strong-willed. Tortoiseshell cats have a voice and aren’t scared to use it, which is usually the cause of their feistiness. They always make their presence known and tend to be possessive and loyal to their owners.

Yet, this isn’t usually the case in some rare instances, as some tortoiseshell cat owners have testified that their furry friends are not as aggressive as commonly described.

How Much Is A Tortoiseshell Cat Worth?

Tortoiseshell cats can be a bit pricey due to their beautiful and unique bicolored fur. Their worth can range between $1000 to $4000 depending on age and how rare the coat’s design is. Yet, unlike their female counterparts, a male tortoiseshell cat can be worth even more.

A fertile male tortie is usually rare and pricey, especially with an occasional coat pattern. So unless you get lucky enough to find one in an animal shelter, it might cost you a lot to purchase this feline.

How Long Do Tortoise Cats Live?

As stated earlier, their lifespan is not associated with their fur coat color. Hence, different tortoiseshell cats can live for different lifespans depending on the breed and general health. An indoor tortie can live for about 10 to 15 years. Yet, it is vital as a cat owner to pay extra attention to your furry friend’s health and diet.

tortoiseshell cat sitting on couch

Final Thoughts

As we are generally fond of calling them, “torties” are unique animals that can cost quite a fortune but are worth having around as a pet. If you love pets that communicate and don’t hesitate to let you know how they feel, then a tortoiseshell cat is the right one for you.

Although, their expression can come alongside some hissing, scratching. Torties are generally safe once you fully earn their trust.

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