Tortoiseshell Cat

The unique coat patterns and colors of a tortoiseshell cat are not difficult to recognize. Mysterious and alluring, tortoiseshell cats have captured the fancy of writers, photographers and artists for their distinct and stunning appearance. Find out some a few more facts about these beautiful cats and why we love them!

Coat of many colors: A feline may be considered “tortoiseshell” if she has a black, yellow and orange colored coat, without any white. The presence of a white would classify the cat as a “calico”.

Gender: While black cats or gray cats, and even calico cats have as equal a chance of being male or female, the tortoiseshell cat is almost exclusively female. This occurs because in order to create a tortoiseshell coat, the genes may found in the X chromosome in the female. One X chromosome has the code for black in one parent, and the other parent carries the X chromosome of yellow or orange from the other parent. As female animals have two X chromosomes, it would make sense then that the tortoiseshell cat would be female, having both of the color codes in their DNA. The existence of an actual tortoiseshell male cat is incredibly rare.

Breeds: Though the color of a tortoiseshell cat sets them apart, these multi-colored kitties might be any breed. The most common kinds of tortoiseshell cat are the British, Oriental and American Shorthair, the Birman, Siamese, American Bobtail, Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, the Manx, Somali Cat, Devon rex, Cornish Rex and the Japanese Bobtail.

(Persian Tortoiseshell cat!)

Personality traits: Demeanor and expression among cats usually varies between breeds. A Cornish Rex might not behave the same way or have similar tendencies that a Japanese Bobtail might. However, tortoiseshell cats tend to have many similarities among them, irrespective of their breed. For example, they all seem to be feisty and dominant cats who like to make their voices heard. While they can be independent, these cats are very affectionate and will soak in whatever physical attention they can get! What’s not to love about a tortoiseshell cat?

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter