Is Tortoiseshell a Breed? Seven Things To Know About Tortoiseshell Cats and Kittens

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Sitting tortoiseshell cat

Do you love to look at tortoiseshell cats? Does the unique-looking tortoiseshell cat breed intrigue you to know more about them? Well, we have got you covered. Technically speaking, there is no such thing as the tortoiseshell cat “breed” since the word tortoiseshell is used to refer to a certain pattern rather than a distinct breed in its own right.

This mix and match cat breed is truly a marvel of nature since their unique coat makes them stand out amongst a crowd of cats. Our guide will tell you the seven essential things you ought to know about the tortoiseshell cat breed and what the hype is all about.

1. Historical Myths surrounding the Tortoiseshell cat breed

Wherever there is beauty, there is likely to be a myth. As you will have noticed, if any animal looks even unique, there will be a host of stories and legends explaining how the animal’s appearance came about. Well, the tortoiseshell cat is certainly unique and interesting to look at, so you won’t be surprised to know that there are a lot of folk legends revolving around them.

They are pretty popular in Southeast Asia, and according to the Khmers, their origins can be found in the blood of a young goddess. Even more surprisingly, certain midwives tales according to which rubbing the tortoiseshell cat breed tail on a wart can cure it. We do not know the truth about the healing properties of the tail of the tortoiseshell cat breed, but we wouldn’t suggest trying it on your own. 

2. The colors of tortoiseshell cat breed

Since the colors of the tortoiseshell cat breed set them apart, it is important to know what color these cute kitties come in. As a general rule, tortoiseshell cats are black and ginger. You will largely see patches of these two colors only on a tortoiseshell cat.

Tortoiseshell cat sitting on fallen leaves

However, here and there, you will also see spots of cream or white on them. Also, do not confuse the tortoiseshell cat breed with calico cats. While calico cats are also multi-colored, their base color is mostly white, and they may have tortoiseshell-type patches on this white coat.

3. What gender are they?

As a general rule, there is no link between the breed of the cat and their gender. However, as we said before, the tortoiseshell cat breed is not a breed on its own. It refers to a unique color pattern found on various cats and is caused by certain genes. However, a very surprising fact is that 99 percent of the tortoiseshell cat breed consists of females.

This is because the tortoiseshell coloration comes from two X chromosomes. Like human females, cat females also have two X chromosomes. Since these genes are responsible for both the female gender and the patchy color pattern, there is no surprise that there is a strong correlation between gender and torties.

4. A fiery attitude

Like we said before, every specific cat has its attitude. Technically speaking, there should be no link between a cat’s color pattern and its attitude. However, that is not true for the tortoiseshell cat breed! Behavior experts have found out that cats from the tortoiseshell cat breed do display certain common behavioral traits. They are naughty, sassy, and have a bit of an attitude. Many people also refer to their behavior as “fortitude,” and these cute little cats are famous for being a bit of a diva.

5. What breeds display the tortoiseshell pattern?

Sitting tortoiseshell kitten

Like we said before, the tortoiseshell cat breed is not a breed in its own right. These cats have a patchy color pattern on them that is caused due to certain genes. This is why cats of various breeds can display the tortoiseshell pattern. For instance, you may find Persians, Maine Coons, and Shorthair cats displaying the tortoiseshell color pattern.

6. What can their life expectancy be like?

As a general rule, researchers make no connection between the color pattern of cats with their age. This is why being a cat from the tortoiseshell cat breed is not much of an indication as to what your pet cat’s life expectancy will be. However, it is always possible to find out more about this by consulting your vet.

Your vet can examine your tortie and tell you what breed of cat it is. From there, you can get a good idea about their life expectancy. Moreover, numerous other factors, such as environment, diet, and general health, can have a role in determining the life expectancy of your beloved tortie.

7. More about the weight of the tortoiseshell cat breed

According to researchers, there is no definite link between the weight of the cat and its weight. So it would be best if you didn’t think that your tortoiseshell cat breed should fall into some ideal weight range. If you are looking to adopt a particular tortoiseshell cat breed and want to know more about their physical features, we would suggest researching the particular breed itself.

So, for instance, if you have a tortoiseshell cat breed belonging to the Maine Coon breed, you can expect them to weigh about 25 pounds. However, if your tortoiseshell cat breed belongs to the Shorthair family, their weight stands much lesser (around 12-15 pounds).

However, because of the unique coloration of the tortoiseshell cat breed, it can be a little hard to figure out the underlying breed itself. For this, we would suggest consulting your vet since knowing the breed and exact weight of your particular tortie can help you cater to your cat’s needs in a better way.

We hope that our guide on the tortoiseshell cat breed helped you out. If you see a tortoiseshell Persian cat or a tortie that is a shorthair, we would suggest you adopt these fun-loving animals! The tortie cat breed has produced some lovable pets, after all.

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