Tortoiseshell Cat

Tortoiseshell Cat Wanted Poster

The lucky cats of the cat world

Tortoiseshell cats are also known as lucky cats and are a real peculiarity in the cat world. Due to their special genetic material, unique fur markings can arise. This makes each one of them unique.

History and Origin of Tortoiseshell Cats

Since the tortoiseshell cat is not a breed, it does not have its own history of origin , but it is a legendary animal:

  1. According to Japanese legend, tortoiseshell cats were taken to sea because the presence of a tricolor cat provided a sense of security. Fun fact: The Japanese waving cats (Maneki Neko) are lucky charms and have become a cult worldwide. Although there are countless versions today, the makers were inspired by a tortoiseshell cat.
  2. Similar stories circulated in England. There, too, tricolored cats were a symbol of good luck. Accordingly, it was strictly forbidden to kill such a cat, hit it, kick it or do any other cruelty to it. In addition to being a good luck charm, tortoiseshell cats were able to cure people of fever and protect them from fire. So it happened that she was given the middle name Firecat.
  3. For still others, the existence of the tortoiseshell cat describes a story of the sun and the moon. The sun had expressed a desire to spend time on earth and asked the moon to cover up its absence. While the sun descended to earth in the form of a black cat, the moon held its position in the sky. However, he soon disliked it, causing the sun to return in a great hurry. In the rush it was not possible for her to take all her rays with her. Some of them remained in the form of golden dots in the fur of the once black cat and have since been passed on to subsequent generations.

essence and character

A California study found that coat color and behavior are linked. In any case, the majority of cat owners stated that their tortoiseshell cat occasionally puts them to the test.

According to the information, these personality traits are particularly common in tortoiseshell cats:

  • Willful
  • Confident
  • Spirited
  • ready to defend
  • Unpredictable
  • Moody
  • Aggressive
  • spoiled

This results in a personality image that can deter one from buying such a cat. However, many of these traits are so subtle that the tortoiseshell’s quirks don’t really bother them.

Appearance of tortoiseshell cats

Since tortoiseshell cats are not an independent cat breed, their appearance is very varied.

For this reason, this subsection refers exclusively to the characteristic coat:

  • The cats call themselves tortoiseshell because their coat texture is associated with a tortoise shell.
  • The typical tortoiseshell cat has a three-colored pattern (tricolor). Numerous color nuances and an infinite number of combinations can arise from the basic colors red, black and white.
  • Two-tone tortoiseshell cats (so-called torties) do not have white markings in their fur.

attitude and care

Since tortoiseshell cats have different appearances, the daily grooming routine is also very different. So there is no general care guideline. Therefore, it is best to base your approach on the care suggestions for the respective breed (e.g. the Japanese Bobtail).

This is what standard cat care looks like:

  • Provide your cat with a scratching post to sharpen its claws on. Be prepared to have to clip the claws of older cats that don’t like to exercise.
  • Since a cat’s dental health can deteriorate over the course of its life, you should check the condition of its teeth regularly.
  • A cat’s eyes should always be clear and bright. In case of abnormalities (example: purulent discharge, redness) you should consult a veterinarian.
  • Accumulation of secretion, mites and painful inflammation can occur in the ears. Therefore, the ears should always be clean.

With regard to the keeping requirements, you can also use the “average cat” as a guide.

These furnishing elements are always needed:

  • food and water bowls
  • grooming supplies
  • Litter, litter box
  • scratch tree
  • activity material
  • Sleeping basket or an alternative retreat
  • Various types of room security (example: balcony net, cable protection)

Outdoor cat or indoor cat?

Many tortoiseshell cats have an impetuous temperament. That actually predestines them to be out in the fresh air.

However, there are many dangers lurking outside. You should only let your four-legged friend outside if you think the risks are bearable.

The release always affects health protection. Finally, as the cat moves around the houses, it also comes into contact with other animals. Therefore, she should have been vaccinated against communicable diseases and pre-treated against ticks, fleas and mites and dewormed at regular intervals.

Because cats undertake risky excursions during mating season, unneutered cats are at increased risk of injury. In addition, offspring are sired that may not be able to be adequately mediated. Castration is therefore a (depending on where you live, even mandatory) sensible protection for outdoor cats.

If freewheeling is not available to you, you could allow your feline friend access to an alternative, such as a fenced yard or a cat-proof balcony.

Calm-tempered tortoiseshell cats also make friends with being kept purely as an apartment.

How Much Activity Does Tortoiseshell Cats Need?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for getting the right amount of exercise. After all, the activity level depends on numerous factors:

  • cat breed
  • personality
  • age
  • Physical fitness
  • health
  • form of husbandry

Since there are different breeds of tortoiseshell cats, different movement requirements can arise. There is therefore no general formula that tells you the activity level of every tortoiseshell cat.

But the cat lets you know when it’s not busy:

  • She is overweight
  • Simple movements, such as jumping, are difficult for her
  • The cat withdraws and falls into depression
  • The cat signals increased irritability
  • She takes her frustration out on your stuff
  • Your house tiger no longer goes to the litter box

But be careful: Since this behavior is not exclusively due to a lack of exercise, you should have the cat examined by a doctor and play it safe!

grooming and feeding

These ingredients make – regardless of breed – a good food :

  • the high meat content (up to 95%)
  • up to 5% vegetables
  • no additives
  • no grain
  • no by-products
  • no vegetable protein
  • no sugar

A food with these ingredients is ideal for cats, as it corresponds to the natural food of carnivores.

Also, make sure the food is appropriate for your cat’s age and health.

Care instructions for the fur:

  1. For short-haired cats, it may well be that you rarely need to groom their fur.
  2. Long-haired cats with an undercoat, on the other hand, are at greater risk of matting, meaning that the coat needs to be brushed several times a week.
  3. During the change of coat, the maintenance effort can increase.

Acquiring a tortoiseshell cat

Tortoiseshell cats can not be bred according to a plan , but arise unexpectedly. In addition, the expression tortoiseshell cats only refers to the coat pattern, but not to the breed. Buying from a breeder is therefore not a safe option.

However, the typical spotting pattern is more likely to occur in certain pedigree cats, so you can ask breeders of the following breeds:

  • American Shorthair
  • British shorthair
  • British Longhair
  • German longhaired pointer
  • European shorthair
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Maine Coon
  • Manx
  • Persian
  • Siberian forest cat
  • Turkish van

Other sources of supply are animal shelters, private random throws and targeted searches in online portals. The price depends on the breed of the cat and can vary considerably (free up to four-digit acquisition costs).

Interesting and worth knowing

There is a 99.6% chance that the tortoiseshell cat is female. This amazing fact has to do with coat color inheritance. Coat color is stored on the X chromosome. Healthy males have one of these sex chromosomes, females have two. This is why most males are monochromatic (red OR black), while females have twice as many primary colors (red AND black, also known as Black Tortie). In addition, the two X chromosomes must dominate heterogeneously (i.e. inconsistently) in order for the characteristic spotting to occur.

While that’s the basic principle, the biologically possible spectrum of colors doesn’t stop there. The other hereditary factors contribute to a fading of the primary colors. Red and black turn into light cream and blue (Blue Tortie) in some cats.

Tricolor cats (with the so-called piebald spotting) also wear spotty or large areas of white. Specimens with this coat pattern are called calico cats.

Supplement: In rare cases, tomcats can also be carriers of tortoiseshell coat markings. And that is if they are affected by Klinefelter syndrome. In this case, like female cats, they have two X chromosomes. However, this fact affects, among other things, their ability to reproduce, so that a tortoiseshell tomcat cannot produce offspring.


Do you own a tortoise shell or maybe you want to get one? Feel free to write something about it in the comments!

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