Are All Tortoiseshell Cats Female? | Tortoiseshell Cat Facts!

So, one of my videos on calico cats got so much love from you guys and I am wholeheartedly grateful for that.

I never knew calico cats had so much love garnered in the hearts of cat lovers.

The video is received with appreciation and gratitude regarding the different points that I brought out with the help of it.

Here is the video for all you guys who haven’t watched it yet.

In addition to all the praise and the love what I also got were questions. Some regarding calicoes and a lot regarding tortoiseshells as well.

So, I am kind of creating this short and simple article revolving around tortoiseshell cats and answering all the major questions that you have regarding them.

Questions like are all tortoiseshell cats female, the difference between a calico cat and a tortoiseshell cat, why are tortoiseshell cats always female, do tortoiseshell cats get along with other cats, are all calico cats female, are tortoiseshell cats rare, etc.

I hope you guys enjoy the article just like you did with the video and gain a lot of insights on torties. Do let me know how you feel about it in the comments below.

So, without any further ado let’s begin with the first one.

Are All Tortoiseshell Cats Female?

That’s the most interesting part regarding tortoiseshell cats. Around 99.6% torties are female. Male tortoiseshell cats are incredibly rare. And if by luck you come across one, chances are his physiological composition would be weak he would be prone to health issues.

I know that is a lot to take in. Well, that is precisely why I have chosen to create an article on this topic.

Therefore, I want you to stick to this article till the very end so that I can give you a comprehensive understanding of tortoiseshell cats.

Also, here are a few more articles that I think will append to this article very nicely and improve your overall knowledge.

Alright, let’s dive in now into the world of torties.

Do Male Tortoiseshell Cats Exist?

Looking at how any and all tortoiseshell cats you have ever met are almost entirely females, you may have wondered,

Do male tortoiseshells cats exist?

Well, as rare as male tortoiseshells cats are the truth is they do exist. If you talk strictly in terms of numbers only about 1 in 3000 tortoiseshell cats are females. Male tortoiseshells are rare and are usually always weak and sterile.

Now I know most of you who have already watched my video know that tortoiseshell isn’t actually a breed but a coloration.

And therefore, there are many breeds that may have tortoiseshell coloration.

Breeds such as American Shorthair, Persian, Cornish Rex, Ragamuffin, Maine Coons among many others can have a tortoiseshell pattern.

Also, both mixed breeds and purebreds can have a coloration that can be either short-haired or long-haired.

And depending on what kind of breed has the tortoiseshell coloration their lifespan and physiological characteristics vary.

For instance, a tortoiseshell cat by the name of Marzipan is recorded to have lived for 21 years. Similarly, a Persian tortoiseshell may or may not have such a long lifespan.

Why Are Tortoiseshell Cats Always Female?

Now that we know that most tortoiseshell cats are females, the next logical question that needs to be addressed is,

Why are tortoiseshells cats almost always female?

The answer to this question lies in genetics. The color of the coat in a cat’s body is dictated by the X chromosome. Female cats have two X chromosomes. Males cats have one X and one Y chromosome. Because the Y chromosomes don’t contribute to coloration, male cats can’t be tortoiseshells.

The next thing that you are going to point out is, you just said that in 99.3% of cases a tortie is a female, then how come the remaining can be a male.

Well, the exception to this is when a male cat has XXY chromosomes.

Because this is an exceptionally rare combination, it translates to male tortoiseshell cats to be rare also.

With that said, the problems of male torties don’t stop there.

You see most male tortoiseshells are sterile or carry inherent health problems. This is again due to the imbalance in their chromosomes. They also suffer from a health condition that is scientifically termed Klinefelter syndrome which renders them having problems ranging from brain damage to genital deformities and organ failures.

It almost feels like nature doesn’t want them to exist.

Owing to their rarity there is a myth associated with them.

The myth is that male tortie cats attract money.

People say that owning them will make you rich. The myth is obviously fuelled by the fundamental fact that they are rare.

I am pretty sure my readers are evolved to not believe things like that.

However, if you find someone searching for male tortoiseshell cats so that he or she can be rich, and believe me there are people like that, I hope you set their minds right.

However, if you find someone who is willing to take care of a male tortie cat his or her love for all beings, please give him or her a hug from my side.

Tortoiseshell Cats Personality

Because we are talking about so many aspects regarding tortoiseshell cats how can I leave out their personality now eh?

Okay, so what are tortoiseshell cats really like?

Because the tortoiseshell cat isn’t a breed we can’t talk about their personality in strict terms as one can do with other breeds like lilac point Siamese for example.

So, we are going to talk in relative terms to have a holistic idea regarding their personality.

Most people that I have heard from and met declare that tortoiseshells are sassy, vibrant, loving, playful, active, and fiercely loyal towards their owners.

And they are so gorgeous to look at. Because of their unique genetics, they develop this kind of a marbled pattern in their coats. If you have a tortie at your home, doesn’t matter how beautiful you think your home is, she will garner the attention of everyone that comes to your home.

They are vibrant cats and are like a bundle of energy that needs consistent expression.

For this reason, these cats love engaging, playing, and interacting with their owners.

They aren’t as chatty or as clingy as Siamese cat breeds but offer a very likable combination of the two.

They enjoy being independent but also know how to express themselves for the human they love.

Some tortoiseshell owners who have had the pleasure of owning multiple cats believe that there is a correlation between their beautiful coat and their personality.

When kept in groups the tortoiseshells are visibly more dominant, louder, and always seem to know when they need attention and when they don’t.

Now as I said in an earlier segment of this section, there is no way to put forth conclusions regarding tortoiseshell cats with any authority.

That being said most people who have had the privilege of owning torties will confirm that they are headstrong, assured about themselves, and endearingly affectionate.

Difference Between A Calico Cat And A Tortoiseshell Cat?

This is a very important question that needs to be addressed here.

What exactly is the difference between a calico cat and a tortoiseshell cat?

Well, the only difference between a tortoiseshell cat and a calico cat is the presence of white color on a calico’s coat. The white color in a calico cat’s coat is due to the presence of a spotting gene that produces the white, unpigmented spots.

The white color may vary in amount, size, and intensity. But the spotting gene overrules the color gene. A calico cat may be one with a few colored patches or one with a few white patches over a completely colored coat.

Tortoiseshell cats mostly have just two colors on their coat, brown/light brown/red and black. They don’t have any white patches on them. They can have both short-haired and long-haired versions.

This photo should give you a clear idea of what is the difference between a tortoiseshell cat and a calico cat.

difference between calico and tortoiseshell cat | are all tortoiseshell cats female
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Differences between a calico cat and a tortoiseshell cat

Tortoiseshell Cat Facts

Being beautiful, assured of themselves, affectionate and playful aren’t the only attributes that define tortoiseshells.

In addition to inviting all the love that they get, tortoiseshells also garner a lot of discussion around them from cat lovers of the world.

Here are some facts about the tortoiseshell cats that there is a good chance you didn’t know before.

  • Their temperament has a name associated with it.

Tortoiseshells are known for their unique blend of traits that portray self-assurance, feistiness, and affection.

The combination is cherished so much that people have decided to make their attitude exclusive to just them by terming it as ‘tortitude’.

Torties are also out of love termed as ‘divas of the cat world’ for an endearing mixture of traits they carry with them.

I approve of that title by the way.

  • They have a lot of myths surrounding them.

In an earlier part of this post how the rarity of male tortoiseshells have had people sought them out for luck.

But that isn’t the extent of myths that surround them.

You see in many parts of the United States they are referred to as ‘money cats’.

Parts of Southeast Asia believe that tortoiseshells originated from “the blood of a young goddess born of a lotus flower

The folklore doesn’t stop their oh no.

Japanese believe that bringing one of these cats on their boat will keep storms and ghosts away.

  • The Torbies

Oh, and did I mention that there is a subcategory of tortoiseshell cats called torbies.

Can you guess what they are all about?

Torbies are cats that have tortoiseshell colors coupled with tabby striped patterns.

Contrast them with a calico that is white coat or patches in addition to the tortoiseshell colors.

Here is what a torbie looks like.

torbie tortoiseshell cat | are all tortoiseshell cats female
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Source: Wikimedia

Tortoiseshell Cats FAQs

I hope you are enjoying the write-up till now and learning a lot.

You see I can keep on writing about tortoiseshells or cats in general. If you have been a consistent reader of this blog, you must have known that by now.

But I have to stop at some point. I don’t wish to overburden you with knowledge too you know.

Anyways, before I wrap up the article, let me just clarify a few more questions that I know in good authority that people inquire in context to tortoiseshells.

Do Tortoiseshell Cats Get Along With Other Cats?

Owing to their playful and active nature tortoiseshell cats tend to get very well along with other cats. However, its important to make the interactions gradual. Some studies suggest that tortoiseshells are a little assertive than other cats. So, once you make the interaction gradual and assure that her presence isn’t challenged in a threatening way, tortoiseshells become excellent playmates and companions.

Do Tortoiseshell Cats Meow A Lot?

In general, yes its is observed that tortoiseshells are relatively more vocal and louder than other cats. But so much depends on their personality and the breed as well. But usually, if tortoiseshell wants to say something or wants something she will let you know all about it.

Are Tortoiseshell Cats Rare?

Male tortoiseshell cats are definitely rare. A rough estimate says that only 1 in 3000 tortoiseshells are males. Female tortoiseshells in comparison, therefore, are of course relatively easy to find.

With that, we are at the concluding part of this article that we started with are all tortoiseshell cats female and gradually proceeded to cover all different aspects in detail.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback regarding anything that you have read here do let me know in the comments section below.

And by the way, I have created the FAQ section above for your questions only.

So, if the question that you are going to leave below is potent and appeals to the general public I will include it in the section above.

Don’t dare leave this page without subscribing to the blog, and my YouTube channel.

I want to make the relationship that we have here even more personal.

Take care of yourselves will ya?

I will see you around.


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A Humble Parent To Two Cats, One Dog, One Turtle And One Indian Ringneck. Have Been With And Around Pets And Animals For My Entire Life. Everything You Read Here Is An Expression Of my Love Towards Animals And The Innocence They Embody.

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