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Someone posted a Jackson Galaxy video a couple days ago where he mentioned tortitude and how it is a real phenomenon. I adopted a torbie/calico (only her paws and under carriage are white) and never before heard of torties having a particular attitude. Mine definitely does! I have also had two dilute calicos in the past and had been told that calicos in general can have a real attitude. I chalked this up to sexism as calicos are almost all females. One of those girls was very possessive of me and would keep my schedule. If I wasn't in the shower or bed 'on time' she would stare at me and sometimes yell at me to get moving. My torbieco (this is my current kitten) has not tried to control me yet, but while she is friendly to other people, it's obvious she does not give a shit about any human but me. Where my dilute calico loved me most but absolutely liked and had time for other people. My other dilute calico doesn't really count she was hand raised by humans and didn't know she was a cat.

Dilute calicos, etc are grey, tan, and white rather than black, red, and white.

Have you had dilute and regular calicos/torties/torbies? Have the dilute ones had less attitude? Have you found the darker colored ones to be more intense personality wise? Is this more a general variation of cat personalities?

I was talking to my mom about tortitude and tabby genetics (also found here on Ovarit!) and she speculated on a difference based on color intensity/ personality intensity in calicos/torties/torbies vs their dilute counterparts.

Someone posted a Jackson Galaxy video a couple days ago where he mentioned tortitude and how it is a real phenomenon. I adopted a torbie/calico (only her paws and under carriage are white) and never before heard of torties having a particular attitude. Mine definitely does! I have also had two dilute calicos in the past and had been told that calicos in general can have a real attitude. I chalked this up to sexism as calicos are almost all females. One of those girls was very possessive of me and would keep my schedule. If I wasn't in the shower or bed 'on time' she would stare at me and sometimes yell at me to get moving. My torbieco (this is my current kitten) has not tried to control me yet, but while she is friendly to other people, it's obvious she does not give a shit about any human but me. Where my dilute calico loved me most but absolutely liked and had time for other people. My other dilute calico doesn't really count she was hand raised by humans and didn't know she was a cat. Dilute calicos, etc are grey, tan, and white rather than black, red, and white. Have you had dilute and regular calicos/torties/torbies? Have the dilute ones had less attitude? Have you found the darker colored ones to be more intense personality wise? Is this more a general variation of cat personalities? I was talking to my mom about tortitude and tabby genetics (also found here on Ovarit!) and she speculated on a difference based on color intensity/ personality intensity in calicos/torties/torbies vs their dilute counterparts.

18 comments

I used to volunteer at an animal shelter and that’s where I learned about tortietude. You could not get the dark torties to do anything they didn’t want to or touch them anyway that went outside of a specific boundary without hissing or scratches. We had one dark tortie who was famous/beloved for how disagreeable she was. I don’t think tortietude is sexism. In my experience they do have a certain personality but it’s an intensely cat personality, they love one person, have strict boundaries or you get the claw. Less outgoing than female cats of other colors. No idea why this might be. I own a light calico and she’s a bit of a princess but definitely less intense than the dark torties I knew. She does bully my large breed dog even though she is 6 pounds.

My dilute calico ruled my dog too lol. They were bffs but if the dog groomed her too vigorously or just annoyed her, she wouldn't take it. The dog was 30lbs and she was 10lbs!

I have a tortie and she DEFINITELY has tortietude, in that she won't do anything she doesn't want to, very vocal. She's very sweet, high energy, and has a strong preference for me, but is okay with anyone that gives her attention! She doesn't get along well with other cats though.

I've never owned other cats, but I've been told most cats are way more chill/low-maintenance than my lil tortie.

I find it varies. I’d say my grey/white bicolour is higher maintenance than my tortie, because she’s the one who cries when I leave them. She doesn’t have separation anxiety in the sense of being destructive, she just doesn’t want me to leave her alone. Other than that, they’re both affectionate and expurrts at getting underfoot.

I have a very dark tortie and while she definitely has a bit of that classic tortietude she’s mostly just an intensely friendly cat. Her personality can switch very quickly, she can go from purring to growling/scratching real quick, and then back to purring again a few mins later. But what she’ll put up with is a lot more than other cats, she’ll just tell you the second it’s too much where as non-torties feel like they have more of a build up.

But mostly she just loves people. Like any person she meets, immediately purring and asking for attention and pets. She purrs when she goes to the vets (hates the ordeal of getting there, but once she’s out of the carrier she’s just happy to meet someone). When we first brought her to the vet, our vet told us she’s always a little wary about torties, and was kind of shocked by how calm and friendly she was. She only really gets mad with needles, and when her front paws are touched. Oh and she freaks out about the anti-tick spot on.

Part of this is cause she’s the dumbest cat I’ve ever met. I love her to death, but she’s dumb. The vet said she’s most likely inbred, because she has some mild physical deformities, most notably with her front paws, and she’s a very small cat. And I think she loves humans so much because our neighbour found her as a tiny stray kitten, and fed her. Then we took her in, and she was just so happy to be inside so had these really positive interactions with humans when she was young.

So yeah, she’s not typical but she’s certainly intense.

My dilute tortie’s like that! Humans are there to entertain her, pet her, provide laps to sit on and have their faces washed. Community nurses visiting out house always have to multitask - change the dressing, write the notes and entertain the cat, not necessarily in that order.

I could have written most of this about my torbie! I have never had a cat that is so cuddly! But if she's not in the mood she sounds like a straight up demon! She won't bite or scratch. She will dig her calws in but never has she broken skin. And she has absolutely no sense at all. This afternoon she fell behind a curio! I don't know how she did it!

Mine also loves getting herself into weird places! She once found a way into an old farmhouse that was at the start of being gutted and renovated. She was stuck there for 6 days, before she found a way up to the roof and started meowing like crazy. Such an ordeal to get her down.

She went back like 3 weeks later. The house was too quiet, so knowing how dumb she is, we went back and found her. Turned out, she couldn’t figure out how to jump out of a fairly large hole onto a wardrobe... We had to go into the attic to get her out. This was a few years ago, and I still don’t understand how she even got up there to begin with

She is wild! My other dilute calico (the hand raised one) LOVED to get in walls and floors when we were renovating. She was long haired and almost entirely white, she would come out completely black! She got some epic baths lol.

I love tortoiseshell cats and Ive definitely noticed tortietude. I've only ever had full torties, never dilute ones, but I did play with a dilute longhair at the shelter who was very touchy and swatty like some torties tend to be.

Both of my torties have been extremely loving and friendly, but I've also met torties that weren't raised as kindly or attentively and were total monsters. I'll personally never get another type of cat again, they're just too wonderful when they're really secure and happy.

My childhood tortie was in heat when we got her from a shelter. Being a kid I of course wanted a kitten, but my mom saw this poor beautiful tortie girl all uncomfortable in heat and had so much sympathy for her that she convinced me the tortie was the right one. That cat was a great mouser and very sweet, but not a cuddler at all. She stared down a (leashed) pitbull in front of me which was fearsome and once came home from being out overnight with serious battle wounds... I hate to think of how the other guy looked. Loved that cat. I wouldn't keep an outdoor cat today but obviously views on that were a little different in the past.

My last tortie loved people and they often called her the "friendliest cat" they'd ever met. She was a total weirdo who actually liked getting sprayed with water and would let me massage her toes (beans lol) and play with her claws. Never met a regular cat who would tolerate that. She was also incredibly affectionate and liked to be in my lap any time it was a lap.

It's funny that you chalked up tortietude to sexism in the past because I weirdly feel like I connect with torties at least partially because we are both female. And my first tortie's female-specific problem is the whole reason we took her home with us. We're just on a level because we have something huge in common I guess haha. That's mostly a joke, I'm sure I'm anthropomorphizing, but if some dogs prefer women over men I think it's fine for me to prefer female cats, or rather a type of cat that is pretty much always female.

I hope I wouldn't be in remiss if I offered up that I thought torties' personalities tend to fall into mixtures of the female archetypes, based on my experience with them. Erin Hunter's Warriors book series needs a Tortie Tribe spinoff clearly haha

Thanks for letting me pontificate about cats lol much appreciated.

Oh I made this whole post so we can all pontificate about cats! I originally called tortietude up to sexism because I had previously had only male cats, not on purpose just happened, and my dilute was my first female cat. I think I do have a different relationship with my female cats than my males. The males always seemed to really NEED you and the females seem to just think you're the world/pain in the ass! I got my torbieco because of the relationship I had had with my dilute. I didn't think I would get another calico but when I saw her and held her, I knew I could not leave her. Now I can't imagine not having a tortie or calico in my life!

I posted that video! :)

My elder cat (she’s seven) is a dilute tortie and full of tortitude. My mother has regular visits from homecare workers and nurses, but as far as Miss Tortie’s concerned they’re here to entertain her and provide an extra choice of lap to sit on. She’s a very affectionate cat. Both my current pair are, but she’s a nutter as well.

Thanks for posting! It was so interesting. Jackson Galaxy is one of like 6 men I have time for. Mine is far and away the most affectionate and people oriented cats I've ever known. She is always where the people are, she won't go to rooms that are not regularly occupied by a human. I have tuxedo girl and she is much more like other non calicoish cats I've had. It is very interesting to think that their personalities can be influenced by their patterns and coloring.

You’re welcome! It was the comment about tortietude having some basis in fact that made me decide to post it. I like his videos too, especially the way he ends the “Why do cats sleep on you” one - “Because they love you, man!” I know my darlings do.

I’ve had some very affectionate cats of various patterns but I reckon my current pair - dilute calico and grey and white mask and mantle bicolour - are the most affectionate of the lot.

We have a calico who "talks" to us all day (sounds more like kvetching, actually) and plays the piano. She is very attached to one of my sons.

When I was younger, I had a tortoiseshell cat, and she was the most beautiful and affectionate cat I have ever had. I still miss her.

The only dark tortie I know is my grandma’s antisocial aggressive cat. I would not try to pet her. And that’s ok. She doesn’t owe me that.

This attitude is only a problem for males who are outraged they can’t pet a cat whenever THEY want.

This attitude is only a problem for males who are outraged they can’t pet a cat whenever THEY want.

So true. This is primarily why I think so many women get along with cats, we respect them as independent creatures with their own feelings and desires. Whereas for many males they believe all things are an extension of themselves. I once dated a guy who would seriously wonder whether or not the whole universe was created just for him!