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A Guide To Female Tortoiseshell Cat Personality And Behavior

A Guide To Female Tortoiseshell Cat Personality And Behavior

Tortoiseshell cats are something truly special in the feline world.

Rather than being a specific breed, they are characterized by their coat pattern, which resembles the shell of a tortoise. These cats have bi-colored coats that typically consist of ginger red and black patches, although other colors like orange, cream, and gold can also be present.

But their coat isn’t the only interesting thing about these cats. One of the most fascinating things about them is that most of them are females. Actually, you’ll have to be pretty lucky to find a male tortoiseshell – since only 1 out of 3,000 of these cats are males!

This happens due to the genetics of the tortoiseshell coat.

Another unique fact about these felines is their personality, attitude, and behavior. Let us explore what makes the female tortoiseshell cat’s personality so extraordinary!

Female Tortoiseshell Cat Personality Traits

Tortoiseshell cat outdoors

Tortoiseshell cats, often referred to as torties, are beautiful for sure, but, future owners would certainly also want to know more about their personalities.

This is one of the most important things you should consider when choosing a cat that will live in your household.

So, let’s see what personality traits you can expect to find in a female tortoiseshell cat.

Highly Active And Energetic

These cats are extremely active and energetic. They always need to have something to do, so they will be happy with active families, who will have enough time to dedicate to these lively furry companions.

Female tortoiseshell cats may be overwhelming for individuals seeking calm and quiet pets.

They have an immense amount of energy, and are always up for playing, running, and jumping.


These cats are also known to be highly independent.

They are strong-willed, and always want to have things their own way. Consequently, training them to follow your specific instructions can be quite challenging.

Torties can also be described as feisty and even unpredictable, making it a genuine adventure to have them in your home!

Of course, some people might consider this trait as a negative one, since it might be challenging to live with a cat like this.

But, it’s all part of the tortoishell’s cat charming nature!


Living with a female tortie also means being prepared for loud vocalizations.

So, you can expect this cat to meow back at you, and to produce different sounds, especially when they aren’t happy about something, and they want to make a statement.

In addition to meowing, there are other types of feline vocalizations. Chloé Tavernier and her associates [1] explain the following vocalizations in cats and their meanings:

• Caterwaul: This is a loud pitch that usually indicates some kind of warning in cats.

• Chatter: This is a low-amplitude, smacking sound that cats produce when they’re looking at their prey.

• Chirp: This is a short, high-pitched sound that indicates a cat wants or needs something.

Take a look at this video featuring a vocal tortie below.

Loving With Their Humans

Tortoiseshell cats are independent and even sassy, but they are also incredibly affectionate towards their owners.

They love to spend time with their humans, and are always up for a play session with them!

So, despite their not not-so-easy-going personalities, female torties are still popular pets.

Can The Coat Coloring Determine A Cat’s Personality?

Tortoiseshell cat with green eyes

Now you know roughly what to expect from a tortoiseshell cat’s personality. But can we predict with certainty what this cat will be like, since it is not a specific breed, but only a fur pattern?

Not really, according to the Spruce Pets: A litter of cats can include a black kitten, an orange kitten, and a tortie kitten, for example. They are siblings and are likely to have things in common, even though their coats are different.

Still, there have been some interesting studies in this area. Mónica Teresa González-Ramírez and René Landero-Hernández [2] investigated the association between cat coat color and personality traits among cat owners in Mexico.

Study results showed that cat owners perceive orange cats as trainable, calm, and friendly. Gray cats are considered shy and intolerant, while tri-colored cats are seen as stubborn.

Of course, this is only one study that included 211 pet parents. This sample is too small to take its results as 100% reliable and to use them as confidential data for the link between coat color and cat personality.

There was also another study conducted by Elizabeth Stelow and her associates [3]. They observed the relationship between coat color and aggressive behaviors in domestic cats, by collecting answers from 1,274 cat owners online.

These researchers reported how cat owners find tortoiseshell, calicos, and torbie cats as more frequently aggressive toward humans than other house cats. 

Still, it’s also important to observe some other factors that might influence the personality and behavior of female tortoiseshell cats – rather than just their coat pattern.

What Factors Influence The Female Tortoiseshell Cat’s Personality?

tortoiseshell Tortie cat by brick wall


Different breeds can have the tortoiseshell coat pattern, such as the British Shorthair, American Shorthair, Maine Coon, and Persian.

So, if you have a Maine Coon in a tortie pattern, this cat is likely to be gentle, affectionate, and playful – which are the common traits of the Maine Coon breed. Of course, this cat might also manifest some of the common Maine Coon behavioral problems.

The International Cat Association describes the British Shorthair as a loyal and devoted companion that loves to snuggle up with her humans. Therefore, a female British Shorthair with the tortie pattern might also have these awesome traits!


Early socialization is another crucial factor for a female tortoiseshell cat’s personality.

This starts while a cat is still in a cattery. If you have bought your kitten from a reputable breeder, there is a good chance your kitten has already been socialized with different people, children, and other animals.

This makes her adaptation to your home easier, and increases the probability of her getting used to her new living surroundings quickly.

On the other hand, if you’re unfamiliar with your cat’s background, you can’t be sure about her previous experience and the level of her socialization. 

Cats like these might be more afraid of people, and hard to make connections with. They could even show aggressive behavior as a defense mechanism against strangers. 

It might take some time for this cat to trust you, but the waiting will pay off!


These cats’ appearance makes them stand out from the rest, but the female tortoiseshell cat personality is something even more special!

These cats are sassy, independent, highly energetic, and vocal. They aren’t the easiest cats to handle, but, at the same time, they are very loving and loyal to their owners.

Remember that this cat’s personality isn’t only determined by its coat pattern. There are additional factors to consider, such as the cat breed, and early socialization.

Of course, it’s also important how you treat your tortie. If you want to make her docile and delightful to live with, you’ll need to provide her with decent socialization, a lot of space, and mental and physical stimulation to satisfy her high energy.

I hope you’ve liked the description of this puckish cat. Can you imagine living with a female tortie? Share your thoughts with us!


[1] Tavernier C, Ahmed S, Houpt KA, Yeon SC. Feline vocal communication. J Vet Sci. 2020 Jan;21(1):e18. DOI, Retrieved July 11, 2023.

[2] González-Ramírez MT, Landero-Hernández R. Cat Coat Color, Personality Traits and the Cat-Owner Relationship Scale: A Study with Cat Owners in Mexico. Animals (Basel). 2022 Apr 15;12(8):1030. DOI, Retrieved July 11, 2023.

[3] Stelow EA, Bain MJ, Kass PH. The Relationship Between Coat Color and Aggressive Behaviors in the Domestic Cat. J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 2016;19(1):1-15. DOI, Retrieved July 11, 2023.

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