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Calico's and Torties

November 10th, 2007, 09:37 AM
I see online with alot of shelters and rescues, when there is a calico or tortie up for adoption that they request someone who is "familiar with the calico temperament"
I have a diluted tortie and yes she is a freak and slightly odd most of the time, but I have no idea why they say she would need someone who understand them.
What are they talking about?
Does anyone have any good info or links that explain this more??
Im just curious, im not looking at adopting a cat ( I have enough) but I like to browse around and see who is in need of a home, this has just been bugging me a bit.

November 10th, 2007, 09:43 AM
I see online with alot of shelters and rescues, when there is a calico or tortie up for adoption that they request someone who is "familiar with the calico temperament"

:confused: but isn't calico and tortie just a colour ? It's like asking for people with experience with black cats .... I did have a calico female (my Missy :rip:) and yes she wasn't very social but it had nothing to do with her colour ! :confused:

So I second your question.

November 10th, 2007, 09:55 AM
i dunno but I have a calico and she's a little difficult :rolleyes: But I'm sure that if she was all white she'd still act like a little spoiled princess :laughing::laughing:

November 10th, 2007, 10:04 AM
Thats why im baffled too Frenchy, its just a color...
I am on a hunt for information on this, it confuses me, its like saying that a tabby is a certain way, I have many tabbys and none of them are anything alike, Larry is much like Mia, even though he is a tabby and she is a dil tortie, I think its more from being born of a feral mother who was probably skiddish and what not which is why the 2 of them are odd.
I just dont understand the color thing.

November 10th, 2007, 11:34 AM
If you google 'tortoiseshell cat', there's lots of info which supports this. It may just be one of those myths that takes on a life of its own. But I have to say that Coco is quite a touchy girl, almost feral. No cuddles allowed. A bit of a loner. Bitey! I'm hoping she's just had bad experiences with humans and will come around....:sad:

Latest pic. Wonderful to see that boney spine begin to disappear.

November 10th, 2007, 01:10 PM
I had a tortie for 14 years (RIP Speck). She was my first cat so I had nothing to compare her to, but she was moody, she swatted and hissed at people she didn't like (my mom! lol). She loved me and my siblings though, very affectionate, loved to be petted and brushed, you could get her to follow you anywhere if you had her brush in your hand. I don't hink she was really any different than the cats I have now, every cat has their own distict personality.

November 10th, 2007, 06:06 PM
The only thing I know for sure about these cats is that they are always female. I would imagine that your vet may be able to give you an explanation to this question. Since he has seen many cats and heard it all. I have a tortoiseshell cat and she is now 10, adopted at the S.P.C.A. at the age of 2. She actually adopted us. She is nice natured, so I don't know where this "reputation" came from? She gets along well with all my foster cats. My other cat hates them! I think that a cat's history sometimes can make them weird or scared! Here is a picture of my two girls. Click on image to enlarge. (

November 10th, 2007, 09:08 PM
I'm not sure what they mean either. My calico, Squeakie is a bit of a princess. She demands all the attention and really doesn't like the other cats much, including her sister Mookie. She is in love with the big indoor/outdoor stray Max however. Probably because she rarely gets to see him up close.


November 10th, 2007, 11:04 PM
I have a Tortie & had a Calico (both @ the same time too :eek:) This is all either speculation &/or personal experience

The main thing with the temperment is their reactions to other cats, dogs, most especially people. Not all Calicos & Torties have Tortitude though ;)
I think there must be something in the genes that determines @ least part of temperment as well as many other things too (like the Vocal Siamese) - afterall almost 100% of C & T are female (if male often sterile) & almost 100% of Orange Tabbies are male (if female often sterile)

Often times vets have found torties & calicos to be "difficult" patients - they attack more often than not & apparently more than other cats - however my Tortie Duffy & Calico :rip: Mischief are/were model patients barely even meowing while there. Many of these cats have way more attitude (Tortitude :D) than other colours, will attack/swat unprovoked or after a bit of playing. T & C usually have a great amount of confidence & independance & unpredictability which may lead some to think they have more of a bad attitude :shrug:

With my grrls I have always played with ears/tail/feet/belly etc to get them used to being handled - you should've seen my hands when they were kittens - totally covered in scratches (no scars though) Both had alot of Tortitude when younger but also major mushy cats too love to be cuddled. The Tortitude in Duffy has def lessened with age but she will let me know if playtime has gone too far for her liking (or she doesn't want her belly scratched) - she will bite/kick repeatedly until I tell her "Time-out" then she will calm a bit, allow me to pet her a couple of times & then I leave her be.

Now on the other hand my mum's neighbour has a little all black cat who will without warning attack your feet as walk past her & she bites hard for a little thing, if your playing with her again no warning & she attacks or you pet her down the back towards her tail, she attacks - however this is also a cat that is only allowed in 2-3 rooms of the house cuz neighbours kids have allergies & as a kitten was never accustomed to being handled alot ie having her feet/tail/ears/belly played with to get her used to it.

November 11th, 2007, 02:43 AM
My torty, Millie is the sweetest natured cat you will ever come across, she likes to play rough, but never leaves a mark on you, shejust licks you to death, her sister Mannie who lives in our village bowls hut, is also really soft, she chases the bowls as you throw them down the green, her kittens (she has now been spayed) are both torties and live with a friend are also really sweet. Manie was rehomed but came back to the bowls hut, she likes it there, she is fed twice a day and has a cat house(complete with heating in the winter).

My ginger female - not a white mark to be seen, is a vicious little thing and will have your hand off as much as look at you, but then you wake up in the middle of the night and she is snuggled into your neck -purring and all is forgiven.

Ive had all sorts of cats, and its down to individual temprement.

marsupial mama
November 11th, 2007, 08:16 AM
our kitty is a calico and when we got her from the shelter (8 weeks old) and had her checked out, the vet told us that calicos have a strong character so we had to be prepared to be bossed about.

kitty spent most of the summer h*** bent on escaping and drove us batty. but she seems to have calmed down a bit now. she is not a cuddle cat by any means and doesn't like to be held. but she will follow us around and hang out wherever we are, and she greets us in the morning and when we come in. she's very vocal so I wonder if there is some meezer in the mix. She is most fond of DH who was the most resistant to pet ownership. ironic.

she won;t let us clip her claws and fights the brush when it's grooming time. I found a pet grooming service in the neighbourhood that takes care of the claw clipping :)

we had tuxedo cats when I was a kid and seem to remember them being more agreeable to sitting on people's laps than our calico kitty. a friend had a male tabby who was constantly subjected to being dressed up by her kids and pushed around in a pram. I can't imagine our kitty ever even thinking of allowing any child to get away with that! my youngest wants to pick her up all the time but I tell her to let her go as soon as she squirms or meows. Kitty will also swat or nip if playtime has gone on too long, but she doesn;t seem to really "mean it". she likes to jump on the desk when I am working and get in my face so I can;t see the computer screen.

I haven't had enough cats in my life to know if this is typical of a calico, but I;ve heard the stereotypes. My kitty is certainly feisty, knows her own mind and does what suits her, not necessarily what we want her to do. But I thought that was a cat thing in general! :cat:

November 13th, 2007, 10:06 AM
Calicos and Torties have the same type of personality as all my females. It has been my experience that my female cats in general, are not as social as males and seem to rule the house and everybody, in it lol.

November 18th, 2007, 06:08 AM
We just adopted a tortoise shell and she's the sweetest cat!

She loves my other cats (even if they don't love her sometimes, lol) and loves to cuddle and sleep in bed with us.

My grandmother used to have a calico and it was also very sweet. I grew up with this cat, it lived 19 years and was very social with everyone.

So, I think any speculation as to whether calicos and torties are any less social than other cats is just that - speculation. I've known a lot of black cats, tabby cats, and any color you could name that were pretty much feral or didn't like socializing with people or other cats. I've known cats of just about every color that were completely the opposite of that.

I do know a lot of people that think calicos and torties aren't that pretty. Because of that they may be more likely to not be socialized at an early age and form a bond to people since they're not as popular and wouldn't get as much attention maybe. That may be part of the reputation. Other than that, I can't figure out why they'd have a reputation for being anything but a normal cat, as I've never heard anything negative about them until this thread.

November 18th, 2007, 07:46 AM
I had a Tortie years ago and I honestly think it's a female kitty thing,no matter what the colour and not all females.
My Cookie loved Sammy,a longhaired male I had,but she certainly had Tortitude.:cat:
The two of them were two peas in a pod and we buried Cookie right beside Sammy after they passed,a few months apart.

November 27th, 2007, 01:43 PM
Even if it's "only a coloring", I can definitely vouch for many of personality traits one often reads about them from a running 8 year experience with my first headstrong and opinionated tortie.

Sweetness: She is, by far and without a doubt, the sweetest cat that has ever owned me. Very affectionate and loves being pet, though she's not a lap cat at all (minus the cold months when she can be rather insistent about it, but that's merely because I'm a convenient heating pad). She'll follow me around like a puppy some days, always sitting within a few feet of where I am. When it's her time on her terms (standard cat procedure), she can be very insistent about attention and lovin'... almost to the point of seeming needy sometimes.

Nervous/jumpy: She's always been dubbed "nervous cat". Sudden noises will often make her jump out of her skin. I adopted her as a very young kitten and she's exclusively an indoor cat, so I know she's never been abused or subject to anything in the environment to merit the reaction. I've always sort of assumed it's because she's a very small cat and the nervousness is just a survival trait, but I've recently read about this as a notorious tortie trait.

Hyperactive: Many mornings she'll suddenly let out a low, crazed growl, fluff the fur to twice her size, and tear around the apartment at top speed. When she was younger and I had hardwood floors, she would ricochet off the furniture and walls like a skateboarder... going 8 different directions before flying off down the hall.

"tortitude": You get to know the look in the eyes when they've got the devil in 'em. She's definitely a biter, not so much a scratcher/swatter. She's usually very very shy around new people, generally choosing to hide until they leave. But she warms up after she gets to know certain peoples' voices and has had a chance to peek around the corner at them a few times to make sure they're not an ogre. She has bitten a couple of guests out of the blue, just milliseconds after purring and being affectionate with them. It catches them off guard because she seems so shy, then lovey, and then WHAM! Their response is always "she didn't give me any warning" to which I respond "that was your warning!". Just her way of being assertive. She will not bite me while petting her, but she will definitely in other circumstances... whether playing or just a "don't bother me" message. Always just enough to leave a little mark but rarely draw any blood. Even after being bit, I have always been able to cool her down immediately with a "don't be mean, give me a kiss". She'll kiss the tip of my finger, I'll let her be, and all is well. She's also very quick to hiss at strangers that get too close or even me if she knows we're going to the vet. She's never been a seriously rough cat, however, and I've always discouraged that by stopping play if she starts down that path. She's assertive and headstrong but not out to completely amputate anything.

She's the first cat I've ever been around that's a true comedian. She knows how to be funny to get a reaction like no other cat I've ever been around. She'll leap from behind a corner when I'm walking down the hall and follow me... alternately swatting my back foot every step of the way. As soon as I turn around she takes off like a rocket. Sure, all cats have attitude and all cats get hyper but there's definitely something different about the stereotypical tortie. I'm not sure I can fully describe it but you know it once you've experienced it. She's actually always been very well behaved at the vet despite the fights to get her there. The vet techs love her, and say she is very well behaved for a tortie. Their reputation definitely seems to be earned through experience. Why? Heck, who knows why. Just be prepared when you meet them. As a "cat person" I've been around a lot of 'em and they all have distinct personalities for sure, but this one is unique in ways I've just never been able to adequately describe. But other tortie folks seem to just nod and laugh knowingly.

November 28th, 2007, 12:35 AM
I'm not sure I can fully describe it but you know it once you've experienced it.

;) I think you did a pretty good job of describing my girl Duffy :D

November 28th, 2007, 07:17 AM
yep, sounds just like Frances. and NOT like Hunter, Shadow and Baby Girl one bit!! none of our other cats are nippers (she never hurts but you know she is thinking about it) or zoomers if she doesnt instigate it... :) but she is *quite* sweet. just very CAT if that makes any sense.


November 28th, 2007, 08:00 AM
I have a 7 year old Calico.Female and spayed.Man she has been a hard one from the begining.And she can be a sweetheart one minute,then a little devil the next.She will come to you on her own terms.And Phoenix is NOT a sweetheart at the vets.Hisses,growls and spits.She has even bitten my dad quite a few times.And she lives with him.So yeah she bites the hand that feeds her.:eek:

With me I have a 3 1/2 year old female/spayed buff brown tabby.Winnie is the most loveable cat.She loves the attention.And she barely meows.She is good as gold.

Now Casper,4 year old male/neutered,well he too is different.He's was born deaf(pure white/blue eyes).He's our special boy..:)

He's been pretty aggressive at times and has been since he was a kitten.But he can also be the most loveable cat also.His aggression isn't as bad since we adopted Winnie.But he sure can bite.And vocal,holly cow.But I have been told it's because he can't hear himself.Yeah well i'm sure the whole street can hear him..........:rolleyes:

My sister had a tortie 13 years.Muffin was the most loveable cat.Not a mean streak in her.She accepted all the cats,and even the new ones.And LOVED the dogs.

November 28th, 2007, 09:27 AM
Mona,nice to hear from you again:thumbs up
I did not know you had 3 cats:confused:

November 28th, 2007, 09:58 AM
Thank you chico.:)

Phoenix is my little she devil when I was living in Toronto.When I moved here I took the dogs and left her with Daddy so he wouldn't be lonely.Actually,he didn't want me to take her.;)..I still pay the vet bills and for the food,litter.Nothing comes out of his pocket.:)

I posted a pic of her quite some time ago.They were the before and after pics of her shave...She was not impressed..LOL

December 16th, 2007, 12:02 AM
I don't know if I believe the colour stereotypes either, but some of them are so accurate!

My dad's tortie is definitely a loner. She's a typical cat; friendly when she wants to be, otherwise leave her alone! She's not mean, but she definitely lives by her own rules.

In horses, supposedly all chestnut mares are moody and nasty. I don't know some that are, some that aren't...I think it's more a mare thing than a chestnut thing, though.

I don't really like the fact that shelters/breeders/whatever are specifically seeking "tortie/calico friendly homes" because that's only endorsing the stereotype and possibly preventing people from adopting a cat that could be the perfect pet for them.

I know that each breed is of animal is known to act a certain way...and I definitely wouldn't suggest that a laidback person in an apartment adopt a border collie :p but I think it's more important to get to know the animal and its personality rather than skipping it altogether because it might live up to its breed/colour's stereotpye.

December 22nd, 2007, 10:39 AM
Having worked in a vet clinic I can say that we are afffffffrraid of calico's and torties!
Most of them are evil when them come to the vets...yes there are exceptions, yes they are sooo nice at home... at the vets they are pure evil! Taking blood off them is so scary, taking blood off cats is usually a quick 5 seconds deal but then you get these girls...and you need to wear big gloves and they tend to bite and scratch so much more than other cats!

My vet likes the less is more method..less restaint, less gropping, less stress for the cat but these girls make it difficult.
Our clinic cat is a tortie and after 3 years now she is starting to settle down. I usually say it's the red we say that women with red hair are more fiery than others, same goes for these girls... nothing has been proven scientifically of course!!!:laughing: