Tortoiseshell cats

(38 Posts)
PetiteRaleuse Thu 22-Aug-13 07:39:41

I was told the other day that cats with three distinct colours are always female. Is this true? Thinking about it all the tortoiseshells I have known have been female.

lottieandmia Thu 22-Aug-13 16:08:18

Our tortie was definitely crazy (had no white as described above). My parents didn't know what hit them when she came to live at our house - she would always get caught up in some terrible drama because she'd squeeze herself into a tiny space and get her paw stuck or something. She also used to bounce off the wall to get up the stairs - every single time. She walked around hitting random objects with her paw if she heard a strange noise. Oh and she was totally neurotic poor thing. But she was wonderfully entertaining.

Trazzletoes Thu 22-Aug-13 16:52:31

Thanks! Sorry for my confusion - I have always been told (by our vet) that our cats are (1) tortie and (2) tortie and white. I've just looked on Wikipedia and it turns out they are (1) tabby and (2) tabby and white. So is (2) actually calico? Or caliby? It's all a bit too confusing for me!

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 22-Aug-13 18:58:59

Genetics of colour in cats - colour is carried on the X chromosome. In very rare cases you can have a cat that appears male, but actually has klinefelters syndrome due to a genetic mutation allowing it to have three sex chromosomes that is XXY. These rare cats are sterile.
Tabby is a mixture of browns and greys.
Tortie mixture of browns, blacks and ginger also known as Calico in the USA.
White is carried on a different chromosome hence ability to be tabby and white or tortie and white.

CatOfTheDay Fri 23-Aug-13 00:23:31

We have two torties - a dark one with no white bits and a dilute (or blue) one - and a calico (I think of her as calico rather than tortie as she has distinctive multicoloured splodges on a white background!)

The old tortie is definitely mad - when she was a kitten she used to chase all the poor dogs from our street - apart from a border collie that she decided was her friend. She's been a grumpy old cat every since - but has just surprised us by making friends with our new kitten! (She hates kittens.)

Our dilute tortie is a bit of a strange one - she HATES people. Except me. She even hates DP. She comes out and hisses at him every now and again before settling on my knee and purring at me. grin

Our calico is just a nice friendly normal cat! (although she has a ham addiction we need to work on!)

grin @ "ham addiction"

I need a Tortie in my household.

moonbells Fri 23-Aug-13 11:30:01

example cat colours! Trazzle you might have a torbie if your vet is confused...

www.seregiontica.org/Colors/intro.htm

lljkk Fri 23-Aug-13 11:54:23

I can vouch for Dim on the black+white cat, not so sure about the nice bit.

How many people have black cats with tabby stripes within the black? I think that's quite common, too.

Trazzletoes Fri 23-Aug-13 12:24:47

I've tried to upload pics on my profile but the site isn't playing ball and seems to just have 2 pics of cat 1... sad

Nemanemo Fri 23-Aug-13 12:34:13

We had a wonderful tortie kitten until she was run over at eight months old. So friendly she would introduce herself to anyone who came to the house and into absolutely everything - the vet pointed out that she had singed whiskers on one side when we took her for her jabs blush. Must have somehow got into the back of the boiler in the utility where she and her sister slept. She followed me out to the compost bin in the dark one evening and leapt in unnoticed. If I hadn't seen a tiny flash of white, I'd have replaced the lid and heaven knows how long she'd have been in there for. Such a character, I miss her still after five years.

As well as XXY, you can also get male torties if they have two different genotypes within one body. They can either be chimeras (if a ginger and a non-ginger embryo fuse together soon after fertilisation and develop as one kitten with a mix of two different genotypes), or mosaics (hard to explain how it happens but the outcome is similar, here's the wiki page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_%28genetics%29).

Tortie males that are Chimeras and mosaics are probably more common than those that are XXYs, and unlike XXYs they aren't necessarily sterile. But they wouldn't breed more male torties, because the tortie pattern is produced by having two genotypes but each sperm cell can only have one of the two possible genotypes.

The short answer is that you can't have a male tortie that's genetically 'normal'.

But ginger females are genetically normal, just rarer than males because you can only get them from a ginger mum + ginger dad or tortie mum + ginger dad - both parents have to carry ginger. Male gingers though can be produced if either parent carries ginger - so any pairing with either a tortie mum, ginger mum or ginger dad can produce ginger males.

I grew up with a tortie and white cat (aka calico) and she was the most mellow, cheerful cat I've ever known smile

Bluestocking Sat 24-Aug-13 08:20:08

That link is fascinating, OddBoots! I had no idea that one X chromosome in each cell deactivated.

IME both my torties are/have been the most loving and affectionate of cats.

Our gingers are/have been psychotic.

Whites have been affectionate.

Blacks lovely too.

Our black and white cats have been absolute hooligans. The last one we had was a fab hunter, I kept a count of the rabbits he caught and brought home one summer and it amounted to over a hundred. He was very popular in the village grin

sashh Sat 24-Aug-13 08:40:51

You can get male torties but they are very rare.

http://now.msn.com/male-tortoiseshell-cat-is-one-of-the-rarest-in-the-world

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/6092954/Male-tortoiseshell-cat-genetically-impossible.html

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