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.

lljkk Thu 22-Aug-13 07:53:51

yes, thought everyone knew this, lol. Breeders desperate to try to make male Calicos, no luck yet.

? 91% of ginger cats are males.

scottswede Thu 22-Aug-13 07:59:20

I did not know that about gingers. I have 3 beautiful little calico sisters at the moment, their 2 brothers are black and white though.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 22-Aug-13 08:07:10

I have known a ginger female but yes, they do seem to be rare.

Looks like I was the only person not to know that then grin

OddBoots Thu 22-Aug-13 08:17:04

They are the result of absolutely fascinating (to me anyway) epigentic processes resulting from orange and black coat alleles being on the X chromosome.

www.bio.miami.edu/dana/dox/calico.html

PetiteRaleuse Thu 22-Aug-13 08:21:22

I don't quite understand all that but it is interesting. Thanks.

cozietoesie Thu 22-Aug-13 09:15:33

Torties, female, gingers mostly male. That's all you need to know, really.

smile

LisaMWill Thu 22-Aug-13 09:27:53

We had a ginger female. She was the most ginger cat I have ever seen, she even had ginger eyes!

cozietoesie Thu 22-Aug-13 09:38:35

They are going up in numbers. lljkk quoted 91% but I've seen studies with a 75%/25% split. I guess it depends where you're from.

I had thought that it might be the effect of a few right ginger hussies in the feral population but someone (sorry - I forget who) once pointed out that owners like ginger cats and that if they had a ginger female, might be more inclined to let her breed than a cat of another colouring. I think that there might be some truth in that.

NorbertDentressangle Thu 22-Aug-13 09:39:40

Tortoiseshell cats always seem to be a bit bonkers too - we didn't know this until after we had one who was as mad as a box of frogs and then we'd hear all sorts of stories about this being the norm.

They all seemed to be the tortoiseshell ones that don't have any white on them too.

cozietoesie Thu 22-Aug-13 09:43:34

Genetics are fascinating OddBoots. I've sometimes wondered how they got so much tortie gene into the Siamese population for example - but have never pursued the question.

They're called Nortie Torties for a reason grin

My neighbour's Tortie is the naughtiest little bugger ever! She is my Ginger Moron's bestest friend in the world. They roam the street as if an ASBO is just around the corner!

Tortie is in love with my Evil Cat, EC thinks Tortie is beneath her and regularly puts her in her place.

Tortie terrorizes my cat-friendly dog. My dog has had many a beating from Tortie and once when my dad came to the dog's rescue, Tortie turned on him!

She can often be found asleep on top of cars/vans and one time the lamp post outside the house!

She is anything but dull grin

issey6cats Thu 22-Aug-13 10:17:02

yes torties and calicos are always female, we had one male calico in the rescue last year and he was a one in a million cat, and male torties are sterile he was the only male calico that yorkshire cat rescue has seen in 21 years of rescue so very rare, and the myth about ginger cats is all male its about 60% male 40% female my ginger girl was orange tabby from head to toe behaved like a bloke though she was the one who liked hunting, visiting other houses, fighting with anyone who dared come into our garden i do miss her

PetiteRaleuse Thu 22-Aug-13 10:25:30

Really interesting. What about 3 distinct coloured cats that don't have red bits. I have a female tabby who has large white areas, but the male is just your big standard black and brown tabby?

issey6cats Thu 22-Aug-13 12:44:14

tabbies and tabbiy and whites is evens stevens 50/50 and tabbies are usually nice natured, black cats are usually friendly and black and whites tend to be nice but dim

hmm my black cat is evil and my ginger cat is nice but dim..

Wonder if I can get a refund? grin

moonbells Thu 22-Aug-13 13:56:06

I am never going to be convinced that black and whites are dim... I have now lived with two tortoiseshell and whites and two black and whites. The first tortie was utterly bonkers. Used to ambush feet. I could never wear tights or stockings as they'd be laddered in seconds. The second tortie is my current girl and we are still getting to know her. But she is definitely independent and wants to call the shots. Not quite so mad (ex-stray in both cases, neither lapcats). Both B&Ws have been devious, slightly psycho and very intelligent madcaps who purr like mad and like laps. OK one's only 17 weeks so far and psycho could apply to any kitten of that age! grin

FindingSanity Thu 22-Aug-13 15:14:44

Well they say you learn something every day.How interesting! I wasn't aware of that either. I didn't know that about not just torties but gingers also.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 22-Aug-13 15:24:23

Glad I'm not the only one smile

ubik Thu 22-Aug-13 15:30:33

Oh we had an evil black cat

After keeping my black cat overnight (years ago when I was a child) the vet muttered that he was a 'devil' when we came to pick him up.

Vet was right. Our cat was so evil we were actually quite glad when he died (of old age after a very long, luxurious but malevolent life.)

He used to throw himself into the fridge of you opened it, yowl outside the oven if you were cooking chicken. He would chase dogs up the road outside our house. You would wake suddenly in the night with this tremendous weight on your chest to find him sitting on you purring and kneeding you with claws fully extended and if you tried to move him he would try to scratch your eyes out. God help you if he was sleeping on your bed or on the sofa - if you tried to move him he would attack you, hissing. He would fart horrifically and drool all over you if he sat on your lap and you would be too terrified to push him off.

He was an absolutely horrid black cat, but we loved him. Sort of.

Trazzletoes Thu 22-Aug-13 15:37:49

What's the difference between tabby and tortie?

moonbells Thu 22-Aug-13 15:47:44

ubik you owned Scarface Claw, didn't you? grin

Trazzle Tabbies always have an M-shaped mark on their foreheads and look like wildcats. Usually stripey but can have white paws and tummies. Torties are more randomly marked, and white torties can have quite large patches of the same colour along with the white.

LovelyMarchHare Thu 22-Aug-13 16:01:16

I had a ginger female who was run over when she was about 3. She was beautiful. Had very soft and silky fur whereas I think some males are a bit wiry

LovelyMarchHare Thu 22-Aug-13 16:01:43

I had a ginger female who was run over when she was about 3. She was beautiful. Had very soft and silky fur whereas I think some males are a bit wiry

FindingSanity Thu 22-Aug-13 16:06:45

Moonbells, my tabby does indeed have that stripe on the forehead. More noticeable when he was a kitten though. He's white pawed and white bib.

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

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now