The Law of Torts
(image via: Catonsville Cats)
Tortiseshell Cats are distinctive in other ways as well, chiefly when it comes to their personalities. Along with Calico Cats (although to a greater degree according to some owners), Torties typically display fierce devotion to their owners verging on obsessive possessiveness, frequent and varied vocalizing, quick tempers, and strong-willed independence. At one point Tortoiseshell owners must have compared notes resulting in the cluster of personality traits being lumped together as Tortitude.
While the perceived phenomenon of Tortitude is recent in origin, Tortoiseshell Cats have a long history of human interaction that has led to the formation of a number of legends regarding them. In Japan, for example, a common superstition among fishermen was that Tortoiseshell Cats brought protection from sudden storms at sea.
Have you ever dreamed of a Tortoiseshell Cat, or has one ever appeared in your dreams? If so, you might look forward to being lucky in love! The ancient Egyptians believed that a cat entering one’s home was an omen of good luck while the Celtic tribes of Europe and the British Isles restricted the effect to male Tortoiseshell Cats who not only came to their homes but stayed. More prosaically, an English old wive’s tale specified warts could be healed by rubbing them with the tail of a male Tortoiseshell Cat tail during the month of May.
These days, Tortoiseshell Cats are appreciated for their own particular and peculiar qualities. They make excellent pets for those who don’t mind their cats going out and staying out for extended periods as their independence factors into their being less needy pets. Introducing new cats to an established Tortie takes some extra effort, however, though such efforts usually pay off in the long term.
Tortoiseshell Cats have been in the news of late – at least, one has. Venus, a three year old “two-faced” Tabby, achieved stardom on YouTube this past summer with well over a million viewers checking out her video. She’s appeared on the Today Show and has her own Facebook page.
(image via: Geekologie)
Venus doesn’t actually have two faces, rather the fur one one side of her head and body is typical Tabby on one side and Tortoiseshell on the other. As well, the eye on the Tabby side is blue while the other eye is green! Venus may not be a classic Tortoiseshell Cat though it would take DNA testing to prove she’s a chimera, which results from two early embryos fusing at an early stage of development.
(images via: Rodmer.com)
On the other hand (or paw), many otherwise average Tortoiseshell Cats show some degree of bilateral differentiation which is most pronounced on the head and face. Check out Kiisu (above), a Tortoiseshell Cat from southern Ontario. Kiisu displays a black bar running from her nose to her forehead and other color divisions on her neck and chest.
(images via: The Warrior Cats Clan Roleplay and The New Warriors)
Last but not least, there are Tortoiseshell Cats with white patches of fur though purists refer to these as Tortoiseshell-and-White Cats in the UK and Calico Cats in the USA. Depending on the aforementioned genetics and the additional influence of genes strengthening or diluting fur color, literally dozens of names have been concocted by owners and breeders. As for their Tortitude, that will vary from one cat to another as well.
(image via: Worth1000)
Ready to come out of your shell and get a Tortie of your own? As with all kittens and puppies as well, choosing the right source is the best place to start. Support your reputable local breeder and note that although most male Tortoiseshell Cats are sterile as a result of their having an XXY chromosome pattern, others are perfectly viable so use your discretion and spay as required.