Does Your Cat Have Tortitude?

While experts debate the accuracy of the science, cat moms and dads consistently report key personality traits associated with the color of their cat’s coat, which is dictated by genetic makeup. 

Orange(also called red) cats, which tend to be male, also tend to be more loving, vocal, and pettable, and are known for their patience with people, once they get to know and trust them.

Black cats are often the last to get adopted, and whether they are lucky or unlucky because of their coat color is up for debate, but what parents of black cats say is that these are quiet, shy, sensitive, and loving creatures.

White cats may take a little longer to build that human-cat bond, but once it’s there, cat parents say it’s there for life. Unfortunately for those not inside that circle of trust, white cats may seem shy, distant, and even aggressive.

Tortoiseshell cats, which are usually female, are sometimes described as feisty, demanding, and loud, and not uncommonly called a princess—a reputation that spawned a trait called “tortitude”. Though they may act standoffish to strangers, once they bond with their humans tortoiseshell cats will likely soften up, with gentle, playful nibbling and clawing.

Grey cats, while solitary, are also described as quite playful and fun-loving, enjoying human affection. Parents say these good-natured cats also have a calm, very chill side, for which some might even call them lazy.

So while there may not be solid scientific evidence, many pet parents do see trends in their cats’ behavior. Either way, all cats deserve to be treated like a good kitty. And remember, just like with everyone you meet, it’s better to get to know them rather than judge their personality by their appearance. 

6 thoughts on “Does Your Cat Have Tortitude?

  • Marie
    January 8, 2019 at 10:59 am

    I have 2 black cats who are the first untrainable, wild crazy creatures I’ve ever had. My grey cat is a quiet, sweet lap cat. My tortie was the most loving critter ever. This personality matching the fur color business is just silly.

  • Tracy Wyttenberg
    January 8, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    My orange male is exactly that, and has the most character of any cat I’ve ever had. He’s wonderful.

  • Mary
    January 8, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Had a calico (no one seems to have mentioned them) who ruled the roost. She was also a purebred Manx. She was very smart and a super watch cat–chased any other cats or dogs, including huge ones, off our property. At one point, we had 4 litters of kittens—3 were ours and one from a neighbor whose cat was hit by a car. She survived but couldn’t nurse, so we put them in with ours and 2 of our cats (both daughters of the Manx) fed whoever. Figaro ( my 4 year old named her–she didn’t realize it was a male name) carefully took each of her 4 kittens out and relocated them elsewhere; she wasn’t feeding anything that wasn’t hers! She lived to be almost 20 and was pretty feisty til the end.
    Much later, I was adopted by a very unusual solid black cat;he INSISTED on becoming mine which is why we named him Chutzpah. He certainly wasn’t anything like the description above. He made friends with everyone with no hesitation. He was very bold and somehow knew how to stop traffic when he wanted to cross the street. He loved to accompany me and the dog on walks–sometimes as far as a few miles. He was also comfortable with being lent out for the night to folks who’d seen a mouse and were freaking out. He’d spend the night on their couches and, when let out in the AM, knew exactly how to get home.

  • dani cadzow
    January 8, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    I have had a rainbow of kitties over the years and find the above descriptions hold 80-90% true. I have two torties ladies and a big ginger tabby boy currently and they’d fall into the descriptions. I’d add one more though the smartest cats I’ve ever been around have been the tabbies with black strips and rufous undertones think they might be called Mackerel incredible kitties. Though I have to give special shout outs to my ginger tabby girl who was a feisty tiny girl was with me for 21 yrs, my tortie boy with a ginger cross on his head hugely sweet not too bright but a real little sweetie, and my all white lady who for 3 yrs made me laugh hysterically everyday and loved everyone she met but sadly died of lymphoma too young. My life has been richer having known all of them.

  • Anita Biers
    January 8, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Don’t forget the tabby and tuxedo. Tabby cats are usually friendly and outgoing (well,l my big male cat was quiet the snob!) and tuxedos are just plain wonderful. They are friendly and drawn to people and most other cats. Torties and calicos do have “catitude” but that’s not always the case. Anyway they are all just wonderful!

  • Theresa Corrigan
    January 8, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    I have lived with all colors of cats and I find this categorization of temperament according to hair color to be bunk. My most loving cat is black. I have had a number of orange females, including one now who is quite aloof. And so on.

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