June 19, 2022

Calico vs Tortoiseshell Cats: The Difference Between These Two Beautiful Felines

Do you know the difference between a calico cat and tortoiseshell cat? These two types of cats are both beautiful, but they have some key differences. In this blog post, we will discuss the characteristics of both calico and tortoiseshell cats, as well as the pros and cons of each type. We will help you decide which type of cat is right for you!

What is a calico cat?

A calico cat is a domestic cat with a coat that is typically 25% white, with large patches of black and orange or red. The pattern is not linked to any particular breed, but the term "calico cats" is often used in the United States to refer to tri-color cats.

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the pattern is known as tortoiseshell-and-white. Calico cats are almost always female, due to a chromosomal abnormality that results in male calico cats being sterile.

However, male calico cats do occasionally occur, and are much sought-after by enthusiasts. Although their flashy coats may be their most striking feature, calico cats are also known for their independent spirits and strong wills!

What is a tortoiseshell cat?

A tortoiseshell cat is a feline with a coat that consists of large patches of black and orange fur. They're also known as "tortie" cats colloquially. The coloring is created by a genetic mutation, and it usually occurs in females.

In the US, tortie cats are only considered tortie cats if they don't hate any white fur; in other countries, calicos (as defined above) may be referred to as tortie cats. It's all a little bit confusing.

Tortoiseshell cats are known for their independent nature, and they often have a strong will of their own. They are also very affectionate, and they enjoy being around people. Although they are not as common as other types of cats, tortoiseshell cats make wonderful pets for those who are looking for an independent feline friend.

Are tortoiseshell cats and calico cats different breeds?

Generally, no. A calico cat and/or a tortoiseshell cat are really just coloring determinations. They aren't special breeds. Any average street cat can be tortoiseshell and calico colored. The cat's coat coloring is really the determinate of those labels.

Can there be male cats with tortoiseshell and calico coloring?

Yes, but they're rare. The genes that produce the special colorings make a male tortie very rare. In fact, most tortoiseshell cats are female because the coloring is linked with a certain chromosome - the X chromosome.

You need two X chromosomes to produce tortoiseshell cats. So a male tortoiseshell is likely XXY genetically, which is just very rare for a male cat or male cats in general. In other words - you'll see a lot more female tortoiseshell and calico cats than males.

When should I get a tortoiseshell cat or calico cat?

If you're looking for an affectionate but independent feline friend, any cat color will do. Although various cat colors have been anecdotally tied to personality traits, it hasn't been proven. So don't believe people when they say that every orange tabby is friendly; or every tortoiseshell tabby is mean. It really just depends on the individual cat, breed, and personality.

My favorite coloring is actually the dilute tortoiseshell cats. Dilute tortoiseshell cats have a beautiful soft coat with patches of gray, blue, and cream. They're very beautiful cats, and I recommend them to anyone looking for a new feline friend! I have never had one, but I do have a no-tail tortie cat in my home who definitely lives up to the hype.

Am I now a crazy cat lady because I know the difference?

Definitely not. The cat world welcomes all sorts of people, and rescue cats are some of the best pets we can have. I've loved all of the cats in my house, even if they haven't been special cat breeds. Every tabby pattern is unique, and the tortoise shell pattern is exceptionally pretty.

Whether you have a calico, tabby cat, a horde of tortoiseshell cats, or something in between - I'm sure that you have some special cats in your household.

What do you think? Do you have a preference between tortoiseshell cats and calico cats? What about male and female cats? Let us know in the comments below!

And of course, check out our stickers of torties. My tortoiseshell and calico stickers are all modeled after real cats I own, not cat breeds found in a book or on the web.

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