One of the distinctive features of a tortie is her strong and forceful personality, which is often known as 'Tortitude'. Although there is no scientific evidence to support this, Tortoiseshell cat owners will usually have plenty of Tortitude stories to tell if you give them a chance!
Tortoiseshell Cat Personality
Torties are very possessive of their owners, and will often greet them when they come home from school or work with a raised tail and a demand for strokes and lots of attention, often accompanied by a loud purring.
If her tail is raised, then this is a form of greeting so make sure that you give her plenty of cuddles and she will probably follow you around the house for a while.
She will be particuarly interested in the weekly shopping or any new purchases that you may have made, and very keen to get in the shopping bags!
Tortitude usually means that your cat will get what she wants, or she will certainly do her best to get your attention while trying. She will also probably be very bold and curious - she will want to know what is going on when any visitors come to the house and will be keen to help the delivery men or anyone trying to read the gas meter!
But tortitude can also mean that it feels like your cat has a split personality, she can be sitting on your lap enjoying your company and then suddenly turn and attack you for no particular reason.
Some examples of Tortitude
We asked our Tortie Club members to send through some examples of when their tortie has shown some tortitude and these were just some of the replies we received:
Rosemary sent in these details about her tortie 'Stormee Starr':
"Miss Stormee Starr was rescued in 2019 in a storm drain located in a commercial nursery in Las Vegas Nevada. She was estimated to be about 8 to 10 weeks. She was very frightened and showed she had tortitude from day one.
When I tried to pick her up she immediately bit me and hissed. When my granddaughter tried to give her a bath, she lunged at her from the water like super cat.
We all had a good laugh. After a few weeks she settled down and started to play with her feline brother Jackson and her canine brothers Cooper, Marty and Jacob. Stormee loved to knead me especially when I was sitting on the sofa and lying in bed.
She would jump on me, meow knead me and fall asleep. She knew what she wanted and could get feisty if she didn’t get it.When she was about four months old she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. She had to take multiple heart medications and frequently had to go to the vet. Though all this she never lost her little tenacious spirit. At four months she became Tortie of the Week. We were all so proud of our little princess. Stormee loved her life and our family. Our little girl lost her fight and left us in April 2019. She was our beautiful princess and we will always keep her in our hearts."
Sheri sent us these details of Molly O:
Molly O had the most gigantic Princess Tortitude! She could actually “sniff out” her freshly laundered blankies. I ended up with about 20 for her, because, in addition to her blankies being freshly laundered, one layer of blankies was not squishy enough for Princess Molly O.
She had 6 special lounging areas throughout the house & each one had to have 3 layers of freshly laundered blankies. You see, she had 6 lounging areas, because if one wasn’t fresh & squishy enough she would waddle over to Princess palette number 2 or Princess palette number 3 or 4 or 5 or 6, until one was juuust riiight.
Princess Molly O even had her own exclusive loads of laundry. Now that is TOR•TI•TUDE!!
Liadaan, from Victoria in Australia sent us these details of her tortie, Mayora:
My tortie called Mayora runs the house. She dictates when it is time to get up, go to bed as well as meal times naturally.
She even waits at the bathroom door to tell me to wash my hands after going to the toilet. She calls me to come and clean her tray after she has used it. She can be affectionate at times but often traps me by rolling onto her back and then biting my hand very hard.
She is an indoor cat and she cries for me when I go out to the garden and races to the door to greet me when I arrive home after an outing. She growls like a tiger when the postman walks up the drive. When she is awaiting her meal she does acrobatics to get my attention.
She jumps up and down on the spot and jumps up against the wall and rolls over on the floor. She is a real character.
Finally, we also wanted to share some details of Flo who is our very own tortie and inspired this website!
Flo has loads of tortitude - she is very friendly most of the time but you have to watch out if she is in the mood as sometimes she can just leap and scratch you for no reason!
Our favourite tortitude story is from when we went on holiday and made the mistake of closing all of the bedroom doors so this meant that Flo couldn't sleep on any of the beds.
Flo decided she didn't like this, so she moved out and went to stay with one of the neighbours while we were away! Luckily they are good friends of ours, and they recognised Flo as our cat.
Apparently she made herself at home at the neighbours house and slept on their beds instead.
When we got home, the neighbours brought her back round and Flo walked into the house, tail up - as if nothing had happened!
Tortitude is the unique personality of tortoiseshell cats and part of what makes us love them so much - we wouldn't have it any other way!