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 Tortitiude stories to tell if you give them a chance!

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 attach you for no particular reason. Tortitude is part of what makes us love Tortoiseshell cats so much and makes them an important part of the home – we wouldn’t have it any other way!

What do you think about Tortitude? Does you cat have it? Let us know your Tortitude stories.

Category: Torties

33 thoughts on “Tortitude

  1. My freya is a blessing and a curse. She absolutely adores me in a favorite servant kind a way and is 90 percent spaz and 10 percent chill. Very smart loves to be chased.

  2. Philip Le Roux on said:

    Our tortie loves nothing more than going round beating up the local toughs on the estate. Then coming back in and going all angelic “Moi? But I’m cute”
    She also has “small cat syndrome”. Nobody has had the courage to tell her she is wee. Sure she sees a Bengal Tiger staring back at her from the mirror.

  3. My tortie is the funniest cat ever. She keeps us laughing. She’s very devoted to me and is always on my lap or following me from room to room. She is such a fun cat. She won’t let any another animal become a part of our family. She’s very territorial. She is very aggressive while playing. I couldn’t imagine any other cat fitting into our family she’s crazy fun.

    • My girlie is now 11 and she has put up with a dog and also cats in our home. She is very attached to me and has never ever turned aggressive at all. She is amazing and I have had here since she was 2

  4. My tortie is 10 months old and she is by far the craziest cat I have ever had. I love her more than anything. She follows me every where I go no matter how long I am home, she sleeps by my feet every night and sometimes acts like she can’t get close enough to me, will follow me into my bathroom and sit on the sink next to me and when I am in the shower she is darn near in there with me. She never fails to greet me at the door and meows at me until I pick her. I can meow at her and she will meow back at me. Her favorite thing ever is fetch. She can play fetch for hours upon hours. She will bring her toy to me and meow at me until I take it from her and throw it. She also learned how to flush my toilet, so she will do that then sit in her litter box when her litter box gets too full and she wants it to be cleaned. She is the best cat I have ever had. I have yet to have her attack me at all. She only bites me and scratches me when I am playing with her with my hands instead of her toys. When my boyfriend came over to meet her, she was definitely unsure of him. She saw how we acted together and wouldn’t leave my side until she knew he was a safe person for me to be around. She is like that with every new person that comes over. As soon as she feels they are safe, she will act normally and even play with them. Definitely a cat I would consider having more of.

  5. I have a Tortie . nou i have had since she wasSister a kitten.
    Minou actually chose me some how she managed to climb up my shoulder at the human society at three months old.
    She loves me but does not like my Sister. my Sister loves
    the cat but Minou refuses. Do Tortie choose one human to
    bond with? minou is 3.5 ys old

  6. I have a kitten close to adolescence and she kinda acts like a bad cat…biting and scratching a lot…help?? @n@ she looks like a tortie tabby…id like for her to be calm like a tabby cat would be…

    • Get a spray bottle. My parents had troubles with one of their cats biting. Spraying them with water is a quick way to get them to stop. Also try a lot of toys, like squishy ones she can pick up with her mouth. Something she can carry will help the biting and she may play with that instead of your hands.

  7. My torte loves me so much, she will cry for me to sit down so she can sit on my lap and go to sleep. I was the first one to touch her when she was 2 weeks old, at 6 weeks she was climbing up my pants leg to by by me.

  8. My tortie certainly has tortitude. She is into everything and quite “psycho” (vet assistance term for her). She greets me at the door and wants picked up. She rubs her face on mine then out of no where, bites my face. She attacks me when I sleep. She bit my hip when I was on the toilet. She does a lot of the bite and run thing. I have never had a cat like her. I had a diluted tortie and she was the most loving cat I ever had. Now, I don’t doubt that Spooky, my tortie kitten, loves me but she has an odd way of showing it. She tore all of my house plants up from their pots then laid in them all snuggled up. She takes my organizer from my purse and then curls up inside my purse and won’t get out. I have no sink stoppers left because she has stolen them all. She puts her toys into the toilet. Forget about the litter box. If it has one speck of pee she won’t use it that way and lord forbid there’s a turd in there. She let’s you know it by yowling loudly and holding her next toileting until it’s gone. My hands are tore up. My arms, legs and feet too. I love her but geez, I’m not sure what I got myself into. I was going to get another cat as a playmate/companion for her but i fear she would kill it. She is very jealous if I show any attention to anyone but her…with one exception. My 5 year old granddaughter, Alyssa, with a developmental delay. She can hold her, cuddle her or whatever she wants and the cat lets her do it and never strikes back at her. Not that Alyssa is mean to her but I believe that if Alyssa picked her up by the toes, she would let her. I do love this strange little furball.

  9. Seahorse on said:

    I went away for the weekend, though I had neighbors come over and she has a grey tabby buddy, Bee Bee bit me and fussed at me for about 4 hours when I got home. She is maybe 4 months old. Underfoot constantly I could hardly walk around the house. I finally wore her out with the laser pen and redid all the catnip toys. The grey tabby went outside to get away from her. Bee Bee is not allowed out.

  10. boudica on said:

    I love all creatures great and small. Just don’t understand why humans allow and are amused by feline aggression but would have a dog put down for the same behaviour. This is a little sad. Also all cat lovers out there (myself included) please keep your cats indoors between dusk and dawn. This helps prevents/reduce them killing our native wildlife. We do need small mammals and birds. They are a valuable part of our planet.

    • This is THE most bizarre comment ever. We don’t allow and/or are amused by biting. If the do they get a tap. Same as a dog. However, a dog is of greater strength than a cat! Next thing, cats kill rats and mice – sometimes. Birds are generally tucked up themselves at night.

      Cats have been on this planet for thousands of years and small mammals are still here!

      As a “cat lover” you sure are hating on them.

      • I think it varies. For example in Australia, cats are an introduced species and domestic cats that have escaped into the wild do a huge amount of ecological damage. The same can happen even if cats are not introduced but their numbers get out of control. Its good to keep your kitty inside at night :)

  11. Bill on said:

    I have 2 tortoiseshell cats, one 7 years old dilute, mostly gray and yellow (Shadow), and the other 2 years old, dark tortoiseshell with alot of red and yellow (Phantom). Shadow doesn’t have any attitude at all, she’s really quiet, follows me everywhere and just likes to sit on my lap or next to me. Phantom is a little bullet, though. She loves attention, very affectionate, and if she’s not on your lap knocked out, she’s playful as all hell, bouncing off the walls, chasing her toys, or playing with the other cat. she likes to eat my blanket and she stares at me too lol

    there definitely seems to be the tortitude personality with the younger one, not so much with the older one, much more predictable. I wouldn’t say either of them are demanding. cats are awesome

  12. I have an 11 week tortie. I got her when she was 8 weeks. The first week she was very lazy n cuddly. Now she still cuddles with me but my girlfriend not so much. She beats up our other cat that’s a year n a half. They like to play but she always gets the best of him. She follows me out the door n is always there to greet me when I come home. She’s constantly getting into things investigating she even job into a full bath tub just to see what it was like. She didn’t like it too much..

  13. Christen on said:

    My tortie girl Caterina, has 2 sides to her personality- she can be feisty, fearless, & alpha-dominant, but she is also tender, gentle & really feminine. One thing I’ve really noticed in doing my research is how tortie cats are usu. known to be really chatty just like mine! I’ll say my Caterina is also very motherly & always trying to take care of the other cats- give them baths and even tries to lick us after we’re in the middle of drying off right out of the shower! I’ve had several cats but none like her, but then again none of them were torties either:)

  14. Angelica on said:

    I have a 6 month old tortie named Lola and she has plenty of tortitude. Up until I read this article I had no idea about “tortitude”. Everything mentioned describes her. She walks my husband to the door in the morning and is always at door when we get home. She LOVES to talk. We keep a spray bottle for when she is up on the counter or anywhere she shouldnt be. When we grab the spray bottle she will give us these little short meows. As if shes trying to apologize or talk us out of it. I’ve always had cats while growing up. Lola is Very different than any other cat and not in a bad way. My husband says we have the same attitude problem.

  15. I foster kittens for our shelter and I kept a tortie out of the first bunch, because she was always different and I was afraid she would not be adopted. I raised those kittens from when they were five weeks old for several months.

    Charlotte doesn’t like being picked up, she hogs the bed, she’s very affectionate on her own terms, and she can get hostile easily if interfered with. She’s very smart and has played fetch at times.

    Our shelter manager (over 10 years experience) says tortitude is a real thing and unfortunately these cats get returned a lot for being kind of erratic and standoffish. Also that it’s only the straight torties, not the dilutes or calicos or white-spotted mixes.

  16. I adopted a tortie 2 yeRs ago following the death of my much loved black & White Tom. My cat has no tortietude what so ever. She is the gentle lest cat I have ever met, she never scratches (unless it’s the carpet) or bites & loves a cuddle, she especially loves a belly rub. Like most torties she is very verbal when she wants to be. She is very lazy when it’s cold preferring to sleep all day but in the summer she will spend a lot of time outside where she is bullied by the neighbourhood cats – she is a down & out softie.

  17. i just adopted a 2 month old tortie and she’s already got alotta “tude”, she only sleeps under the covers, sleeps in late too, i left her buried today under the covers and she didn’t get up till like 3, i’m surprised for a kitten she just chills so much, its as if she just wants to kick it all day in bed watching Animal Planet with me. When i try to leave the house, she runs right in front of the door, so possessive! I had a cat for 19 years and i thought she was a little princess, but this one has made her princess title even more so, i’ve never had a cat look at me so adorably, it’s like insta-love. she’s such a sweetheart. after i lost my lost it was hard to think of loving another one, but this little tortie has done the trick. kudos.

  18. Our tortii kitten, Bella, has so much attitude. Our previous (late) cat’s pal, size of small dog, is terrified of her and she also has to be supervised closely as there is NOTHING she won’t eat. I could go on for ever!

  19. I can definitely relate. I have a ten year old Torti who is a bit hot tempered at times, but other than that, I have never seen a more loveable cat (to humans). She is an alpha cat and even though she is tiny, other cats twice her size are intimidated by her :( . Like other Torties, mine is very talkative to the point where it becomes irritating at times. She demands attention all the time, so much that I can barely sit down without her plopping herself down on my lap. When I come home I am pretty much tripping over her because she is at my feet to greet me. Because I have had ten years with her I have come to know her moods and how to read them. When others go to pet her, I have to watch her because she gives a bit of a tell right before she is about to turn on someone HAHA.

    All of this personality in one package makes for a unique cat. I wouldn’t trade her for the world

  20. Although my cat just passed away, she was so unique and lovely. Her name was Mittens (due to having black paws :)) and if we only could sum her up in one word it would be mittensey. I loved her so much :)

  21. Ive just rescued smudge..a tortie/white
    she loves hiding in carrier bags and being as high up as possiblepreferably ona door or wardrobe
    when I brought her home she strolled out of the carrier looked round as if to say im home then
    I love her so much she loves shoe laces and pingpong balls
    the only time weve seen this ‘tude is with my older 2 cats Im hoping things will calm down as time goes on
    shes actually done really well for the first ten days

  22. My 7 year old tortie can be a stroppy madam!! She likes to be involved in everything…even getting a bit curious when I am on the toilet!!

    She likes to know what is in all the shopping bags. She also likes to play with any newcomers into the house. However children scare her.

    Sometimes she only has to give me a look and I know not to approach her but other times she lets me lay on her like a pillow.

    When she doesn’t get what she wants she makes a whinging noise….oh and she hogs my bed and refuses point blank to move!!!!

  23. I currently have 3 “stroppy torties” and I love them all, they really do have attitude, I have a dark tortie “moggie” a white & tortie Selkirk Rex and a tortie & white British Shorthair, all very different except for the stroppy tortie attitude when it suits!! tortitude does exist

  24. Barbara Golding on said:

    I have a 22month old tortie and she deffo has tortitude. Yes she loves getting inside carrier bags etc has to have her nose into everything even to the point she has to even look at what your eating .
    She is bit timid she runs when ever the door bell rings and hides till who ever comes in then she wants to know everything about them she doesn’t really like being picked up she tolerates it .
    Some of the things she gets upto she has a little rubber ball she likes to carry round and likes it to bounce on the kitchen tiles .
    If she has been told off she runs away making a chirping noise I call it back chat . She likes paying hide and seek in the bedrooms !!
    She comes running to me when I get home from work just like a dog she’s lovely .

    • Hi Barbara, your tortie sounds like she has tortitude just like our cat! She loves to get in the shopping bags when we get back from the supermarket and her favourite toy is a small monkey so loves to carry around the house! Let us know more of your tortitude stories..

    • haha omg I looove the back chat!! my tortie made those same chirps when she was in trouble. so cute! and hard to stay mad at her…

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