Tortitude

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.

40 thoughts on “Tortitude

  • January 2, 2016 at 7:57 pm
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    I have three cats, one of which is a very… interesting one. I just learned today what “tortitude” is, and it does seem to fit her well. She puts pipe cleaners (her favorite toys) in the food and water bowls, paws at the water in the water bowl until it spills all over the kitchen, shreds up the toilet paper in the bathroom should you leave it unattended, has quite a range of vocalizations, will beg for you to turn the sink faucet on so she can drink out of it, and tries to dominate over my other two cats, one of which is much older, stronger, and larger, and could probably throw her down if he wanted to. There was this one time when, while we were away from the house, she evidently grabbed a roll of toilet paper from out of a cabinet in the bathroom, took it all the way across the house to the kitchen, and stuffed it *perfectly* in the water bowl. And if she ever escapes the house when you open the front door, she vigorously rolls around on the doorstep as if to rub it in your face.
    Currently my affectionately-nicknamed “butt cat” is curled up on my pillow, likely scheming a new plan to carry out when we’re not looking…

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  • December 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm
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    I adopted my three-year-old tortie from a local shelter about six months ago. She’s actually my first cat! My mother jokes that if not for the fact that I didn’t have the heart to change her name, she would have been Princess for sure, both because I spoil her and because she’s a little bit of a diva. So I’d say she definitely has tortitude! She’s a very good girl and I love her dearly, but it’s a good thing she’s my only cat because I don’t think she’d take well to having to share me, and that she is kept inside where she can’t decimate the local bird and small mammal populations.

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  • December 13, 2015 at 6:37 pm
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    Kami, my extremely long-haired tortie has such a sweet personality, an even temperament and never turns on me. She adores me, loves to fetch practically anything, and snuggle. She has a toy box and will bring me things to toss so she can fetch them. She brings them to me in the kitchen, the bathroom, and while I’m in bed. It’s adorable. Last year on Mother’s Day, I found 18 toys in the bath tub when I got up. She must have been quite busy during the night. It was hilarious! I treated them like Mother’s Day presents!

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  • November 30, 2015 at 1:04 am
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    Tortitude is real. I adopted my first tortiseshell cat about five months ago and she owns me rather than the other way round. I joked she’s bioplar. She has those mood swings where we are kissing and loving on each other… then … she bites HARD! and skins back her ears as if I’m her mortal enemy. She is also the neediest cat I’ve ever had. Demands constant attention from me.. but I can never get her to come when called. Usually, I’m talking to the back of her head. She’s also the nosiest cat. Into everything. I dread putting up a Christmas tree this year because it will become her personal project to scale the tree like Mount Everest… picking off every ornament on her way both up and down the tree branches.

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  • October 9, 2015 at 12:41 am
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    Been feeding a torti feral for around 8 months, recently caught her and got her spayed. After picking her up and attempting to release her she wouldnt budge, she now lives in my bathroom and is getting sweeter and sweeter (most of the time lol) Now i just have to get her used to my two 4 year old tabbies. the male stares at her when i crack the door and luckily no hissing as of yet. Named her Jessicat. Love the stories and cant wait for the tortitude.

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    • November 7, 2015 at 11:23 pm
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      I too took a feral torti (a 6 mo old hissing furball) home and she lived for awhile in a large bathroom. A website called THE LUCKY FEW was a life saver in dealing with older ferals. I followed his advice and my hissing furball emerged 6 weeks later as Nala Marie and she is a love. Also have 2 13yr old kitties, a male Siberian, Zachary, who loves everyone and a female black and white, Prancy Sue, who is not crazy about Nala. Nala, however is brave and taunts Prancy every chance she gets. Love my kitties, but the little Tortie is a riot!

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  • August 13, 2015 at 11:41 am
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    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.

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  • July 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm
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    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.

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  • January 25, 2015 at 1:38 am
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    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.

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    • July 5, 2015 at 6:18 pm
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      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

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  • January 4, 2015 at 9:21 pm
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    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.

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    • January 4, 2015 at 9:24 pm
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      She also loves playing in water. Whenever I take a bath she sits on the edge of the tub and plays in the water.

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    • December 13, 2015 at 6:42 pm
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      My Kami also brings me toys to throw all the time. Sometimes if I don’t respond, she’ll bring others as if she’s thinking I must not like the first one. She also plays with her toys in the water bowl and has no problem sticking her face in the water to take them out. She’s a hoot!

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  • December 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm
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    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

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  • December 8, 2014 at 9:30 am
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    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…

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    • January 4, 2015 at 9:23 pm
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      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.

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  • November 27, 2014 at 1:48 am
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    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.

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  • October 28, 2014 at 8:57 pm
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    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.

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  • September 2, 2014 at 2:33 am
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    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.

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  • July 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm
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    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.

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    • November 15, 2014 at 10:23 pm
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      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.

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      • November 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm
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        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 :)

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        • December 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm
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          In Australia white men are an introduced species too….

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  • May 16, 2014 at 3:09 pm
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    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

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  • April 9, 2014 at 10:39 pm
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    One more thing. She also will get in our closet and sit on top of our clothes that are hanging up. Very strange.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 10:34 pm
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    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..

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  • April 7, 2014 at 9:59 pm
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    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:)

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  • February 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm
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    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.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 7:51 am
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    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.

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  • November 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm
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    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.

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  • November 15, 2013 at 7:49 am
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    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.

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  • November 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm
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    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!

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  • September 30, 2013 at 4:58 am
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    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

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  • September 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm
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    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 :)

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  • September 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm
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    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

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  • June 28, 2013 at 11:34 am
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    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!!!!

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  • February 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm
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    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

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  • February 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm
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    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 .

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    • February 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm
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      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..

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    • December 12, 2013 at 5:27 am
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      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…

      Reply

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