Did you know? The tortoiseshell cat is practically entirely female and we will tell you why. Another fact that people don’t realize is that when these cats are brought to cat shelters, they often happen to be “the last to be adopted”, maybe because people see spots and clutter in them. So what is the mystery, myth, and legend surrounding the tortoiseshell cat? In this article, we explore it all!
Tortoiseshell Cat: Myths, Legends, Characteristics, and More!
The tortoiseshell cats are cats that have in their coat the basic colors of cats, these colors usually are: white, black, and orange. However, they can also be seen with their various variations, such as cream, gray, or blue. To us, tortoiseshell cats seem precious. They have a sociable character and are very playful and intelligent, symbols of good luck and unrepeatable since no two are alike in the whole world.
Tortoiseshell cats and their beautiful myths and legends:
They say that a long time ago, the sun decided that it wanted to participate in life on Earth. To do this, he asked the moon for help to cover his absence so that humans would not realize that the king of the stars (the sun) was no longer in his place.
The moon accepted and took the position of the sun slowly but inexorably, so that the Sun, eager to live the experiences of a world that felt far away, took the form of one of the animals in which it would best go unnoticed and that at the same time fascinated. He chose a black cat. And so time passed, the Sun lived those days on earth with intensity until the Moon, tired of waiting for his return, decided to retire. The Sun had to leave the body of the black cat quickly to take its place in the sky, but in its rapid flight, thousands of rays of luminous and golden colors were covered and were trapped in the magical skin of the black cat.
Since then the daughters of that cat carry the memory of the rays and golden sparkles that the sun forgot in their mother, as well as her temperament and wisdom.
Lastly, tortoiseshell cats seem to have other myths attached to being a feline that comes from one of the oldest and most magical cultures in the world. According to the legends of Japanese fishermen, these cats are a symbol of luck. These fishermen, for many years, have liked sailing with these cats as a companion, because according to their legend, they are capable of scaring ghosts and calm sea storms. Maybe it’s just superstition, but did you know that these cats have great political importance in the state of Maryland, United States? Tortoiseshell cats are an official emblem with the official colors of this state, white, black, and orange.
Why are almost all tortoiseshell cats female?
When we refer to tortoiseshell cats we must take into account that these cats themselves are not without a particular feline variety. This type of combination of colors in the coat does not depend on the breed to which the cat belongs to either.
As we know, tortoiseshell cats are female, because for every 3,000 female tortoiseshell cats only one male is born. It is the genes of the feline that decide to give rise to tricolor cats, this gene that decides this color pattern is located within the X chromosomes. Female cats, as well as human women, have XX chromosomes, so they have the possibility of this tricolor pattern, unlike males whose chromosomes are XY. When a male cat is born with tricolor colors, it means that it has XXY chromosomes. This is a genotypic combination that does not happen very often, and when it does, it brings sterility in male cats, as their genes are, so to speak, abnormal.
This anomaly is known by the name of Klinefelter Syndrome .
Now, when we try to delve into the black and orange coloration of cats’ coats, it should be known that they are only transmitted by the female chromosomes “XX”, that is why a male, whose chromosomes only has an X will not be able to present this color duo.
Tortoiseshell cats color:
In addition to being unique in each of the specimens, no one tortoiseshell cat is the same as the other.
Tortoiseshell cats have three colors in their fur that characterize them: black, white, orange. Sometimes it seems that all the ones we see on the street have the same pattern, however, this is not the case, each color combination is unique and unrepeatable, which makes each of these cats completely unique.
In addition, the colors are not asymmetrical, but they look like a kind of black or orange spots on the white fur.
No two are alike and they are symbols of good luck:
Tortoiseshell cats are unique, as the pattern of their colors do not have a specific pattern. Since they are not defined in their fur, people assume that these cats are messy and poorly controlled cats. Nothing could be further from reality, these felines are very sweet and easy to educate, for this reason, we will always recommend the adoption of this exotic and natural rarity of felines. You will quickly realize that you have made the best choice of your life. These cats, in addition to being adorable and beautiful, are unique and very sweet.
Tortoiseshell cats have a very affectionate behavior that loves to give and receive love. Although, as with any other cat, these can sometimes become a bit obnoxious. If they see you being unoccupied, they will come to you in search of pampering and attention, because they will always want to be the spoiled ones of the house.
Tortoiseshell cats are not a breed:
They can belong to any of the feline species that we already know, this means that their behavior, care, and even their conditions, will be similar to other specimens to which it belongs So much so, that the difference that your feline may have with the rest of its species, you will notice only after meeting it and living with it.
So, if what you want is to know what the character is, then take into account this information about the predominant breed of your cat, so you can know how it will behave and how its character will be.
Colours don’t affect nature or health:
Tortoises are nothing more than tricolor cats with a gene a little different from the rest, but this in itself does not influence the behavior or character that the feline may have, since it only affects the color and pattern of its fur.
As mentioned before, these cats are born from a particular genetic alteration, however, we must be clear that this alteration does not affect the health of these felines in any way nor is it an indicator that the animal may have any disease.
The only thing that can happen is that these cats are born sterile, especially the male since their genome is totally different from that of a common male.
Caring for a tortoiseshell cat:
Baby tortoiseshell cat
Having a baby tortoiseshell cat at home requires certain care so that it can grow in a healthy way and with a good quality of life:
- Medical monitoring: It is essential that cats, even from an early age, see a veterinarian who can constantly monitor their growth and development. In addition to this, the vaccination and deworming protocol required for the well-being of the feline must be complied with.
- Body temperature: if you have a baby cat at home less than a month old, you should be constantly careful with its body temperature. At this age, these little ones are not able to regulate their temperature at their own will, which is why they are always close to their mother or siblings. Once you have it at home, you should provide warmth with thermal blankets or pillows to help them stay warm. To measure the temperature, you can touch its pads and if they are cold, it means that the feline lacks heat.
- Beware of milk: cat puppies need a diet based on mother’s milk in order to have a good development, although, if the mother of the feline is not nearby, you should feed it with a special milk supplement for kittens. Never try to do it with the milk that is stored in your fridge, it will not provide the necessary nutrients and you will also not be able to digest it, which will probably cause discomfort in your tummy. It is recommended that you go to the vet and he recommends a special formula for baby cats. This should be given with a bottle every three hours approximately. (6-8 weeks old)
- Use of the sandbox: Another important point that must be taken with a baby cat is that it must be taught the correct use of the sandbox. Ideally, place it several times a day in the litter box, especially when defecating or urinating. Place the stool in the sand and in this way the little one will begin to associate where he really has to relieve himself. It is not advisable to scold the little one if he does not relieve himself where he belongs, little by little and with your help, he can learn to do it.
- Special food: Once the feline no longer needs to be fed milk, you can start giving him solid food. This food must be specially created for the correct nutrition of baby cats. It is not advisable to feed them bread, onions, raw eggs, chocolates or any kind of sweets, as these foods are toxic to the feline.
Adult tortoiseshell cat:
- Good quality food should be provided to the cat. And, water should be provided throughout the day to keep you hydrated.
- Have constant veterinary care so that the health of the feline is optimal.
- You should always have clean and adequate sand for the litter box.
- Entertainment should be provided so that the cat does not get bored and run away.
- A safe environment must be provided.
- Care and brushing of their coat should be taken that is slightly constant.
- Test and corresponding vaccination, depending on whether you live in a domestic environment or in semi-freedom.
What is the average lifespan of a tortoiseshell cat?
These cats, like many others, have a high life expectancy of about 15-20 years. They can weigh between 3 and 5 kilograms. As already mentioned, tortoiseshell cats are mostly female due to the genetic predisposition that makes their coat tricolor.
These cats have the disposition to be able to adapt perfectly well in apartments, as long as adequate time is dedicated to entertainment and exercise. For these cats to maintain an adequate weight and always be in shape, it is very important that they can get used to taking walks.
Another valid option is to place shelves, toys, and obstacles around the house so that they can exercise and at the same time have fun for a longer lifespan.
Tortoiseshell cat diseases:
When we talk about diseases of tortoiseshell cats, we cannot give precise information about this, since their diseases or genetic problems will depend directly on the breed that is predominant to which the feline belongs.
If a tortoiseshell cat has as a breed one whose genetic disease is respiratory problems, then this cat will present this same disease or symptoms. In the event that it comes from the cross of breeds whose problems are heart problems, then the tortoiseshell cat will have heart problems.