Calico vs Tortoiseshell Cats: How Are They Different?


Final Up to date on: November 17, 2022 by Crystal Uys

Calico vs Tortoiseshell cats

Calico and tortoiseshell kitties each have a putting look, because of their pretty mixture of colours and distinctive markings. Many individuals don’t notice there’s a distinction between the 2, although. Some individuals could not even notice that tortoiseshell is a kind of cat however as a substitute suppose that each cat with orange patches is a calico.

It’s additionally not widespread to understand there are variations in persona between these two kitty colours. Individuals who personal tortoiseshell cats will inform you all about “tortitude”, and calico cats even have a temperamental fame. There are positively distinct variations in each look and temperament with these two coat colours.

Visible Variations: At a Look

calico vs tortoiseshell
Picture Credit score: Left – Calico Cat (Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock); Proper – Tortoiseshell Cat (andy-holmes, Unsplash}

Calico Cats

  • Common top (grownup): 8–10 inches
  • Common weight (grownup): 5–12 kilos
  • Lifespan: 12–16 years
  • Train: Average
  • Grooming wants: Low to excessive
  • Household-friendly: Usually
  • Different pet-friendly: Usually
  • Temperament: Candy, impartial, quirky

Tortoiseshell Cats

  • Common top (grownup): 8–10 inches
  • Common weight (grownup): 5–12 kilos
  • Lifespan: 12–16 years
  • Train: Average to excessive
  • Grooming wants: Low to excessive
  • Household-friendly: Generally
  • Different pet-friendly: Usually
  • Trainability: Feisty, affectionate, hot-tempered

Calico Cat Overview

calico cat staring at the camera
Picture Credit score: dmgreen22, Pixabay


The looks of a calico cat is set by the colours of its coat, not its breed. Virtually all cat breeds can have the potential for calicos. The calico coat consists of three colours, that are normally primarily white with accents of black and orange. Muted calicos are primarily white with accents of blue and cream. Calicos may have crimson, brown, or tan of their coat, however they’re all the time tricolor cats. White normally accounts for 25–75% of the coat of calicos.


Calico cats can have any temperament as a result of their capacity to be from any breed. Nonetheless, they’re typically identified for being loving and affectionate cats that present an excessive amount of loyalty, particularly for one chosen particular person. Most individuals contemplate them quirky and energetic, however these traits may translate into neurotic behaviors typically.

The Calico Gene

You might have heard that each one calico cats are females, and whereas this isn’t fully true, it’s virtually all the time true. Male calicos are exceptionally uncommon. It is because the gene that causes calico coats is linked to the X chromosome, however two copies of this gene are wanted to create calico.

Since males solely have one X chromosome, they’re normally not affected by this gene, though they’ll carry it. Which means that male calico cats have an additional chromosome, bringing them to XXY as a substitute of XY. This can be a genetic abnormality that, in people, known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome. In some cats, this may occasionally not trigger any issues, however some cats could present signs of this situation, like behavioral issues, weight problems, and an elevated danger of situations like diabetes and coronary heart illness.

Appropriate for:

It varies considerably between cats, however calicos are sometimes properly suited to properties with kids and different pets. They’re normally candy and affectionate cats which are loving towards their individuals, though they are often very impartial cats as properly. Make certain to offer your calico loads of hiding locations away from kids and different pets to allow them to recharge.

Tortoiseshell Cat Overview

Tortoiseshell Norwegian Forest Cat
Picture Credit score: Nui Rattapon, Shutterstock


Tortoiseshell cats are sometimes confused with calicos, however they’re distinctly completely different in look. These cats are normally bicolor, with their two colours being black and brown, tan, or orange. It’s potential for the black to point out up in a dilute type, showing as blue or tabby.

Generally, a cat will primarily appear like a tortoiseshell with small patches of white. This white is normally too minimal to depend the cat as a calico, and it’s typically known as tortico. Just like the calico, tortoiseshell cats will be from nearly any breed.


Like calicos, tortoiseshells are identified for his or her affectionate temperament. Nonetheless, individuals who personal tortoiseshell cats report them being hot-tempered and extra susceptible to aggressive behaviors than many different cats. Additionally they report “tortitude”, which is an outline of the particular sorts of persona and perspective that the tortoiseshell cats usually have.

These cats is usually a little bit spicy, usually having little tolerance of shenanigans from anybody however themselves. This could lengthen to kids and different pets within the house typically. It’s vital to tell apart that scientific research haven’t proven a connection between a cat’s coat shade and their temperament, besides in situations the place the coat shade is straight related to the cat’s breed. A lot of the proof of tortitude is anecdotal, however widespread.

The Tortoiseshell Gene

Just like the calico gene, the tortoiseshell gene is X-linked, and two copies of the gene are required to provide a tortoiseshell cat. The overwhelming majority of tortoiseshell cats are feminine, however male tortoiseshells do exist. This normally means they’ve an additional X chromosome and have Klinefelter’s Syndrome.

Appropriate for:

In the event you imagine within the existence of tortitude, then you could really feel like a tortoiseshell cat will not be applicable for households with young children or different pets. Like with most pets, correct introductions and respect of the cat’s boundaries are essential to create and keep peace, in addition to preserving the cat completely happy and freed from stress.

Sterility and X-Linked Traits

Male cats with an additional X chromosome are virtually all the time sterile and unable to provide offspring. You must by no means assume that your cat is sterile, although. It’s additionally vital to have your cat neutered, even when your vet believes he’s sterile. It is because leaving your cat’s testicles intact will increase the danger of testicular most cancers and behavioral issues.

Which Cat Is Proper For You?

Calicos and tortoiseshell cats have very completely different temperaments from one another, at the very least anecdotally talking. There is no such thing as a stable proof of those traits being linked to your cat’s coat shade. Some individuals report calicos with having an perspective very like tortitude, whereas different tortoiseshell house owners report their cats being loving and outgoing.

When selecting a cat, attempt to decide on a cat that appears to have a temperament that can match your own home greatest. It may be troublesome to find out in case your cat continues to be younger, although. One of the best factor you are able to do, no matter which coat shade you select to take house, is to make sure your own home is about as much as cut back your cat’s stress ranges, assist them really feel protected, and supply them with loads of shops for power.

Featured Picture Credit score: Left (Calico Cat): Linn Currie, Shutterstock, Proper (Tortoiseshell Cat): Julieshoots, Pixabay

Crystal Uys

Cat mother to Ivy – a feisty little rescue kitten that’s her one and solely baby. For now! All through her life, she has been launched to the particular love that may be discovered within the bond with a cat. Having owned a number of felines, she is greater than sure that their love is unmatched, unconditional and in contrast to every other. With a ardour to coach the general public about every thing, there may be to find out about felines, their habits, and their distinctive personalities, Crystal is devoted to creating certain that each one cats and their house owners know the significance of aware residing – and loving!


Source link