Having lively shades of orange mixed with black, Tortoiseshell cats are easily recognizable because of their gorgeous coat pattern resembling a lot to the shell of the tortoise. However, there also exists an equally charming and somewhat unique, and lighter version of these cats: the Dilute Tortie cat. Having the same witty, strong-willed, and curious personality, this version is rising in fame with each passing day.
Read below to acquaint yourself with what you need to know about these felines!
What Is a Tortoiseshell Cat?
Tortoiseshell is not a cat breed but rather a coat color pattern that is featured by many cat breeds. Nicknamed Tortie, these cats usually have a bicolor coat with a mishmash of orange and black, but sometimes, they may also have a bit of white color. Like calico cats, they are also almost exclusively female.
What Is a Dilute Tortie Cat?
Unlike the standard torties that feature orange and black fur, dilute torties have really diluted pigmentation, and orange and black appear from yellow and blue to cream and gray.
Based on their pastel and less vibrant version of the traditional red (also called orange) and black tortoiseshell pattern, these cats are known as Muted Torties.
11 Amazing Dilute Tortie Cat Facts
1. Dilute Tortie Is Not a Cat Breed
It is a common misconception that Tortie is a breed and Dilute Tortie is a type of it. However, it is simply a specific coat pattern, like calico, mackerel, and orange tabby are patterns. In fact, various breeds have a Dilute Tortie coat. These include, most commonly, the American Shorthair, Maine Coon, Devon Rex, Persian, Himalayan, etc. Moreover, the inheritance of the Dilute Tortie coat does not depend upon the length of the hair.
2. Dilute Torties Are Almost Exclusively Females
There exists a high probability that a dilute tortie is always going to be a female. However, since anomalies can occur, a chance of a male dilute tortie also exists.
The reason: because only X chromosomes are involved in creating such a pattern, it becomes more common for girl cats to have this coat because they have two X chromosomes. Similarly, since males receive only one X chromosome, it becomes next to impossible for them to inherit such a coat.
3. The Rare Male Dilute Tortie is Mostly Sterile
As discussed above, the chance of male cats having a Dilute Tortie coat is always present. Nevertheless, if such an incidence occurs, it is solely an anomaly: the cat receives two X chromosomes in addition to a Y chromosome – thus instilling two different color patterns in his fur.
Also, note that felines with such genetic anomalies face lifelong health issues. Most commonly, they are not able to procreate. This is the reason that, like male calico cats, male dilute torties are also sterile.
Klinefelter SyndromeThe genetic condition resulting in a male having two X chromosomes is called Klinefelter syndrome. Like in cats, this condition can also be found in human beings along with similar lifelong health issues.
4. Genetic Mutation Is Behind the Dilute Tortie Pattern
Melanophilin (or simply MLPH) gene is responsible for the red and black coat colors, which sometimes mutates. Whenever it does, the Tortie pattern becomes diluted and turns red into yellowish while black into bluish. However, both cat parents must have this trait for their offspring to have it too because the mutation occurs through a recessive gene.
5. Dilute Torties Are Known For Their ‘Tortitude’
‘Tortitude’ is the combination of “tortie” and “attitude.” The word is thus used for the special attitude found in the tortoiseshell cats. Several dilute tortie owners claim that their kitties are unique when it comes to their behavior. For instance, they are feisty, energetic, and somewhat aggressive. It is perhaps because of the special treatment that these colorful cats get that both calico and tortie parents point out that their cats tend to exhibit more aggressive behaviors, according to a survey.
Although various external factors determine a cat’s attitude, some studies show a connection between feline attitude and coat color. On the other hand, some experts link aggression with femininity in cats since female cats tend to be more aggressive than males, and dilute torties are mostly girls.
6. Sundry of Folklores Are Associated With Dilute Torties
Dilute tortie cats are a part of several folklores and myths. For instance, in Ireland, if a tortie comes into your home, it is believed that she will bring a lucky charm. Likewise, in the United States, these cats are associated with money and are said to bring wealth. In fact, they are often called ‘money cats.’ Japanese fishermen, on the other hand, used to carry them on board with the belief that torties would save them from the ghosts and wrath of the sea (storms).
7. Dilute Torite and Calico Cats Are Different
A misconception surrounding torties is that they are the same as calico cats. However, it is not the case because the former has only two colors (black and orange) while, on the other hand, the latter is tricolored (white, black, and orange). However, the two types are similar when it comes to the rarity of males in them. Like Dilute Torties, Calicos are also mostly females.
Find more interesting facts about calico cats: 14 Interesting Calico Cats Facts With Pictures
8. Dilute Tortie and Chimera Cats Are Different
Tortoiseshell cats are sometimes incorrectly thought to be Chimera cats. However, the two are different. The latter pattern is produced when two different embryos fuse in the womb, and, resultantly, the kitten gets two different colors on its face. Its body also displays large patches of these colors.
9. Dilute Tortie Cats Are Rare to Some Degree
Tortie cats are relatively rare when compared to other patterns, and since Dilute Tortie is a specific type of this pattern, it becomes further rare. Therefore, finding a purebred dilute tortie cat can be difficult. In addition, as already discussed, since male dilute torties are rarer as compared to female ones, finding a purebred male dilute tortie cat can be incredibly challenging, and finding a fertile male tortie cat is near impossible.
10. Dilute Torties Can Be Expensive
Being somewhat rare, dilute tortie cats can cost up to $2,000. In the case of a male cat, the cost can go further beyond. However, note that this is only a ballpark figure: the price depends much on the age and pedigree of the cat and the breeder’s reputation. If the dilute Tortie belongs to one of the rare cat breeds, then you may have to pay even more than $2,000.
If you want to get a Tortie, it would be better to get it from someone you know. That way, not only would the price be reasonable, but you will also be aware of the cat’s history and pedigree.
11. Dilute Torties Have Two Subtly Different Types
The variations in dilute torties include simple dilute Tortie and dilute tortie smoke. While the appearance of the simple variation has been explained already, the smokey one is quite similar to the former, except that the tips of their hair are much darker than the roots. This difference is more noticeable on blue fur than on cream.
Dilute Tortie Cat Care
The level of care your dilute Tortie would require would be dependent on its breed, as tortie fur color come in many different cat breeds. For instance, if your dilute Tortie is a Maine Coon, its maintenance requirements would be the same as that of other Maine Con cats, i.e., white Maine Coon, calico Maine Coon, or Orange Maine Coon. However, it will have bit different maintenance requirements if it were a Short Hair Maine Coon, as they result from crossbreeding of Maine Coons with other cats.
Although it depends a lot upon the breed, dilute torties are generally found to be very healthy. We are saying this as most of the cat breeds that feature dilute tortie color are healthy. However, the common health problems in the feline world, such as diabetes, obesity, eye infections, and ear infections, could also afflict your tortie kitty. Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for subtle signs of cat sickness.
Maintenance of a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercise can, nevertheless, keep these problems at bay to some extent.
Depending upon the breed, size, and age of your dilute Tortie, it is very important to feed your cat food with enough nutrition to keep her healthy. First of all, ensuring that the diet consists of meat-based food. There are certain human foods that cats can eat, but these should never be made an integral part of their
Secondly, food must be served in the right amount. Generally, vets recommend a quarter of an eight-ounce cup of dry food for adult cats per day. Besides, about 2.5 ounces of wet food must also be served daily. If you are caring for a dilute tortie kitten, you should check out our kitten feeding chart to check how much you should be feeding your kitten. And check out our kitten growth chart to see if your kitten is growing properly.
Finally, make sure that your cat is properly hydrated. The water must be fresh and placed somewhere that is easily accessible.
How often you need to brush and bathe your tortie kitties will depend on their breed. However, you will have to brush your cat regularly (once or twice a week and, in some cases, daily) to keep the fur clean and free of mats. In addition, it will also reduce allergens and dander, which can cause allergies. However, be gentle while doing so, especially if your cat is a longhaired, fluffy cat.
Regular exercise is a great way of letting your cat have a safe and healthy life. As per the experts, on average, a cat should spend at least half an hour every day doing moderate levels of exercise. However, the time and intensity of the workout can be changed depending upon the breed of your dilute Tortie. Irrespective of the cat breed, you can get your cat a window perch, interactive cat toys, and cat trees to fill her life with joy and encourage more activity, which will help keep obesity at bay.