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  21                                                  

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 Syndrome

The 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 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 Tortie Cats

Dilute tortie cats are a part of several folklore and myths. For instance, in Ireland, if a tortie comes into your home, it is believed that she will bring a lucky charm. Likewise, these cats are associated with money in the United States and are said to bring wealth. In fact, they are often called ‘money cats.’ On the other hand, Japanese fishermen 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

Dilute tortie cat
Dilute tortie cat

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 compared to female ones, finding a purebred male dilute tortie cat can be incredibly challenging. 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 depend on its breed, as tortie fur colors 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 a 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 colors 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 your dilute Tortie’s breed, size, and age, it is very important to feed your cat food with enough nutrition to keep her healthy. First of all, ensure 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 brush and bathe your tortie kitties depends 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. Per the experts, on average, a cat should spend at least half an hour every day doing moderate exercise. However, the time and intensity of the workout can be changed depending on 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tortie Cats

What is special about a tortie cat?

Tortie cats are prized for myths prevalent in different cultures. For example, as discussed earlier, in Ireland, it is believed that tortie cats bring good luck to the home. In Japan, fishermen would take tortie cats along with themselves, believing that they would give them a good catch and would save them from storms, etc. Similarly, in the U.S., they are considered money cats!

Are tortie cats rare?

Female tortie cats are easy to get your hands on. But finding a male dilute tortie is near to impossible. If you have to get a male, you will get 1 in 300 dilute cats!

Are dilute torie cats family-friendly?

Tortie cats, like all cats, have unique personalities and temperaments. Since tortie is not a separate cat breed, the type of personality it possesses depends upon its breed. Some may be friendly and good with children and families, while others may be more independent and aloof. It ultimately has much to do with individual cat and how it has been raised and socialized. It’s important to remember that even if a cat has a friendly disposition, it may still scratch or bite if it feels threatened or stressed.

Do tortie cats pick one person as favorite?

It’s not a general rule, it might be the case that a tortoiseshell cat pick one person, but it could also be that they form a stronger bond with more than one person.

They can form strong bonds with their human caretakers. Some cats may show a preference for one person, while others may be more affectionate towards all members of their household. Factors such as individual personalities, past experiences, and the amount of socialization and interaction a cat receives can all play a role in determining how a cat behaves towards different people.

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