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Calico vs Tortoiseshell Cats: How Are They Different?

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Calico vs Tortoiseshell Cats: How Are They Different?

Calico vs Tortoiseshell Cats: How Are They Different?

Cats come in many different colors and patterns, but two of the most unique and beloved combinations are calico cats and tortoiseshell cats. What makes these two cats so special, and how can you tell them apart? Let’s take a look at the differences between calico and tortoiseshell cats.


Calico Cats: Calico cats typically have three different colors in their coats – white, black and orange. These colors often form patches or swirls for a striking and unique-looking coat.

Tortoiseshell Cats: Tortoiseshell cats, on the other hand, have mottled coats of black, red and orange. The colors are usually swirled together in a more intricate way, giving them their signature look.


Calico Cats: Calico cats are often seen as independent, strong-willed, and feisty. They have a playful and mischievous streak, which can make them lovable but demanding.

Tortoiseshell Cats: Tortoiseshell cats are known for being devoted, loving and loyal. They are often gentle and affectionate, and make great companions.


Calico Cats: Calico cats are almost exclusively female. This is due to the fact that their mix of colors is determined by their gender-linked X chromosome.

Tortoiseshell Cats: Tortoiseshell cats can be either male or female, although males are much rarer.


Calico Cats: Calico cats have no known health risks associated their coat colors.

Tortoiseshell Cats: Tortoiseshell cats have a higher risk of certain health problems. Specifically, they have a higher risk of organ dysfunction, seizures, and other issues related to their X chromosome.


Calico and tortoiseshell cats are both incredibly unique and beautiful. While they may look similar, they have some distinct differences, including their appearance, personalities, and health risks. Whether you choose a calico or a tortoiseshell cat, you’re sure to get a loving companion.

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