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Cats come in a plethora of coat colors and patterns. Whether you want a white, orange, black, or grey cat, you will get it.
There’s even a grey or blue-colored kitty that looks ridiculously cute.
Apart from color, a cat can also have a pattern such as a tabby, tortoiseshell, calico, and more.
People imagine that the color of their cat has nothing to do with anything else but it really does.
For one, it has a direct effect on the beauty of your feline friend.
Secondly, coat color affects a number of other things such as reproduction, personality, availability, and more.
Before you buy or adopt a new kitty, it’s always a good idea to know what to expect from your feline friend.
This is why today we will walk you through one of the coat colors known as a torbie.
From personality traits to health to fascinating facts, here is all you need to know about this beautiful cat.
What kind of cat is a Torbie?
Torbie is basically short for tortoiseshell-tabby.
The name comes about because the coat color has the appearance of a tortoiseshell turtle.
The tortoiseshell was a superior material back in the day. It was used to make things like home décor items, jewelry, eyeglasses, and more.
Unfortunately, tortoise populations reduced greatly as a result of this, the use of the shells was banned across the planet.
Luckily though, the tortoiseshell cat retained his name to date. Most torties have black and orange colors but you can also find one with brown, cream, red, and cream.
When you include the stripes of a tabby cat on the tortie, you end up with a torbie cat.
So, this is your usual tortie but with stripes and some red in selected parts of the body especially the feet. The stripes make it hard to see the red though.
Other names of the torbie are ‘striped tortie’, ‘reverse tortie’, and ‘patched tabby’.
To identify a torbie, simply look for a striped cat with the signature tortoiseshell markings.
Any tabby stripe goes—spotted, classic, mackerel, or ticked. Besides having red patches, a torbie can also have cream on specific parts of his body.
Torbie vs Tortie: What is the difference between a Tortie and a Torbie?
Many people can’t tell the difference between a tortie and a torbie.
In simple words, a tortie is a cat with tortoiseshell markings of brown and black.
When you add tabby stripes and spots into the mix, you get a torbie.
Most torbies actually have black as the dominant color but it is not uncommon to come across those with brown and black or red colors.
The biggest difference between a tortie and a torbie is that the former has no tabby pattern going while the latter has tabby stripes in one or two of its colors.
Torbies are also mainly black with faint color here and there while most torties are black orange in color.
Torbie Cat Personality
Since torbie is not necessarily the name of the breed but the coat color, it is not specific to one special breed.
You can find a torbie in many of the available cat breeds including the American Shorthair, Persian, Maine Coon, Cornish Rex, British Shorthair, and more.
Having said that, cats of this specific color tend to have a distinct temperament.
UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital did a study on the link between coat color and behavior.
The conclusion was that torties, calicos (another variation of the tortie), and torbies have a sassy temperament.
This has since been referred to as ‘tortitude’. Funny enough, most parents with tortoiseshell cats agree that their fur babies are indeed a bit aggressive, energetic, and sassy.
They tend to have opinions on everything and will let you know what it is.
Lucky for you, they are also some of the most affectionate cats in the world.
They love human company despite being a tad independent like most cats.
Plus, their striking beauty will always blow your mind.
Related Post: 12 Least Affectionate Cat Breeds
Are Torbie Cats Rare?
Oh yes! Of all the four different variations of the tortoiseshell cat, the torbie is the hardest to find. You don’t get these beauties easily.
According to the County News Center, 1 out of 1000 cats is a male torbie.
The fact that male torbies are sterile makes the gender combination very rare.
Are All Torbie Cats Female?
Most stripped torties are female. This is because the chromosome responsible for the coat color also has an effect on the gender of the cat.
Essentially, the female sex chromosome (X) is what carries the gene for orange and black colors.
On the other hand, the male chromosome (Y) doesn’t carry any genetic code regarding the colors.
Now, if you recall your biology lesson, a female mammal cat has two X chromosomes. This means she has two sets of genes that end up determining her coat color.
The embryo picks this up and closes one X chromosome in each genetic cell which leads to black and orange color variations.
On the other hand, a male torbie has one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. Ultimately, he can only be black or orange and not both colors.
Male torbies also exist but these are very rare. If you do find one, he will be sterile.
To be male, a torbie will have to have three chromosomes XXY—a phenomenon called Klinefelter Syndrome in human beings.
Sadly, this combination causes a male torbie to be sterile.
Torbie Cats’ Health
Having a cat with a clean bill of health makes all the difference during pet parenting.
Well, even if you end up with a kitten with a few complications, it is in your best interest to be aware of the issues beforehand.
Well, the good news is that a torbie is not directly prone to any health complications, thanks to the fact that it is not a breed but rather a coat color.
To know what your torbie cat is prone to, check the breed.
If he is a Main Coon, for instance, expect him to have certain predispositions such as polycystic kidneys, hip dysplasia, and spinal muscular atrophy.
A Persian torbie cat may also be prone to a polycystic kidney ailment, bladder stones, PRA, cardiomyopathy, and dynamic retinal decay.
In short, always seek to find out the issues that Persian cats suffer from.
Most feline breeds have diseases of the mouth, skin, and kidneys.
How long your striped torbie lives is dependent upon the breed rather than the color of his coat.
On average, the most common cat breeds have a lifespan of 14 years. This number can go up or down depending on the actual breed.
Like the former point above, you need to find out which breed you are dealing with to know the actual lifespan.
Are Torbie Cats Hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, you cannot tell whether your torbie is hypoallergenic or not simply by looking at the color of his coat.
Cat allergies are triggered by your body’s immune response to a specific protein.
The bad news is that all cats possess this protein no matter the color of the skin.
The good news is that all tortoiseshell cats including torbies tend to produce the protein in smaller amounts and thus can be less of a problem here.
However, they still have the protein and may cause the response in susceptible persons.
Fascinating Facts about Torbie Cats
I. Special Cats
Many countries around the world view torbies and other torties as special cats.
Japan claims that they protect homes from ghosts.
The Englishmen believe that the coat of a torbie can heal a wart.
Reversed torties are also believed to be ‘money cats’ in the United States.
Related Post: Calico Cat Symbolism Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
II. Long and short hair
Torbies can have long or short hair.
Whether you are looking for a kitten with a rich luscious coat or one with a short and easy-to-maintain coat, you will find the right fit for you.
However, thanks to the rare nature of the coat color, you will need to do some serious research to find a cat that ticks all your boxes.
III. The famous station master torbie
There was once a tortoiseshell tabby working cat called Tama that lived in Japan.
She was so beautiful and mystical that she become one of the employees in Kishi Station on the Kishigawa Line in Kinokawa, Wakayama.
The cat was assigned the role of a station master and her main role included meeting passengers.
Her wages included cat food. She wore a beautiful hat alongside a neck badge to show who she was at the station.
IV. Tortoiseshell or turtle shell?
There is a high chance that the torbie cat is named after a turtle shell and not a tortoiseshell.
The latter is a dark brown or green-colored material with some variations of color.
The former, on the other hand, has rich brown and orange tones and it is what was used to produce jewelry.
Someone got confused and thought the torbie’s coat looked more like a tortoiseshell when it actually resembles that of a turtle.
There it is – a deep guide or what a torbie cat is and what to expect from him.
If you have a liking for this cat, go ahead and get one.
Just be sure to know all the background stuff like health, grooming needs, exercise, and more.
Hi! I am Eleanor Price. I started this website after my cat, Louie, almost died from a case of botulism (a type of food poisoning often caused by bacteria that grow on food items). Turned out that my cat’s diet was the problem. I have made it my duty to provide the best information and recommendations about everything cat lovers need to know about their felines’ health and wellbeing. My goal is to find the most informative content on anything feline-related and share it with fellow hardworking kitty lovers.
Disclaimer: While I ensure that the advice and tips given here are in line with the latest evidence-based veterinary information and health guidelines, under no circumstance should you misconstrue my suggestions as medical advice. Please contact your veterinarian in all matters regarding your kitty’s health.