Brindled Cats: A Complete Guide to your Kitty’s Pattern

As an Amazon Associate, we may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases but at no extra cost to you.

After pondering on it for a while, you are ready to become a pet parent. Now, all you have to do is make a decision on the specific type of cat to bring home with you. Perhaps you came across a brindled cat somewhere and fell in love with the coat color. We can’t blame you. A cat with such a coat is hands down one of the most beautiful creatures you ever laid your eyes on.

However, there’s more to the brindled cat than meets the eye. Before you shell your cash for the cute kitty on the breeder’s website or adopt one from the shelter, you are better off arming yourself with all the information about caring for her. Here, we have broken down everything about a brindled cat for you.

What Is A Brindled Cat?

The term “brindle’ is not thrown around in the cat world much. It is mostly used in the canine world. In short, a brindled cat means a cat with a tortoiseshell coat or a tortie. So, the terms brindle and tortie mean the same thing. In some instances, the tabby can also pass as a brindled cat but it is mostly a tortie. The cat’s coat looks like a tortoiseshell and hence the naming.

A cat with the brindle pattern often combines two colors: black and ginger red. The black can also be diluted gray. Other common brindle colors include orange, gold, and cream. There are brindled cats with diluted coloring such as chocolates and browns with darker fur. It’s all about the genetics at play.

Brindling is not really specific to breeds. It can occur in a number of cat breeds including the Persian, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, Cornish Rex, and American Shorthair. Ideally, the coat coloring can affect mixed and purebred as well as short-haired or long-haired felines.

What Causes Brindling?

The female X chromosome is solely responsible for making the coat of the cat appear brindled. The Y chromosome, essentially, doesn’t carry any code for coat color. In the kitten embryo, the X chromosomes express different alleles at random. The expressed allele has a lot of impact on the resulting coat color.

As the kitten grows, the skin cells undergo division over and over again. The cells carrying the alleles spread across the cat’s skin and gives it a unique pattern, or brindle as we know it.

Because the X chromosome is the main player in brindling, cats with this specific coat are female. Only 1 out of 3000 brindled cats is male. The rest are females. It’s really all in the genes. See, females bear two X chromosomes carrying both black and orange coat colors. Males, on the other hand, have only one. So, the coloring can either be black or orange and not both. If you do find a male brindled cat, he will have the XXY combination of chromosomes and will be sterile because of this.

Types of Brindled Cats

Brindled cats come in two different types – mosaic and chimera. Mosaic is the common pattern and features a coat with the traditional coloring mixed at random. It is also spread all over the body. A cat with the chimera, on the other hand, has one brindle color on one side of his body and another on the other side. It can occur in the face as well as other parts of the body. A brindled cat can also have tabby markings on the body and be called a torbie.

Brindled Cat Personality

While brindle is not a breed-specific phenomenon, it has an effect on the personality of the kitty. Cats with this distinct color have been known to have a sassy temperament. This is loosely referred to as ‘tortitude’ out there which is a combination of two words: ‘tortie’ and ‘attitude’. Apparently, these little balls of fur can be quite feisty. They have actually earned the name of ‘divas of the cat world’ because they take will and independence to another level.

Many pet parents with brindled cats agree that their fur babies are divas for sure. They ooze confidence, wit, and aggression. If you have another cat at home, the brindled one is less likely to warm up to her easily.  She can be standoffish and unaccepting of any attempt to make friends. In case you have younger cats, the brindled may give them a hard time. Again, some of these things are based on the individual. Your story may go in the opposite direction.

Besides being sassy and confident, a brindle cat is a high-energy feline. This is not the kind to sit around the sofa all day. If you have a yard, he will love to play out there. He will hunt rodents, dig holes for fun, climb up and down trees, and just enjoy his life.

Expect your brindle cat to also be talkative, happy, and always excited to hang with you. If you have a number of people in your household, she will cultivate a different kind of relationship with every member. It is said that this cat can even create a special greeting for each family member. She is free-spirited, fiery, head-strong, empathetic, and simply delightful to be around.

Brindled Cat Health

The pattern and color of a cat, fortunately, don’t influence the health of the cat. It is not an issue that affects certain breeds only. Rather, it can happen to any and every breed. As you shop around for a brindled cat, always pay extra attention to the breed to get her health information.

In general, felines are prone to ailments of the skin, kidneys, and mouth. However, if you are ready to get your hands on a male brindle cat, keep in mind that he will have gene-related health problems, thanks to his complex genetic code.

Brindled Cat Lifespan

Like health, the brindle pattern has no direct correlation with the lifespan of the cat. Again, the specific breed determines how long the feline lives. A mortality and longevity study done in the UK consisting of 100,000 cats revealed that the average lifespan is 14 years. Your kitty can surpass this target or live under it depending on the breed among other factors. Find out the lifespan of the breed to know how long you will have her.

Important Facts about Brindled Cats

  • Brindled cats are thought to bring good luck around the world. The Tortie is literally called “the money cat” in the United States. People believe that the breed brings good fortune. In the United Kingdom, it is claimed that the cat’s skin can heal warts.
  • Besides being lucky, some people also believe a brindle cat is mystical and has superpowers. The Japanese believe that the Tortoiseshell cat offers protection from ghosts. Other countries including Scotland and Ireland also have such mystical beliefs.
  • The brindle cat is Maryland’s official cat. The cat, a Maine Coon with tortoiseshell markings and white patches, became a symbol of the state in October 2001.
  • A brindled cat can have a woven-like appearance or have huge sections over the body. You have to be careful to know the difference. No matter the type of brindling, this feline is a true beauty.

Final Thoughts

There it is – everything you need to know about a brindled cat. Clearly, this is a strong-willed, energetic, and beautiful feline baby. If you are blown away by the cute coat, we don’t see why you shouldn’t own one. As long as you select the right kitten from the right breeder, you should be good to go.