Tortoiseshell Cat Price

Tortoiseshell Cat Price

If you are looking for an adorable companion with distinctive fur colors, a tortoiseshell cat is a great option. These cats stand out because of their multicolored fur and feisty attitude. Read on and get to know these so-called divas of the cat world. 

Tortoiseshell cat price: How much does a tortoiseshell cat cost?

Tortoiseshell or tortie cats usually cost around $1000 to $2000 and the price can be on the more expensive end if they have striking coat color combinations. The price may vary depending on the breed, age, place of purchase and if special breeding practices were used. A purebred tortie may cost higher than the others and a fertile male tortie may cost up to $2000 or more because of its rarity.  Tortie cats that come from Russia and other faraway countries may also cost higher than those that came from the US.

Nevertheless, you can always check your local pet shelters for torties that are ready for adoption. If you adopt a tortie from a local pet shelter it usually does not come with a high price tag, 

What is a tortoiseshell cat?

Tortoiseshell cats are named because of their unique multicolor fur that resembles a tortoiseshell. They are not a particular breed and these cats have primarily black, red and orange fur and usually brown mixed in.  Others have less intense colors because of genetics while there are those with chocolate-colored and dark fur.

The patches of torties may be orange, yellow or cream while the black may be chocolate, gray, blue or tabby. Torties with the tabby pattern are called torbies and traditional torties are particolored cats with little or no white markings at all. Those cats with dominant white patches are usually called tricolor or calico in the USA and Canada while in the UK it is commonly called tortoiseshell and white. 

Some of the breeds that can show the tortoiseshell pattern include the following:

  • Japanese Bobtail 
  • Cornish Rex 
  • American Shorthair 
  • British Shorthair
  • Persian 
  • Birman
  • Oriental Longhair
  • Ragamuffin 
  • Maine Coon 

Interesting facts about tortoiseshell cats

Here are some fascinating facts about torties:

1. Torties have unique coat styles. 

Torties have striking coat styles called mosaic and chimera. Mosaic features a traditional color combination that is randomly mixed.  The chimera coat style features one color on one side and a different color on the other side of the body and it may be on the face or entire body. Also, torties have bridled fur colors if they appear to be woven together and patched fur colors if they appear in large sections throughout the body. 

2. Most torties are females and males are very rare.

Torties are almost always female while there may only be one male tortie in every 3,000 female torties. These male torties are usually sterile with a shorter lifespan while fertile male torties are extremely rare. This is mostly due to genetics since the chromosomes that determine a cat’s gender also determine the coat colors. 

Female sex chromosome X carries the genetic code for black and orange colors while the male sex chromosome Y does not carry coat color information. Female torties have two sets of genetic information that determine cat color resulting in black and orange coat color variations while male torties have one X and one Y chromosome, indicating that they can only be orange or black and not both colors. 

3. Torties have distinctive temperaments.

Despite not being a specific breed,  most cat experts agree that torties have distinctive temperaments and personalities. These cats are known to be independent, loyal to their owners but may also tend to be hot-tempered at times. A study made by UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on the link between a cat’s coat color and behavior suggests that torties have distinct and sassy temperaments, also commonly called “tortitude”.  Incidentally, most tortie cat owners agree that these cats were diva-like, high-energy and may tend to be aggressive at times. However, the said study did not find a direct link between coat color and temperament or personality.  

4. Torties are believed to be bringers of good fortune. 

There are superstitious beliefs that surround torties and various countries around the world have their legends about these adorable cats. Just some of these are the following:

  • Japanese people believe that torties help to protect their homes from ghosts and spirits.
  • Torties are said to form from the blood of a young goddess according to Southeast Asian folklore.
  • Torties are believed to be money cats that bring good fortune to homes according to a belief in the United States. 
  • According to English folklore, afflictions like warts are healed by rubbing a tortie cat’s tail into it. 


Tortoiseshell or tortie cats are special because of their distinctive coat colors and feisty temperament. They are quite costly to own and may cost from $1000 to $2000 depending on the age, breed and where it was purchased. 

Image: / Michele Wright