Difference Between Tortie and Calico (With Table)

Globally we have varieties of cat breeds known to us. The major difference between these different cat breeds is nothing but the genetic makeup of them. As the slightest change in the genetic code can cause smaller or larger mutations and characteristic features in the body-the color of the fur, eyeball color, different color patches present on the body, whiskers, etc.

Tortie vs Calico

The difference between Tortie and Calico is that the breed of Tortie cats only does have two types of color cats that are black and red, they do not have any white color cats, whereas the breed of Calico has an extra gene present which results in the appearance of white unpigmented spots on the body of the cats. The possibility is that either there will be a white-colored cat with few colored patches or an entirely colored cat with few white patches on the body.

Tortie Cats or Tortoiseshell Cats are the two words used synonymously. The name of the breed is this because of their appearance, just like the shell of the tortoise. Precisely, tortie cats are referred to as bi-colored coats cats. They are people-friendly pets and can be put in houses.

Calico Cats are referred to the domestic cat breeds which have a tricolored coat matiz present on them. Surprisingly, the word Calico doesn’t refer to any kind of cat breed but is the variation of tricolored coats on the cat’s body. The most common color of the Calico cat is White color with clack and orange color patches.

Comparison Table Between Tortie and Calico

Parámetros de comparaciónTortieCalico
DefiniciónTortie cats are referred to the cats which have an appearance just like a tortoiseshell.Calico cats are referred to the cats which have three colors on their body fur.
Color Commonly they have a blend of orange and black.They have white, orange, and black color on their body fur.
Otros nombresTortoiseshell, TorbieBrindle, Tricolor
RazasAmerican and British Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Persian, Maine CoonsManx, Arabian Mau, Siberian, Turkish Angora, Japanese Bobtail, Turkish Van
ActitudStrong-willed, hot-tempered, possessive towards owner, fierce, unpredictableMore fierce, strong-willed, very high tempered, aggressive behavior like – hissing, biting, swatting,

What is Tortie?

Tortie Cats are also known as Tortoiseshell cats. This is because of the resemblance of their body fur color with that of the shell of a tortoise. Tortie cats are mainly females. There is a rare possibility of male cats, and if so, they are born male. They are usually sterile. 

These types of cats are usually having a blend of orange and black color. Sometimes the cats are born with the dominant colors and are thus referred to as lack of “dominant coloring,” meaning the color on the fur will appear lighter than usual. 

Sometimes Tortie cats resemble one of the colors of the Tabby cats, and thus they are referred to as “Torbie” or “Torbie Cats.” The attitude of the Tortie cats is very fierce, hot-tempered, possessive towards the owner, strong-willed, and is unpredictable.  

Some of the breeds of tortie are – 

  • American Shorthair
  • British Shorthair 
  • Cornish Rex
  • persa
  • Maine Coons

What is Calico?

Calico cats are also known as Brindle or Tricolor cats. They are thus referred to because of the presence of three color fur on their body. Calico cats are mainly females, and male Calico cats are rarely found, and if, so they are said to be sterile.

As the name suggests, the cats have three distinct colors in which white color is must present along with the orange color (sometimes reddish-brown or red) and black (sometimes blue or grey). The presence of white color in Calico cats is because of the presence of an extra spotting gene which results in the white unpigmented color patches on a colored fur body or the whole fur to be white with multiple color patches on the body.

A surprising fact to be known is that Calico is not the name of the breed but the scientific appearance of three colors on the fur. Also, they are said to be super lucky for their owners and are rarely to breed, which means nature selects their traits and randomly produces them.

Main Differences Between Tortie and Calico

  1. Tortie Cats are usually referred to the cats resembling the body color with the tortoiseshell, whereas Calico Cats are referred to the cats which have three colors on their body fur.
  2. Tortie cats usually have a blend of two colors, orange and black, while the Calico cats have a blend of three colors where the presence of white color is a must, along with orange color (sometimes reddish-brown or red) and black (sometimes grey or blue).
  3. Tortie Cats are referred to with different names, which are Tortoiseshell Cats or Torbie Cats, while Calico Cats are referred to with other names such as Brindle, Tricolor, Tobi Mi-ke (Triple fur in Japanese), Lapjesket (In Dutch referred to as patches cats).
  4. Tortie cats have many other breeds, which are American and British shorthair, Persian, Cornish Rex, Maine Coons while other breeds for Calico cats are Manx, Arabian Mau, Siberian, Turkish Angora, Japanese Bobtail, and many more.
  5. The attitude or nature of the Tortie cat is fierce, independent, possessive towards its owner, strong-willed, unpredictable, hot-tempered, etc. whereas the attitude or nature of the Calico cat is very fierce, highly tempered, strong-willed, very aggressive some of the behavior is – hissing, swatting, and biting.  

Conclusión

The terms Tortie and Calico are mainly used to signify the color patterns of the cat’s fur and not the breed. It is believed that all tortie cats are calico, but not all calico cats are considered to be tortie cats. Although somewhat their genetic code makeup is the same but differing the extra spotting gene which is absent in Tortie and is present in Calico.

Both Tortie and Calico cats are mainly females, and male cats are rarely to be found. Also, they are considered as good luck for their respective owners. Interestingly, Calico cats are known to be official state cats in – Maine, Massachusetts, and Maryland.  

Referencias

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24953922?seq=1
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10888705.2015.1081820