Are calico and tortoiseshell the same?
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No, ‘calico’ is American terminology meaning a tortoiseshell-and-white domestic cat. This means a cat with some white fur mixed in with tortoiseshell fur. These cats can be purebred, pedigree cats or random bred cats.

Tortoiseshell and calico cats

Tortoiseshell and calico cats

There will be varying amounts of white and sometimes the colors are faint (diluted) but all are described as calico cats.

Tortoiseshell cats can be dark in colour (black torties) or lighter and sometimes faint (muted). All are tortoiseshell cats. Once again cats with this sort of fur can be purebred, pedigree cats or random bred cats (moggies).

I won’t go over these two types of cat coats in detail here because there are already two pages (and more – use custom search) on them:

  1. Calico Cats
  2. Tortoiseshell Cats

Some cat owners believe that cats with tortoiseshell coats have distinct characters (‘Tortitude’ meaning feisty).




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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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