Are calico and tortoiseshell the same?

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
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to 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).

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important
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