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Tortoiseshell or Calico?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a question:

Are torti's and calico's considered the same? The reason I'm asking is...Lucky (pictures in the Ferals threads) is a torti and our vet has it in their records that she's a Calico.

In general, don't calico's generally have more white markings on them with the browns/orange/black colorations?

I am going to double check at the vets - since if she'd ever need to be identified by coloring - it should be correct on the forms, but I've asked several other people about this and they didn't know the answer either.

post #2 of 11
As far as I know, tortoiseshells have no white markings, and calicos have white together with the red/black or yellow/brown markings. What might interest you - in German, calico cats are called "Glückskatzen", or "lucky cats". I just had a look at the picture - unless Lucky has white under her chin (I can't tell by the picture), she's a tortoiseshell, not a calico.
post #3 of 11
I think tortoiseshell is a kind of marblized color. Its more blended than the large patches of a calico. You can also have a tortiseshell calico that will have the white patches/black patches and tortiseshell patches. Their are probably some cat breeders here who can describe it better. They have the colors well described in there breed standards.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks! You know...Lucky has a very small patch of white on her neck area (under her chin). Hmmm....but yet the rest of her is definitely tortoiseshell.
post #5 of 11
Difficult - technically, she's probably a calico, but in fact a tortoiseshell with a small white "locket". My family has a "thing" about tortoiseshells - they'll adopt one in a minute -, but none of them have had any white at all.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
That's exactly how I would describe it - a "locket" of white. Well put, Jcat! Doesn't matter which she is - she'll always be loved just for being herself.
post #7 of 11
I've always referred to Rowdy as a tortoiseshell - she has no white, at all. She has some buff, on her throat and belly.

I think the calicos have patches of red and black, on a white background but, I've bee wrong before.
post #8 of 11
A very knowledgeable friend of mine, when asked this question responded thus:

The difference between a calico and tortieshell, calico simply is a generic term for any dilute, tortiseshell or parti-colored calico, etc. The colors vary, where a dilute can be a light colored or mottled coloring and a tortiseshell has darker shades. Usually all calicos include the colors orange (or red), brown, black and white, whereas some mixed breeds only contain a smidgeon of colors
post #9 of 11
On our Standard of Points, a calico is white with addition of tortoiseshell colours i.e. coat patched at random with red, cream or apricot. At least half the coat to be coloured and at least 20% to be white. The face must be patched with colour and white.
A tortoiseshell therefore has a coat patched at random with red, cream or apricot - no white. It would be nice to get an opinion from a show judge.
post #10 of 11
This is from www.fanciers.com/catfaqs

With a calico, there is a significant amount of white, and the colors are broken up into distinct patches. This has to do with the interaction of white spotting.

With a tortoiseshell, the three colors are blended and don't form distinct patches. A tortoiseshell may have significant portions of white as well, but the remaining colors are blended (this particular pattern is called a tortoiseshell and white).

A torbie, or patched tabby, is a tortoiseshell where the tabby pattern is very distinct all over the cat. A calico or tortoiseshell may have distinct tabby pattern on the red or cream patches (has to do with another gene we won't get into at this juncture), but no patterning on the other color. This isn't a torbie. A torbie is clearly patterned all over the cat -- though never on the white.

I have always called Popcorn a tortoiseshell as calico isn't used in Australia. I know now that she (and Vegemite) are calico's. When I added Vegemite to the pet insurance, I told them she was a calico and they said the computer wouldn't let them enter that so they just called her tortoiseshell. It doesn't bother me though, they're my girls and that's what matters.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I believe Lucky is indeed a torti being that she has very little white. I had always considered the Calico's to be 20% or more white as well. Very good to know. Thanks again!
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