The inimitable PepperWhereas: only 9% of cats in Tabby’s Place history have been tortoiseshells.

Whereas: we are presently graced with no fewer than six torties.

Resolved: this is cause for massive celebration.

Pepper the beautifulYes, we are rich in black-and-orange ladies with massive personalities. If the ’60s were the hippie era and the ’80s were the “me generation,” these quirkiest of cats are claiming the ’10s as the Decade of the Tortie.

Then again, knowing torties, they’re planning the Eon of the Tortie. No mere ten years will suffice for these girls.

Any admiring tour of the Tabby’s Place torties must begin with the glamazon you’ve already met: the unsinkable Pepper. As the high queen of Tabby’s Place the entire known universe, Pepper is a busy woman, and has no time for beating around any bushes. If you should walk into Jonathan’s office Pepper’s throne room, you’ll be wise to begin doting on her before attending to any secondary matters (pulling up a chair, greeting Jonathan, breathing etc.). Otherwise, Pep will make it quite clear, in her famous Pepper peep, that you are falling down on the job. She’ll perch right on the edge of Jonathan’s desk, golden eyes wide with shock at your neglect, and squeak at you until you mend your ways. Fortunately for the both of you, it is essentially impossible not to pet and adore Pepper once you’ve been in her presence for 3-4 seconds.Pitzel on her printer

There are, in fact, other torties at Tabby’s Place, and we do, in fact, adore them too. (Best if you don’t mention this to Pepper.) In fact, Jonathan often ponders aloud how glorious it would be if all the torties reported to the Executive Director’s office at once. It hasn’t happened just yet, but knowing these headstrong girls, I’d never rule it out.

Just next door to Jon’s office are two of the loveliest torties you could ever hope to love. You’ve already met the elegant Pitzel, a leggy love-bug who just keeps getting sweeter the longer she’s with us. In this bitter New Jersey winter, Pitz has taken up a perch on our large, loud color printer. It’s a win-win situation: Pitzel siphons off the printer’s heat, and the printer benefits from her good vibes. Nope, I’m not kidding or being cute: honestly, the printer has never been more reliable than in the days since Pitzel’s chosen it as her bed. (And this is truly a feat, as the word once commonly used to describe this printer was “hateful.”)Sweet sweet Franny

Pitzel’s roomie is the ultimate snuggler, lover of cardboard boxes and catnip connossieur Franny. Breaking the tortie stereotype, Franny seems to have been born without a pinch of “attitude.” In its place is only sweetness. Despite arthritis, asthma, chronic renal insufficiency and diabetes, Franny is a puddle of purrs any time anyone reaches to touch her. I’ve long dreamed of the day when Franny will find her home with a quiet, cuddly soul – perhaps someone who spends much of the day watching Dr. Phil and The Price Is Right on a cozy couch. Nothing would make Franny happier than all-day lap-lounging sessions – and I don’t think she’d be picky about viewing preferences.

Beatrice looking for (human) loveNot that there’s anything wrong with picky torties. At the other end of the “tortietude” spectrum is fiery phenom Beatrice. Sweet Bea’s love for human beans knows no bounds, and she could easily rival Franny in snugglitude. But, when it comes to other cats, Beatrice’s love…well, it doesn’t exactly exist. After spending time with Bea, it’s almost unfathomable that this cuddler could be such a tyrant towards her own species, but her list of “offenses” grows by the week. Bea was once adopted by a very patient and loving person, who tried her best to make it work for six long months before ultimately conceding that she couldn’t take Bea’s daily beatdowns of her eighteen-year-old cat. Back at Tabby’s Place, Bea has enjoyed a reign of terror over such roomies as Hootz and Natasha. Finding the right Tabby’s Place suite for Beatrice continues to be a challenge – but adoring her is utterly easy.

Natasha feeling greatSpeaking of Natasha, here we have the case of a tortie whose ‘tude has only mellowed and sweetened with time. Natasha was never, ever a mean girl, but she had reason to be cranky when she first came to us 2+ years ago. With unchecked stomatitis, Natasha’s mouth was in such agony that she could hardly stand to eat, and so her inflamed gums were matched with a perilously bony body. Understandably, Natasha cowered any time anyone reached to pet her aching head, and her temper was short when it came to the species who had let her down so grievously in the past. But two years have wrought a transformation, inside and out, for this elegant girl. Now healed, cherished, and happily toothless, tortie ‘Tash genuinely loves people, and has become a confident, affection-adoring girl.

Gretta greets meAs for our final tortie, it’s taken her no time at all to find her confidence at Tabby’s Place. As soon as I went in to meet petite Gretta this week, she sashayed right up to me, face and meow full of fun and friendliness. That friendliness was equally extended to her roomies, Hughley and Jester…until Hughley made the mistake of attempting to share my attention. Gretta’s swatting paw was quick like…well, like a cat. Tortietude strikes again!

Truth be told, for all that’s said about “tortietude,” I admire the torties’ celebrated sense of self. They epitomize one of the coolest cat qualities: knowing who they are and having no apologies for it. If you’re going to love a tortie, you’re going to have to love her exactly as she is. Imagine if we human beans could love each other so whole-heartedly, so unconditionally.

Perhaps this Decade Eon of the Tortie will be good for us all.

11 thoughts on “Tortiepalooza

  1. Angela – Loved this post! It appears that the qualities you describe for the TP black and orange torties also apply to the lilac and cream version of tortie. Our little beauty, Isolde (aka Soldie, SoSo, Princess Soldie), fits your profile completely. She will not be unnoticed! In fact, she loves to help me apply makeup by sitting on the other side of the mirror and reaching around to touch eyelashes and eyebrows while squeaking frantically. This (of course) means it’s time for secret treats (meaning treats meant only for her and not when being distributed to the kitties en masse). If I happen to be sleeping, she will walk back and forth over me until I get up!

  2. Ah, yes — the tortie personality. Our little girl, Ramona, knows it’s all about HER — despite her multiple health issues (she has high blood pressure, kidney disease and is blind) she will stand in the middle of the room and scream until she gets noticed…earning her the loving nickname “Miss Cranky-pants!”

    1. Karen, it sounds like Ramona’s “tortietude” is serving her well and keeping her going strong through all her issues. Bless you for giving her all the attention and love she demands. 🙂

  3. My tortoiseshell Suri, a Tabby’s Place alumna, gives this post 5 stars. She also grandly fits the quirky tortie profile. She loves to sleep on the bed at night, but insists that the covers be folded at a 45 degree angle on the side or she will meow loudly until such time as this issue is resolved (namely, I get up and fold the covers at a 45 degree angle on the side). She also loves to play “chase” with my other cats, but each session lasts exactly 10 minutes (you can set your watch), at which point it then immediately transforms into a broadcast of WWF cat wrestling. And of course, she always has to rearrange her water and food dishes with her front paw. No matter where I put them in her snack area, the display is not quite right. It must be adjusted. Several times. Torties rule!

    1. Amen to that, Suzanne! We all remember Suri so fondly. I love the image of her leading the wrestling bouts in your house and demanding that the bed be arranged to the precise angle of her liking. 🙂

  4. Before Rascal came into my life and adopted me, I fostered two kittens from a litter of seven. This was my first time ever having a cat or kitten in my home as I had severe allergies that had to be fixed first. One of these kittens was a little Tortie that by all accounts should never have lived. She was so small when she was born we really didn’t think she could make it. That was my first lesson in Tortie-tude! Not only did she live but she soon learned that size doesn’t matter when it comes to showing everyone who is boss in the nest! Little charm never did reach the size of her siblings but she held her own with no trouble. She was so sweet and so loving it really hurt when the time came to let her go to her new home. But, she and her brother, the oldest of the litter, had bonded so tightly I could not bring myself to break them up. So off to a new home she went and out of my life. But Charm and Bear both taught me so much that by the time my rotten TNR kitty adopted me as his own and moved into my home, I was ready for him. It all goes to show that in their world, size really does not matter and if you think it does, just remember Charm’s Tortie-tude….gets you every time.

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