If you’re a cat lover, you might be aware of some of the stereotypes that swirl throughout the feline world. For example, have you heard orange tabbies are the friendliest cats or that all white, blue-eyed cats are deaf? Tortoiseshell cats are almost universally considered to have a bit of an attitude, “tortitude” if you will, but do they meow more than others?
Yes, some Tortoiseshell cats may meow more frequently and have more of an attitude, but because the Tortoiseshell is not a specific breed of cats, but a color variation, how much they meow will depend on more than their coat. In this article, you’ll learn why some Tortoiseshell cats are more vocal and whether their “tortitude” has anything to do with it. We’ll also cover some reasons why your Tortoiseshell cat might be meowing more frequently and whether you should worry about it.
Why Some Tortoiseshell Cats Might Meow More
Several purebred cats, such as the Persian and the Maine Coon, come in Tortoiseshell colors. Many Tortoiseshell cats are mixed breeds. Because Tortoiseshell cats come from such different backgrounds, it’s hard to say with certainty that they all meow more than others. While cats of this color are known for being sassy and talkative, it may not apply to all.
Certain cat breeds, such as Siamese and Oriental Shorthairs, are definitely more vocal, and talkative Tortoiseshells may simply have these breeds in their ancestry. Persian cats, on the other hand, are quieter and less vocal by nature, so Tortoiseshells of this breed may meow less than others.
Another possible reason that Torties have a reputation for being more talkative is that they’re almost all females. Female cats have their own stereotype of being more high-strung than males, possibly including being more vocal. Again, this belief doesn’t apply to all Tortoiseshells, although any female cat in heat will meow (and yowl and howl) more than usual!
What Does the Science Say?
Researchers have not specifically examined whether Tortoiseshell cats meow more, but a study from the University of California-Davis suggests that the Tortie’s reputation for being feisty may be somewhat scientifically accurate.
Based on a survey of cat owners, UC-Davis scientists found that Torties and Calicos seemed more likely to have aggressive interactions than most other colors. Previous research suggests that the genetics of coat color and aggressive behavior might be linked. Because the Tortoiseshell coloring requires a unique genetic mix, their behavior may also be related.
Why Do Cats Meow?
Cats learn to meow as kittens when they use the sound to communicate their needs to their mother. Adult cats typically don’t meow at each other, preferring to use other means of communication such as scent, body language, and vocal cues like hissing. Meowing is almost exclusively reserved for communicating with humans.
Your Tortoiseshell cat may meow to get your attention, to demand food, or because they are happy to see you. You may reinforce this behavior without knowing it when you respond by feeding, petting, or otherwise interacting with your cat. If your Tortoiseshell cat meows a lot, you may have only yourself to blame!
Unfortunately, cats may also meow for concerning reasons. Stress, pain, and certain illnesses or medical conditions could be causing your Tortoiseshell cat to meow more frequently. Older cats can also become mentally confused as they age, often leading to increased vocalizing, especially at night.
If your Tortoiseshell cat is usually quiet but suddenly begins meowing more frequently, there could be a cause for concern. It’s a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any medical reason for the extra meowing.
If you’re interested in adopting a Tortoiseshell cat but are concerned about what you’ve heard about their behavior, remember that every kitty is an individual. Yes, some Tortoiseshell cats may meow more frequently and have more of an attitude, but they aren’t alone in these traits.
Other colors of cats may be just as feisty and noisy! When choosing a new pet, consider whether their personality and needs match your household well, rather than simply dismissing or accepting them because of their coat color.
Featured Image Credit: Kittyfly