Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cats, also called Torties, are just one of over 75 Maine Coon coat color variations. Their coat pattern resembles that of a turtle, hence the name.
Despite their unique and beautiful coloration, however, Tortie Maine Coons possess all the same endearing traits as their counterparts. These friendly, fluffy, and gentle giants are some of the most popular cats of all time, and there are several cool stories about their origins, too!
The Earliest Records of Tortie Maine Coon Cats in History
Maine Coon cats are one of North America’s oldest natural breeds. They originated in Maine, where they are the official state cat. The breed goes back to the 18th century and quite possibly even earlier.
Maine Coons, including Tortie Maine Coons, are thought to be descendants of Norwegian or Siberian forest cats due to their thick fur coats. Some speculate that they were brought to America by the first settlers in New England. Others believe that they were brought over by Marie Antoinette when she was fleeing the French Revolution.
Still, others say that they’re a cross between raccoons and domestic cats. That’s one of the most far-fetched (and impossible) theories out there, but it would certainly explain their bushy tails!
How Tortie Maine Coon Cats Gained Popularity
Maine Coons were the star of countless cat shows in the 19th century, but when other long-haired countries started making their way to America during the 20th century, they lost some of their popularity. Fortunately, they eventually made a comeback and have remained one of the most beloved cat breeds ever since.
As for Tortie Maine Coons, they’ve always been viewed as an extra-rare and special variation of the already-popular breed. So it’s no wonder that they’re so coveted by cat fanciers all over the world!
Formal Recognition of Tortie Maine Coon Cats
Tortie Maine Coon cats and breeds, in general, had a long journey toward official recognition. In 1950, the first organized club for the breed, The Central Maine Cat Club (CMCC), was established by Maine Coon enthusiasts and breeders. And with this club’s help, the Maine Coon slowly started to regain their previous status.
The CMCC was dissolved in the 1960s, but before that, they laid the groundwork for Maine Coons to be recognized as a documented and legitimate breed. Shortly after, in 1968, a new club called the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association (MCBFA) was founded with similar goals to the CMCC: to protect, improve, and promote the Maine Coon cat breed.
Their efforts—and those of other Maine Coon clubs and enthusiasts—paid off. In 1975, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) finally gave the Maine Coon provisional status. The breed received championship recognition the following year in 1976.
In 1979, Maine Coons were also formally recognized as a cat breed by The International Cat Association (TICA).
Top 6 Unique Facts About The Tortie Maine Coon Cat
1. Tortie Maine Coons never have white patches on their coats
This is common for all tortoiseshell cats.
2. Tortie Maine Coons usually have a combo of black and ginger-red fur
The “red” part can be orange, cream, gold, or yellow. The “black” part can be chocolate, gray, or tabby.
3. Tabby Torties are called “Torbies”
4. Male Tortie Maine Coons are super rare
Only 1 in 3,000 Torties are male!
5. Maine Coons were first mentioned in a literary work in 1861
F.R. Pierce was a huge Maine Coon fan who owned several of them. He wrote a chapter for The Book of the Cat about the breed.
6. The very first cat show in the US was in 1985
A Maine Coon cat named “Cosey” won the first cat show.
Does a Tortie Maine Coon Cat Make a Good Pet?
Yes, Tortie Maine Coon cats make for fantastic pets! They’re gentle, loving, and good-natured, and they have a tendency to form strong bonds with their humans. They’re also relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, although their thick fur does require some extra TLC.
Maine Coons also have their quirks. Unlike other cat breeds, expect your Tortie to love water! They’ll jump on any chance to play with it, whether that’s swatting at a running sink, dipping their paws into their water bowls, or trying to join you in the shower.
They’re highly intelligent and receptive to training, to the point where they’ve built a reputation for being dog-like. They’ll play fetch, walk on a leash, and even come when called—although they might not always do what you want them to.
Speaking of which, Tortie Maine Coons also have a bit of a mischievous side. They’re known for being “talkative,” and they love to play games that involve hiding and stalking. So if you’re looking for a low-key lap cat, a Tortie Maine Coon might not be the best choice.
But if you’re okay with a little bit of lighthearted chaos and you’re looking for a furry friend that will become a true member of the family, then a Tortie Maine Coon is definitely the cat for you!
It’s hard to resist the Tortie Maine Coon’s fascinating history, amazing looks, and winning personality. If you’re looking for a fun-loving, intelligent, and devoted pet, this might just be the breed you’re looking for. Just be prepared for lots of cuddles, water play, and general hijinks!
Featured Image Credit: Lana Kud, Shutterstock
- The Earliest Records of Tortie Maine Coon Cats in History
- How Tortie Maine Coon Cats Gained Popularity
- Formal Recognition of Tortie Maine Coon Cats
- Top 6 Unique Facts About The Tortie Maine Coon Cat
- 1. Tortie Maine Coons never have white patches on their coats
- 2. Tortie Maine Coons usually have a combo of black and ginger-red fur
- 3. Tabby Torties are called “Torbies”
- 4. Male Tortie Maine Coons are super rare
- 5. Maine Coons were first mentioned in a literary work in 1861
- 6. The very first cat show in the US was in 1985
- Does a Tortie Maine Coon Cat Make a Good Pet?