Skip to Content

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What Is A Dilute Tortie Cat – Complete Guide & 7 Facts!

What Is A Dilute Tortie Cat – Complete Guide & 7 Facts!

Tortoiseshell cats are easily identified by their bright, vibrant coats. Their fur typically contains vibrant shades of orange mixed with shades of black. Their coloring appears to be splotched all over them, like a tortoiseshell, without creating cohesive patterns you can see in striped or spotted cats. You may have seen this kind of coloring in a cat before, but instead of being vibrant, it looked more pastel. What you might have seen was a Dilute Tortie cat. What exactly is a Dilute Tortie cat?

A Dilute Tortie cat is a cat with traditional tortoiseshell coat coloring that is more pastel and less vibrant.  The coat pattern appears diluted with blue and yellow colors and less orange and black. Dilute Tortoiseshell cats are not a breed of their own and are a variation of a tortoiseshell cat. 

The Dilute Tortie cat has one of the most unique coat patterns you’ll find on any cat. They are one of the more rare cat breeds especially if it’s a male. However, with some searching you can find them for a reasonable price from a reputable breeder. Let’s dive into to all of the facts about Dilute Tortie cats in this complete guide.

What Makes A Dilute Tortie

Dilute torties have a specific genetic makeup that creates their unique diluted, double-color pattern. It is important to note that similar to calicos, Tortie cats, including the diluted ones, are almost always females.

This plays into creating their coat because the X chromosome carries the “instructions” for how their fur is going to look. So if a cat is a female and has two X chromosomes, it means they have received two instructions for their coat pattern, and this is where we see multiple colors being blended.

For tortie cats, this means that they have received the instructions for their coat to be orange and for it to be black. 

Now where these instructions become diluted depends on a recessive gene. The melanophillin, or MLPH, the gene is responsible for the vibrancy of the coat’s pigment.

The MLPH gene can become mutated through a recessive gene. Both parents must have this recessive gene for it to be shown in their offspring. When this gene mutates, it runs the orange parts of the fur to a lighter yellow shade and the black parts to a bluish-gray shade. 

To summarize, Tortie cats have two different color codes in their X chromosomes. These codes are then affected by the presence of the MLPH gene. Then we have a Dilute Tortie!

How Much Is A Dilute Tortie Cat Worth

Tortie cats, in general, are an expensive breed to purchase. Typically, A Dilute Tortie is worth $1,000-$2,000, and the price depends on various factors. The dilution of their fur could play a role in their price depending on how much the seller values it.

Some breeders do not realize how rare it is to have a Dilute Tortie cat and will not price it higher than their other cats. Or, if they specifically sell Tortie cats, they may see a diluted one as defective and therefore not worth as much as the vibrantly colored ones. 

What usually factors into the price are age, place of purchasing, and special breeding techniques. A purebred Tortie will cost more than others because it has higher chances of producing more torties.

Since Torties are predominantly female, a male Tortie will usually go for $2,000+ because of how rare it is. Regardless of it is a Dilute Tortie or not, males are so rare they will always be the more expensive option.

Also, if you purchase from a breeder outside of the country you live in, there will be a lot of travel expenses for you to cover.

Tortie cats can still be fairly regularly found in shelters. Shelters usually will not increase the price of their pets based on the breed; most species have a flat price for all of their adoption fees. An animal shelter or rescue would be a great place to look for a Tortie cat. 

Are Dilute Tortie Cats Rare

Dilute Tortie cats are rare. Tortie cats themselves are already considered to be a rare breed to find, so finding a Dilute Tortie is even rarer. Finding a purebred Dilute Tortie or a male Dilute Tortie is incredibly rare.

Roughly 1 in every 3,000 Tortie cats are male. Most often, these males are born sterile or with lifelong health issues. This is why it is incredibly rare to find a purebred Dilute Tortie because there are not many males around to keep the bloodline pure.

This is also why males tend to be more expensive, especially if they are fertile because many people are interested in breeding purebred Torties. 

More often than not, cats will be found to be a mix of Tortie and something else. They can still display signs of being a Tortie or a Dilute Tortie in their fur pattern, but upon further inspection, you will probably find signs that they are not purebred.

Tabby’s often show color variations that seem to mimic those of a Tortie pattern. Non-purebred Torties are less rare than purebreds but can still be hard to find. If you are lucky, you may find one in a shelter, but even if they are not purebred, they still have unique fur patterns that attract people to them. 

How Long Do Dilute Tortie Cats Live?

Dilute Torties typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years. Some have been known to live as long as 20 years if they are well taken care of. Their lifespan is also increased if they are indoor cats versus outdoor cats.

When you let your cat outside, there is an increased chance of risk for them. There could be other predators outside that could attack them, or they could go too far from home and get lost.

There are also more diseases they can be exposed to when they go outside. They may snack on plants or fruits/vegetables that are poisonous to them and make them sick.

Or there may be bugs that they get bitten by that transfer disease to them. There is a lot of risk in letting your cat outside so consider keeping them as an indoor cat to increase their lifespan.

If you want to let them outside, try to develop structured and safe ways for them to do so. Walking them on a harness is a great way to ensure you do not lose them, and you get to be present for their whole journey outside to make sure they do not get into anything that can harm them.

A playpen outside might be a great choice, too; that way, they can run around and have more freedom without risk of being hurt. Either way, consult your veterinarian to learn more about the risks.

Different environments mean there are different threats to your cat outside, and there may be some preventive medicine, like flea and tick medication, that can help them stay safe.

If they are indoor cats, it is still important to stay updated with their veterinary visits. It is typically recommended to bring them in once a year for certain vaccinations and tests until a certain age.

Once they get older, they may require more attention and need to visit their veterinarian more than once a year.

Especially if you have a male Dilute Tortie who is already prone to illness, they may be more with illness or more susceptible to it later in life, so to ensure they have a long, healthy life, take them to the veterinarian often. 

Are Dilute Tortoiseshell Cats Hypoallergenic

Dilute Tortoiseshell cats are not hypoallergenic. Your allergies to a cat have little to do with the color and pattern of their fur, so picking a Diluting Tortie does not guarantee you will experience fewer allergies.

Fel d1 is the protein associated with creating an allergy to cats. The more of this protein a cat produces, the more likely you will be allergic to them. Some cats have been genetically modified to produce less of this protein, so it is possible you could find a Dilute Tortie that has been modified in this way.

But, this modification does not always guarantee your allergies will subside. This protein is present in their saliva, dander, and skin cells. So you may not be allergic to a Dilute Tortie if you are sitting in the same room as them, but if they bite or scratch you, you may experience an allergic reaction.

There has been some very minimal research to determine that Tortie cats produce less Fel d1 protein than other breeds, but it is not substantial enough to deem them hypoallergenic.

If you are allergic to cats, there is no guarantee that you will not be allergic to a Dilute Tortie cat. If your allergies are minimal, you most likely will build a tolerance just from being around your cat.

If they are more severe, you may have to introduce a daily meditation into your routine to manage your allergies.

Are Tortie Cats More Affectionate

There is a lot of rumor and conjecture surrounding Tortie cats and how affectionate they are. Still, there is no substantial evidence to say they are any more affectionate than any other cat.

They have become known as the divas of the cat world and seem to be more aggressive and outgoing generally.

Many Tortie owners have said that their cats have bold personalities and are very friendly when people come over. This may make it seem like they are more affectionate because they are not hiding when new people come around.

Or they may even be friendly enough to allow people they have just met to pet them and be close to them.

Most of what determines how affectionate a cat is are their upbringing. If you have had your Tortie since they were a kitten and regularly socialized them, then they have probably grown up to be more affectionate. 

Dilute Tortie Personality

Dilute Torties are known to be feisty little divas. They are typically highly energetic and friendly. They usually will not shy from interaction and may become the life of every part you have.

Dilute Torties are also known for being hot-tempered. They may showcase quick mood swings, especially if they are being denied something they want, like treats or toys. This mood swing may result in them trying to bite or scratch you, or they may even experience the Zoomies.

Cat owners typically refer to the Zoomies as when their cat runs around their house as fast as they can. Dilute Torties are very strong-willed and independent.

So while they are friendly and like interaction, they do not necessarily need it. Many cat experts think the vibrancy of their fur is a reflection of the vibrancy of their personality. 

How To Take Care Of A Dilute Tortie Cat

As we have learned, Dilute Torties are the result of a genetic mutation. This mutation only affects the color of their fur and, thankfully, does not affect their health. This means that Dilute Torties are generally very healthy cats and can be taken care of the same way you would take care of any other breed. 

The only common issue seen in Dilute Torties is obesity. This is usually more dependent on the owner and how they take care of their pet. The color of their fur has little to do with them experiencing obesity. To manage this:

  1. Make sure they are getting their proper nutrition.
  2. Meet with their veterinarian to first determine if any underlying health issues need to be addressed.
  3. Determine what type of diet and exercise they need and be consistent with it.
  4. Ask your veterinarian if they require any particular kind of maintenance for their fur.

Typically they will need to be brushed and bathed every so often to stay clean. But, if they have a skin condition like eczema, they will require some specialized care. 

Male Dilute Torties are the only kind of Dilute Torties that are at risk for health issues. This is because the breed typically produces females due to the X chromosomes causing the variation in their fur.

Male Torties are either born with health issues or can develop them over time. It is possible that they can be born perfectly healthy and live completely everyday lives, but it is always best to err on the side of caution and see what your veterinarian recommends you do for them.

Unique Facts About Dilute Tortie Cats

Dilute Tortie cats are a rare find indeed. Not only because of their unique coats but because of the various unique traits that they have. Here are some things you may not have known about Dilute Tortie Cats.

Dilute Tortie Cats Are Almost Always Female

Dilute Tortie cats are almost always going to be female. Of course, the occasional male anomaly happens, so we cannot say they will be female 100% of the time.

Due to the X chromosomes creating the pattern variation in their fur, it is more common for a Dilute Tortie to be female because they will usually have two X chromosomes.

Male Dilute Torties Are Rare But Exist

When a Dilute Tortie is a male, he contains a genetic anomaly where he has two X chromosomes and a Y chromosome. This is how he can have two different color patterns for his fur while still being a male.

However, this genetic anomaly usually comes with lifelong health issues. Most commonly, male Dilute Torties cannot reproduce.

A Variety of Breeds Can Have Dilute Torties

A Dilute Tortie is not a breed of cat on its own. It simply refers to the color of their fur, so a variety of breeds can produce their own Dilute Torties. For example, Dilute Torties have been seen as American Shorthairs, Maine Coons, and Cornish Rex.

Dilute Torties are Different From Calicos

At a quick glance, Torties and Calicos seem to have the same fur pattern. Calicos are also known for mostly being females. So it is very common these two fur patterns are confused, but they are, in fact, different.

Dilute Torties only produce two colors, orange and black, which vary in shade depending on the mutation of their recessive gene. Calicos, on the other hand, produce white, black, and orange patterns. While it is rare for male cats to be Calicos, finding a male Tortie is still more common.


Tortitude is a word coined by Tortie owners to describe the unique attitude that Torties have. Many owners say their cat is feisty and energetic.

This usually has more to do with the cat’s environment and how they were raised, but studies are starting to suggest a link between aggression and coat color.

This aggression is also linked to female hormones, and since Torties are primarily female, they tend to be more aggressive as a whole. 


Dilute Torties are associated with several different folklore tales. If a male Tortie comes into your home in Ireland, it is said to be good luck. In the United States, Torties are known as “money cats” and are often associated with money and wealth. Japanese fishers also believed that bringing a Tortie on their boat ensured protection against storms and ghosts. 

Mosaic vs. Chimera 

While the Tortie pattern generally looks splotched onto the fur instead of stripes or spots, there are still distinct variations in the pattern. A mosaic Tortie will have the traditional color scheme of orange and black painted all over their fur.

These colors will intersect each other to create a mosaic appearance. A chimera pattern is where the colors are split on each side of the body.

This can happen only on the face, and a mosaic appearance will show throughout the rest of the body, or it can happen all over their body as well. If your cat has a chimera pattern, it will still have the traditional color pattern; just one side will be orange while the other is black.