Tortoiseshell Maine Coon: Facts, Traits & More (With Pictures)

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat with leash in backyard

Tortoiseshell Maine Coons are known as the “divas of the cat world.” Often referred to as “torties,” these headstrong creatures boast of their beautiful and unique multi-colored fur.

While cats, in general, are known for being spunky and independent, tortoiseshell Maine Coons seem to be taking it to a higher level. But do they really have more attitude than the average feline?

Despite their “tortitude,” many cultures believe that tortoiseshell Maine Coons bring good luck. Aside from their coat color, what makes them different from other Maine Coons? Read along to find out!

What Is a Tortoiseshell Maine Coon?

Hungry tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat sitting on wooden table waiting for food

Tortoiseshell Maine Coons are one of the rare color variations of the breed. Named after their similarity to turtle shells, these cats have multi-colored coats. Usually, they come in a mixture of red, orange, black, and brown colors. Because of their peculiar look, tortie cats are often priced higher.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coons are recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) under the parti-color color class.

Described as black with patches of red or softly-intermingled areas of red, they can also be mixed with other classes such as white, shell, shaded, smoke, and more.

The term “tortitude” often comes to mind when talking about tortie Maine Coons. These eye-catching felines are believed to be willful, feisty, and full of unpredictable attitudes. But are these assumptions true?

While some studies reveal that a cat’s coat color may play a role in their hostility, many cultures believe that Maine Coons with this coat color bring good luck.

Are Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Cats Rare?

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cats are relatively rare. Despite being popular, they are difficult to find in shops, rescues, or shelters. Their coat genetics also contributes to their rareness, which will be discussed later on.

If you’re looking for a male tortie Maine Coon, the challenge of finding one is greater! Almost all tortoiseshell Maine Coon cats are female, and while there are occasional males, they are either sterile or have chronic health issues.

The difficulty of finding a healthy male tortoiseshell Maine Coon for breeding, together with their complicated coat genetics, make tortoiseshell Maine Coons a rare find.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Appearance

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat lying in grass waiting for prey

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cats are massive felines popular for their muscular bodies and beautiful coats that come in a wide combination of colors and patterns.

A tortie Maine Coon’s characteristic multi-colored coat comes with patches of different shades of red, orange, black, and brown. There are also dilute tortoiseshell Maine Coons with less-intense colorations due to genetics.

Their unique and striking coats are caused by their interesting genetics resulting from both hereditary and developmental factors. Unlike other Maine Coons, the markings on a tortoiseshell Maine Coon are often asymmetrical.

As one of the largest domestic cat breeds, tortoiseshell Maine Coons boast of their muscular bodies, broad chests, and long fur. Typically, they measure between 10 and 16 inches in height and 8 to 18 pounds in weight. 

In rare cases, some tortoiseshell Maine Coons impressively reach up to 40 inches in length!

All in all, the tortoiseshell Maine Coon is the perfect companion for those who are looking for a large, multi-colored pet. These cats are undeniably more eye-catching than other Maine Coon colors, such as orange and black.

READ NEXT: Black Maine Coon: Do Solid Black Maine Coon Cats Exist?

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Color Genetics

The difficulty of finding or producing tortie-colored Maine Coons can be explained by simple genetics and developmental factors.

Two pigments called eumelanin (black pigment) and pheomelanin (red pigment) are responsible for all cat colors. For tortie Maine Coons, they have one of each pigment.

The tortie pattern is caused by x-linked genes and is referred to as a mosaic expression. Like humans, felines carry sex chromosomes. Females have two X (XX) chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome (XY).

In cats, the X chromosome carries the gene for coat color. Since females have two X chromosomes, they may carry two different genes for coat color in each chromosome.

Since tortie Maine Coons carry both cat color pigments, the two different genes in each chromosome do not mix to form a single color.

In addition, during the early stages of an unborn kitten’s development, their chromosomes undergo a process called lyonization, where one X chromosome in each cell is randomly deactivated.

The random deactivation causes some skin cells to retain the gene for red fur, while others retain the gene for black fur. The whole process results in a tortoiseshell pattern.

READ NEXT: Grey Maine Coon – Facts, Patterns & Traits (With Pictures)

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Temperament and Personality

Adult cute tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat walk on park grass

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cats surprisingly make good family cats despite their infamous feisty reputation. Aside from being perfect family companions, they are also believed to bring good luck and safety.

Tortie Maine Coons are affectionate and are good with children, dogs, and other cats. They need a large amount of space and playtime, and leaving them alone will make them feel lonely and anxious.

If you wish to see how affectionate tortie Maine Coons can be, check the video below:

Our Affectionate Tortoiseshell Maine Coon

Compared with other Maine Coons, torties can get super loud. Their chatters and purring may come as a surprise, especially for first-time owners. If you’re looking for a quiet feline, best to check other Maine Coons or other breeds.

Cat owners believe that tortie Maine Coons have an independent and strong-willed nature due to their color. In addition, research revealed that your tortie Maine Coon’s behavior might be connected to its coat color.

It is important to note that more studies are needed to prove the assumption that torties are a pain in the neck. If you’re on the lookout for a cat that will keep you on your toes, the tortoiseshell Maine Coon might be your best choice.

Despite their temperamental reputation, tortie Maine Coons are believed to bring good luck! In Western countries, they are referred to as “money cats,” and Japanese culture views them as cats who ward off ghosts and evil spirits.

In conclusion, tortoiseshell Maine Coons are not your ordinary breed. They are perfect for families who wish to have the little excitement that comes with taking care of a tortie!

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Lifespan and Health Issues

Tortie Maine Coons are generally healthy pets. On average, they live between 10 and 13 years. But like other cat breeds, there are health issues a pet owner should be aware of.

Male tortoiseshell Maine Coons, on the other hand, have significantly shorter lifespans than female tortie Maine Coons. On average, they can live between 5 and 8 years and may have serious health issues throughout their lives.

In very rare cases where a male tortoiseshell Maine Coon is produced — about one in 3000 — they are born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome. Male torties with XXY syndrome are sterile and live with serious health conditions.

For both male and female tortie Maine Coons, their large build makes them prone to developing musculoskeletal diseases. Heart diseases are also common.

Below is a list of the most common health issues your tortie Maine Coon may develop:

  • Arthritis: Your tortie Maine Coon’s large stature makes them prone to developing cat arthritis characterized by painful joints and uncomfortable mobility. Keeping them active and maintaining a healthy body weight will help reduce their chance of developing this disease.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition affecting your tortie Maine Coon’s anatomy. It is characterized by a developmental defect of the hip socket and causes generalized weakness. To alleviate the symptoms caused by the disease, keep your tortie at an appropriate weight.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): Like other cat breeds, your tortoiseshell Maine Coon is prone to developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It is characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle causing breathing problems and lethargy. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will help prevent your tortie Maine Coon from developing this condition.

Overall, tortoiseshell Maine Coons are generally healthy, but the possibility of developing health issues is always there. To guarantee their well-being, keep them healthy, and get regular veterinary check-ups.

How Much Does a Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Cat Cost? Kitten Prices & Expenses

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon kitten for sale and adoption

Maine Coon torties are popular and in demand, but they are generally rare. Depending on different factors, a Maine Coon tortie kitten may come with a price tag of $1,500 to $3,000.

If you’re looking for tortie Maine Coon kittens for breeding purposes or those from champion bloodlines, prices can reach up to $10,000.

Aside from the initial tortie Maine Coon kitten price, the expenses that may come as you bring them home can get costly.

The table below shows the initial expenses and corresponding costs that may come after you purchase your tortie Maine Coon:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$20 – $50
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $25
Litter Box$20 – $160
Litter Sand$15 – $25
Collar and ID Tag$5 – $20
Cat Bed$15 – $30
Cat Carrier$20 – $60
Toys and Scratching Post$15 – $70
Grooming Essentials$25 – $35
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $250
Initial Vaccine Shots$25 – $50
Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medications$30 – $100
Neutering or Spaying$200 – $500
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$555 – $1,465

It is worth noting that this price range only covers the initial costs. Prices can be higher if you consider recurring expenses.

While it may be challenging, you may consider getting your tortie Maine Coon from an animal shelter or rescue if you think the average tortie Maine Coon kitten price is out of your budget.

RELATED: How Much Does a Maine Coon Cost? (2023 Price Guide)

Places to Find Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Kittens for Sale and Adoption

Finding tortoiseshell Maine Coon kittens for sale can be challenging, and they usually come with high price tags. 

To narrow down your options, I’ve come up with a list of the most reputable tortoiseshell Maine Coon breeders in the United States. These breeders are certified by The International Cat Association (TICA).

Here are some of the most reputable Maine Coon tortie breeders you can get your kitten from:

  • King Klaudr Coons Cattery – Based in North Colorado, King Klaudr Coons is a TICA-certified “Cattery of Excellence.” A Maine Coon tortie from them costs between $1,500 and $2,000, inclusive of genetic testing. If you wish to get a tortie Maine Coon kitten with breeding rights, the price starts at $9,000.
  • Chemicoons – Chemicoons, based in Illinois, is owned and operated by a chemistry professor who has a passion for both chemistry and Maine Coons. Tortie Maine Coon kittens from them cost around $1,000 to $2,000, depending on location and other factors. All kittens from Chemicoons undergo health screening, genetic testing, and TICA registration.
  • Megacoon – Claiming to be one of the best cattery facilities in the USA, Megacoon is TICA-certified and based in North Carolina. Maine Coon tortie kittens from Megacoon may cost you around $2,000 to $2,500, inclusive of health guarantees, genetic testing, and spay or neuter procedures.

For more options on where you can get your tortoiseshell Maine Coon kitten, check our article on the 10 best Maine Coon breeders.

RELATED: 10 Best Maine Coon Breeders (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

If the kitten price from reputable breeders is out of your budget, adopting or getting your tortie Maine Coon from shelters or rescues is an option. The process, however, can be challenging.

Before bringing your tortie Maine Coon from a shelter or rescue, be sure to ask about the cat’s hereditary conditions or other health-related issues.

Here are some organizations that may help you get your tortoiseshell Maine Coon through adoption:

  • Adopt-a-Pet – Helping over 21,000 animal shelters, rescue groups, and adoption agencies, Adopt-a-Pet advertises homeless pets like cats and dogs. You may check their website to search for an available tortoiseshell Maine Coon for adoption.
  • Petfinder – Petfinder is a trusted and reputable adoption website with a network of over 11,500 shelters and rescues. Petfinder’s website makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for with their location-based search and other helpful filters.
  • Best Friends Animal Society – Best Friends is a non-profit organization that operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless animals and provides adoption, spay and neuter services, and educational programs. You may search their database from time to time based on your location to look for tortie Maine Coons for adoption.

For more options on where you can adopt or rescue your tortie Maine Coon, check our article on the 10 best Maine Coon rescues for adoption.

If you don’t have the budget for the costly tortie Maine Coon kitten price from breeders, or even adoption fees, you may check our article on 11 ways to find free kittens in your area.

Whether you choose to purchase from a reputable breeder or adopt from a shelter, bring them to a veterinarian to screen for health issues and ensure that they are healthy.

RELATED: 10 Best Maine Coon Rescues for Adoption (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Frequently Asked Questions

Playful tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat walking lowered on green grass outdoors

Are Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Cats Always Female?

Believe it or not, almost all Maine Coon torties are female. There is a 1:3000 ratio of male to female Maine Coon torties. This is because two X chromosomes are needed to produce the tortoiseshell coloring.

Male tortie Maine Coons, and other male cat breeds, only have one X chromosome. In rare cases where they have an extra X chromosome, they come with serious health issues and are mostly sterile.

What is the Rarest Maine Coon Cat Color?

Silver and golden Maine Coons are the rarest color variations. Maine Coons in these colors are extremely hard to find. In addition, a blue tortie Maine Coon and a dilute tortie Maine Coon can also be as difficult to obtain.

If you’re fortunate enough to find Maine Coons in these colors, expect that their prices can be ten times higher than that of other Maine Coon cats. 

Are Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Cats Hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, tortoiseshell Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic. They are not a good match for people with pet allergies and sensitivities.

Their saliva, urine, and dander may trigger a person’s allergies. Their long and double fur coats shed a lot and cause allergies.

Do Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Cats Shed a Lot?

Like other cat breeds, your tortie Maine Coon sheds a lot of hair due to their long coats. In rare cases, you may get a tortie Maine Coon that does not shed much hair.

To keep their hair from shedding and matting, regularly take them to the groomers.

READ NEXT: 6 Types of Orange Maine Coons Explained (With Pictures)

Final Thoughts: Is a Tortie Maine Coon the Right Cat for You?

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cats are infamously known as feisty cats with more attitude than an average kitty. Nonetheless, they are considered to bring good luck in some cultures.

Despite their “tortitude,” they are perfect for households who wish to have a pet that will keep them on their toes. High energy and attention are needed to entertain this wonderful breed.

The average tortie Maine Coon price can be high, but the love and affection that they bring will surely make the price worth it. If you have the budget and energy, the tortie Maine Coon is a good choice.

If you think the tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat is the right pet for you, let us know in the comments!

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