Thriving Cat

My Sweet, Spunky, Tortoiseshell With White Cat

Tortoiseshell With White Cat

My Sweet, Spunky Tortoiseshell With White Cat

Last year we already had 3 rescued kitties in our family but we always wanted to rescue as many cats as possible as long as we could care for them well. Every time I went to PetSmart and saw the kitties needing homes it was everything I could do not to adopt them all. We are in an apartment now so we know we can’t have unlimited numbers of pets. My husband is just as much of a softy as me when it comes to cats which seems a bit ironic for the big tough U.S. Marine! Sooo, when we got settled in to our new place and my husband said we needed another kitty, I couldn’t argue since I wanted one too. I had no idea I would find my sweet, spunky tortoiseshell with white cat soon.

How I Found My Spunky Girl

On my next trip to get cat food at PetSmart I looked at the kitties as I always do and saw the cutest little calico girl. She was there on display to get adopted from the same rescue group that we had received both of our boys from in the past. I saw on the sign it said she was 14! She had lived in the same home all her life. I could not imagine how traumatic it must be for her to be homeless after 14 years! She was a polydactile or Hemmingway kitty with extra toes on all 4 feet. Her large paws were obvious on her petite frame. The first time I just talked to her through the glass and she seemed to really enjoy the attention. I went home and told my husband about her and he immediately said “We Need to Get Her”.  The fact that she was 14 and sweet and needed a home was all he needed to hear. The next time I went in I met her and got to hold her. She was sweet and I saw she drooled. They said she drools when she is happy. I guess she was happy to have some love.

So Happy To Have a New Home

The third time I brought my husband and we adopted her on the spot. She clung to my husband for dear life and purred and drooled. I don’t know if it is a long hair cat thing but my Norwegian Forest Cat boy drools when he is happy too! She had a male owner and actually prefers men which is unusual. We had her checked out at the vet since we were worried there could be something wrong with her teeth or mouth, but the vet confirmed she was extremely healthy and must indeed drool out of happiness! Ironically, her teeth and gums are healthier than all our other cats who range in age from 6-10. Her teeth are shockingly good for her age. She is also totally healthy. She jumps up on anything she wants just like the other cats. She is very springy…all thin and wirey like a young cat that hasn’t gotten flabby or lazy yet. She is thinner than all our other cats but has a great appetite.

Tortoiseshell With White Cat On Deck With Flowers

My Sweet Tortoiseshell With White Cat on The Deck

Calico or Tortoiseshell With White Cat?

Generally speaking a calico has white whereas a tortoiseshell cat does not. I thought of her as a calico. My little beauty is actually a “tortoiseshell with white” I was informed rather than a “calico” as I think of her. A calico would not have different colors of fur mixed together but would have the different colors in separate areas. Our girl has different color patches but some of them have a mix of black and red making her a tortoiseshell. She also has white patches so therefore she is technically the “tortoiseshell with white”.

14 Years Old and Perfectly Healthy

So the senior kitty is healthy, spunky, strong, tiny, cute, has extra toes and top it off she is extremely smart. She has done things like drink water when I tell her to and eat food when I tell her to. She comes when called and will come when I just look at her now. She has also laid down when I tell her to lay down. She got picked on a bit by our first kitty boy in the beginning and we were constantly punishing him when he picked on her. He got dunked under the faucet on many occasions. (Note: Don’t ever get water in a cat’s ears since they can get ear infections. We did not do this since I knew not to). We had to resort to this after the squirt bottle was no longer a deterrent. Now however, she is becoming totally self sufficient and he hardly every picks on her. She has established herself as an equal member of the household and nobody messes with her much. Maybe her extra claws come in handy. She is literally half the size of my huge 16 pound boys but she holds her own and everyone has come to respect her. My largest boy, the Norwegian Forest Cat is actually her favorite and they are getting to be buddies and sometimes sleep near each other. It is nice for both of them to have each other since my first two are now a bonded pair and cuddle together every day (and fight a lot too).

Settled Into the Family

Our sweet little girl now goes wherever she wants rather than hiding in her little nooks where the others can’t fit. She also sleeps on the bed and loves to curl up right by my head. She comes up to each of us with the sweetest little chirp and asks for loves. She is absolutely adorable and we love her just like the others. Each of our kitties is special, unique and adored. They get wet food and dry food every day with special supplements to keep them healthy, toys, a tall cat tree and birds to watch out the window. They get regular vet care and are loved every single day of their lives.

This shows that all different ages, breeds, genders and cats of different backgrounds can come together in a family. They all get along now, they respect each other’s space and take turns getting cuddles and loves from us. I often have one kitty perched sleeping behind me on my chair and another in my lap or one on feet and another curled up by my head. They don’t get jealous of each other and all act generally respectful. It was hard when we brought each new kitty in with some fights and lots of hissing and grumbling. They all get over it though and now love each other.

Calico Girl Sitting on Speaker

My Tortoiseshell Girl All Settled In At Home

Time To Integrate A New Cat

It does not happen automatically. We had to be up late at night and break up fights, separate them at times and escort our newest girl to the bathroom for her own time to eat each day for months. We had to stay home all summer and not go on any trips overnight since we didn’t want to leave them alone. It can be hard at first but it is wonderful when you have a big, happy, cohesive family.

My sweet, senior girl is playing with a squeaking, catnip mouse as I write this, while all her younger “siblings” are asleep!

Adopt a Senior Cat

If you have the chance to adopt a senior cat, seriously consider it. My husband and I will only adopt older cats since that is where we can do the most good. Everyone wants kittens and puppies but the older pets can be great and they really, really need you. They will be very appreciative and shower you with love.

Products to Help Integrate a New Cat

If you have a multi-cat home and any of your cats don’t get along, don’t despair! It can get better! Try these products to ease the transition.  Jackson Galaxy Safe Space for Cats Drops. Sentry Calming Collars

If you are adding a new cat or dealing with a cat that has anxiety or behavior problems you can use the products that I do for my jumpy boy. They truly work. Check out my reviews here. Jackson Galaxy Safe Space For Cats Drops Review and Sentry Calming Collar for Cats Review.


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Please leave any thoughts or questions in a comment below! I would love to hear from you.



  1. abioye olalekan

    Awesome InformationWhat an incredible blog post!I reallylove the way you outlined the reviews of the white catI must say this is an eye opener; I cannot help but agree with everything that you have written in this reviewThis is the most extensive and comprehensive review I’ve read on white catsThanks for your indepth analysis

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Thank you Abioye.

  2. Louis


    She really looks adorable. Your tortoise shell with white is very pretty, must resolve a really gentle cat. 

    Must really be interesting having a family if cats. And even integrating new cats into the family. I really don’t envy you, how do u deal with the cats scratching around the house?

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Louis,

      Yes, my cats are beautiful, sweet and we are lucky to have them. My cats don’t scratch on things too much. They pretty much stick to the cat tree with built-in scratching posts that I review here. I would not have a cat without good scratching posts however!



  3. Sujandar Mahesan

    It is really nice of your experience in this matter. So many people try to do this and it turns out a complete nightmare for them because they are not really prepared for it. I think your post will help all the people to be prepared and know what they are getting in to. Thank you so much for sharing this article.

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      If you have the right products such as the calming collar and calming drops I review here it really makes all the difference. I would not be able to do this for certain cats without those products.



  4. Gracen

    Hello Jessica! The narrative on how you met your spunky Girl, (cute kitty by the way) got me being emotional. It is saddening for one to lose his/her home after living there for almost all his life. I must commend you for your good work in giving home to homeless kitties.

    I am laughing out loud at the kitty purring and drooling. Of course, she has to show how excited and happy she was. I now understand what you meant by tortoiseshell with white. It is great to know that your spunk girl is healthy, strong and smart. Keep up the good work.

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Thank you Gracen,

      She has adjusted amazingly well considering she only had one home for 14 years. I think it is partly due to how smart she is. She realized she needed to find a new home and figure out how to be happy there. I was worried it was mean of us to put her in with 3 other cats when she was used to being alone but now she seems to enjoy the company! She and the biggest boy play and chase each other around and she likes to sleep near him.



  5. Steve

    I’m so glad to hear your adoption went well and that after some hard work while integrating her, your new cat is now part of the family. I have a colleague who fostered two kittens and just went through a nightmare scenario to get them adopted. Thankfully, they were able to find a home for them!

    I think it’s really great that you adopted a senior cat. I’m sure that is not the norm as many families are probably looking to start with a kitten, however, older cats still need love too! 

    Thanks for sharing this great story and I hope it continues to go well!

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Steve,

      Yes, most everyone wants a kitten. It is sad since the adult and senior cats just languish waiting for homes and many of them are put down when there is not enough room in the shelters. It is heartbreaking since they are wonderful animals. I hope people can see this and realize “senior” pets can be just as healthy as young ones!



  6. Jay

    You guys are really sweet for taking the time to adopt and train these cats because they really need a home and some love and affections and they also return the favor by showing love and affection towards their owners. The fact that you guys are able to train so many cats and keep them under one roof is really amazing. A lot of people would have to learn from the good deeds you guys are portraying. You are really performing a good deed. Well done.

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Jay,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It is totally possible to integrate new cats into a household but it takes time and should be done slowly and carefully. The products I review here really help keep them calm and happy.



  7. Laura

    Jessica, Your cat is gorgeous. You made me want to go right out and adopt at least three older cats. I have always had outdoor farm cats. It does take a lot of work to incorporate a cat into the family. You are so incredible to love cats and rescue them the way you do. 

    So, you must know a lot about cats. Do the calming collars work? And these calming drops do they work well? Is that what they are for to calm a cat? I had no idea there were items like this to help. I love it. It is so cool. What will people think of next? 

    I can’t get over how awesome it is that people would develop products to help cats to integrate well. Incredible!!!! Cats are brilliant and would be nervous. I can see that as a problem and the fact that these drops help them feel better is a plus for sure. 

    Good luck in your many adoptions. I may consider adopting myself when we get moved to Florida. Thank you for a beautiful read with useful information. 

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hi Laura,

      Yes, the calming drops and collars REALLY do work. Imagine the difference between a cat that is nervous, jumpy and acts angry with the world and pees on everything in sight, compared to one that is calm, content, loving and peaceful. That is what happens when we use the drops.

      My Norwegian Forest Cat boy was a disaster at first. He was unhappy and peed on clothes, carpets, sprayed furniture…his favorite target was any kind of throw rug or bath mat. It was awful! With the drops and collar he hardly every does that. I honestly can’t remember the last time he peed outside the box! It is amazing! He is also calm and happy.

      You can read my reviews of these products from the links in the post.

      Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. I hope you do adopt an adult or senior cat or three! There are many in need in Florida I am sure. I would recommend you get a pair who are together and need a home together since they are harder to place or a senior since nobody wants them!



  8. Rochelle

    Aww! Just reading your post, I want to meet her and give her some head scratches! She sounds like an amazing cat! So gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful, Jessica.

    I have never actually seen a ‘tortoiseshell with white’ cat before that I was aware of, but now that you mention it, we have one of those in one of our barns then. I always called her a calico because she looks exactly like a calico, except her orange spots? They’re striped. So a mixture of colors, crazy! Maybe a calibby? LOL! They call what my personal cat a ‘torbie’ because she’s a tortoiseshell with tabby markings. She’s basically a tabby with splashes of orange in random places.

    It’s amazing the different calico or tortoiseshell cats there are.

    I love that you and your husband rescue the older cats. It’s a beautiful thing you’re doing providing them with a loving forever home, no matter how short of time they have left. They spend it loved and safe, not in a shelter or rescue. You two are truly angels!

    Doing TNR (trap neuter return) and barn and feral cats, I deal with unsocialized cats and their kittens, and kitten socialization to get them homes, so I deal with younger cats usually. But I can tell you, the older barn cats are amazing and lovable and deserve the same adoration as the younger ones. They’re just more set in their ways.

    A barn cat I inherited from an ex-employer is over 10 now. He’s a chill dude with an alpha-type attitude to match. He slaps the youngsters out of his way as he rules the barn.

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Yes, older cats can be set in their ways. That is why we were so amazed at how well our girl adapted to a new home. I think she was an only cat previously. Now she landed in a new home (at 14) with 3 other cats! At first we felt bad since it seemed unfair. She really would have been perfectly happy to be an only cat, live in peace and have undivided attention. However, our fears were short lived. She now seems to have no problem dealing with the others. She appears to be very happy and confident. Sometimes she even plays with our big, fluffy Norwegian Forest Cat boy. She plays by herself all the time.

      I hope she will be one of those cats that lives well into their 20’s. I knew many people that have cats that old. I was pretty amazed to know cats can live into their 30’s! The oldest know was supposed to have been 38 years old!!! That certainly puts a different perspective on cats being called senior when they are 8 or 10. It has a lot to do with the care they receive. In the 1980’s the average life span for a domestic cat in the U.S. was only 7 years. That sounds shocking to me now. So young. Today the average life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. That is all do to a higher quality of care given to domestic cats. There is so much a pet owner can do to ensure a long and healthy life for their cat. I address some of those issues in one of my posts.

      I thought about getting into “torbie” etc in this post but there are too many variations to describe quickly. A calico generally always has orange spots. Your calico might be a straight calico unless the different colors of fur are intermixed in the same patch.

      I am glad you are out there taking care of the youngsters, getting them spayed and neutered, socialized and finding homes for them. I know you are also taking care of any other cat that needs it along the way.


      1. Rochelle

        There really are too many types of torties and calicos. She’s got orange striped spots, so maybe she’d be a torbie too? She otherwise looks like a complete calico, with a white base and splashes of orange and black, BUT when you get close to her, her orange spots are striped like an orange tabby’s would be. Weird, right?

        Your post here inspired me to move up my Meet Daisy post, so if you’re interested in seeing one of my girls, go to and check her out. See the pretty torbie stripes with random orange spots. LOL. One of her ears is orange and she’s just so unique looking. My little girl.

        I saw that the book of world records has a cat that was in his or her thirties! Crazy right? And a really old cat we had growing up lived to be 19. She was fading, just due to old age, nothing wrong with her at all. She just wouldn’t gain weight anymore and got really skinny, you know how some elderly people look so tiny and thin? That was her. Vet checks and everything, she was perfectly fine. Just old. She also got dementia towards the end of her life. Would yowl randomly in the middle of the night, confused. Poor girl. But she lived her whole ornery life with my mother, so she was good.

        I try to care for as many barn cats as I can, within their personality. We had Hurricane Barry come through here this year. In preparation, I brought ALL the barn cats inside with me that I personally take care of. As I live and travel with horses, I live in a studio above the barns so I’m on-site in case of an emergency, right? So I had 12 cats in a studio with me. TWELVE!

        The two older ones, one might be younger than I think he is because outdoor life can be rough on a cat and they show their age more, but anyway, the two older ones had a freaking COW about being confined. None of the straight barn cats had fun with this, but those two I finally had to let out. I wasn’t actually concerned about them, they live inside the barn and climb into the top where a hayloft would be, and it’s totally protected, probably better than my studio! It was the one who got hit by a car last year and won’t come into the barn itself and the poor cat that got dumped here from someone and used to be a pet that REALLY concerned me. So I ended up with 10 cats sleeping with me.

        Turns out, Barry was a big old wuss here, though, and I didn’t need to do it at all! They forecasted horrible flooding and it barely rained nor was it hugely windy. -_-

        That said, don’t get 10 cats. They tried to sleep ON me half the time. Plus the grooming before bedtime lasted like two hours. I got almost no sleep. Then Daisy has never taken to being confined, whined at the door like a dog. The cat who survived a car meows like she was dying. The feral screams like a person when the poor dumped cat came near her. I was in kitty cat hell those two days!

        But everyone survived and made it, including me!

        1. Jessica (Post author)

          I love reading this story Rochelle. I was imagining all 12 cats stuck inside together during the storm. I know what you mean about the grooming. I was just about to go crazy when both of my girls started sleeping on my pillow (not at the same time) and spending an hour grooming before going to sleep. All the cats come to bed with us. It is like an event. So, pre-sleep grooming is often on the agenda for the girls. When the groomer is almost on top of your face the grooming gets a bit annoying.

          My Chartreux girl insisted for years on putting her rump toward us. We called it “rump protection”. She seemed to feel safer with her rump backed up to one of us so as to protect her from her brother the orange tabby. They have the strangest relationship. They adore each other in some ways and sleep together most every day. They are often curled up in a big ball together. He attacks her all the time though and suddenly just decides to bite her on the neck. She screams and runs away and hides (sometimes next to us for protection). He doesn’t seem to want to actually hurt her. It is strange. So, she took to seeking rump protection so he couldn’t sneak up behind her and chomp on her neck. This gets annoying when the butt is practically in your face. We have finally trained her that she can lay next to us and will be ok. When she is in her usual position however and starts grooming it is just too much! She also likes to lick my hair and bat at it. My hair is very curly and she seems to think it needs help. She is always trying to fix it which is cute but she gets annoyed when she can’t get through it with her tongue.

          Your Daisy is so cute! I have not seen a cat with those markings. She is definitely some type of torbie I guess. It sounds like she and her brother have a great life! Going outside all day and being inside at night is the perfect life for a cat as long as the outside area is safe. It sounds like your location is pretty great for that. My first cat did that. He would be outside most of the day and I would collect him to go inside at night. He also didn’t like to get caught and it was quite a challenge to find him sometimes.

          I can’t imagine having 10 cats at once! You are amazing!

          1. Rochelle Pritchett

            Aww, thanks! It was is a challenge. I did realize I have a talent for introducing cats to each other and I really understand them. My mother always said I was great that way, even as a kid, but it isn’t until you’re dealing with multiples all the time instead of one or two pets you own that you totally get it.

            I’m considering learning to be a cat behavioral consultant (a little like those people on Animal Planet like Jackson Galaxy, from My Cat From Hell? That’s what he is. Cesar Milan is a dog one, I believe.) I’ve always been good and while it doesn’t require schooling or anything, you have to have a lot of experience and references to get certified with the only association for pet behavior consulting. Plus my feral cat advocacy. I might specialize in ferals and cat introductions. I do it differently than they recommend with cat introductions and it always works for me. ^_^

            I have a follower on Twitter who takes to adopting and fostering feral cats, and she has 22 inside right now. I was like TWENTY TWO?! How in the heck does sleeping in the bed work? She said that most still aren’t socialized well yet so they don’t ALL try to sleep with her. But still, GEEZ!

            All the cats I had inside pretty much get along now, lots of them sleep together and groom each other, except for the dumped cat (who is not neutered yet) and the feral girl cat (who IS fixed) because while she likes other cats, I don’t think she likes intact males because she REALLY hates him. I’ve never seen her get upset with another cat until I started caring for him. Once he’s fixed, I’ll have to see if she’ll settle down once the testosterone levels drop.

            It’s crazy what animals can tell about each other. I swear she knows (despite the fact he’s still young and not a terrible inact male, he’s not much past teenage years, so maybe a year old?).

            As for the inside outdoor situation, if they weren’t older kittens that protested the confinement of being inside so badly, I would have kept them inside with a cat tree and various other stuff to keep them engaged. But Daisy was BAD. Really bad about it. She once knocked my air conditioner out the window because she could smell outside through a tiny, microscopic gap and kept trying to get outside through it. I don’t even KNOW how she did it. That’s when I decided she’s going to be half-pet and half-barn cat.

            She was born in a barn, lived her first three months in a barn and outside, and so it’s a balance between safety and miserable, you know? It’s relatively safe outside, baring an accident with a horse or the tiny road around the property, during the day. Coyotes have been known to be in the area at night. That’s why I insist on them coming inside. She makes me freaking catch her nearly every time. So annoying.

            They love it though. They get the stimulation they need by being outside and they’re happy. I just worry because they get upper respiratory infections from the barn cats sometimes, and Daisy got a freaking tick one time, which was NOT fun. They’re smart though. They wait and look both ways before crossing horse paths and the road and the parking in front of the barn, they will wait in the grass for a car to park or leave. It’s pretty neat. But I do worry about them. Sometimes though happiness is more important than safety.

            I can totally relate to your first cat having to be found. It’s not a fun time when you’re tired and wanting to go to sleep and your cat is MIA! LOL!

          2. Jessica (Post author)

            I love seeing all your cat stories! I can imagine a cat pushing the air conditioner out the window to get outside…luckily ours didn’t try that this summer when we finally got an air conditioner.

            I am glad we don’t have ticks here (not many anyway…they are moving north!).

            Becoming a cat behavior consultant would be so wonderful! You would really feel like you were helping cats and their owners! You help already but I know you would enjoy a different angle too!

            Thanks for all your thoughts!

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