What Is A Torbie Cat? How To Distinguish Between A Torbie And A Tortie?

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Do your cats have orange on their coats? If so, congratulations! You are having a unique cat breed which is really famous for its beautiful orange fur. It’s called Torbie cat. But wait a second! Torbie is not the only cat on Earth that has orange fur. In fact, Tortie cats (the name is very similar to Torbie) also have orange on their fur.

We know that it’s sometimes very difficult to distinguish twodifferent cat’s breeds. So, in this post, we will help you answer these questions: “What is a Torbie cat?” and “Tortie vs Torbie – what is the difference between them?”. Let’s get started!

What Is A Torbie Cat?

The term “tricolor cats” is used to refer cat breeds that have three colors on their coats. Torbie cat, which belongs to this group, is a short name of tortoiseshell-tabby. They are also called Patched tabby by some.

Photo credit: Bruno Passigatti 

However, contrary to what people often think, Torbie is not a name for a cat breed. Instead, it tells us the difference between coat’s color of tricolor cats.

In addition to two main colors (orange and black), Torbie cats have other colors like cinnamon, amber, black, etc. on their coat. The most special feature of Torbie is that they have tabby patterns on their fur, which makes them look pretty like a tiger. The pattern can be stripes, spots, or swirls. For more information about cat colors and patterns, we have this post for you!

How About Tortie Cats?

Like Torbie cats, Tortie cats also belong to the tricolor breed. Nevertheless, they generally 80% look like the Torbie. Features that disgust these two breeds are their colors and patterns on the coat.

Although both belong to the tricolor breed, Tortie cats have only two colors – orange and black. Sometimes, there are few of very little white points on the fur. However, they’re too small for you to see them and only 10% of Tortie have this.

Moreover, on Tortie’s coat, there is no pattern. They may have patches from small to large size, depending on each individual. However, in general, most of them have a fur that looks like a mess with two colors with no certain shape and not in order. You may feel like they are wearing a patchy cloth.

So, the best way to distinguish them: Torbie cats have 3 colors and patterns on their coat, while Tortie cats only have 2 colors with no extra patterns.

Interesting Fact About Torbie Cats


Torbie cats have a “brother” called Calico. This breed is a little bit different in the color and shape of the pattern on their coat. In particular, they are more white than others. Besides, the coat on the back has many patches which stick to each other.

They Are Famous for Their Orange Gene

You may recognize orange always presents on your Torbie’s coat, even just a little. The key to explain this is deep inside their gene. Both dominant genes and recessive genes of both Torbie, Tortie, and Calico contain orange. That’s why all of them have orange on the fur. Besides, the funny fact is that without orange, they are neither called Tortie, Torbie nor calico.

Most of Them Are Female

If you notice, most Torbie, Tortie and even Calico cats are female. According to a research, there is only 1 male among 3000 Tortie female cats.

It sounds interesting! But why? That’s because when female eggs combine with male sperms, they will produce XX (female cats) and XY (male cats). About color gene, orange is denoted as O, non-orange is denoted as o. But O is only carried by X chromosome. That’s why female cats always have orange on their coats, they hold OO, which becomes their dominant genes.

To male cats, they will have XO and Yo. Less O rarely can make up their fur orange. As a result, the rate of having orange in color on their coat is extremely lower than females. The common result of male cats is that they get black fur. Please note that only cats that carry orange on their fur can be called as Torbie, Torbie, or Calico.

Other Tricolors

There is more and more tricolor which known as other names such as Dilute Tricolor, Tortie Tude, and so on. Each of them has a different beauty.

Their Breed

We all know that Torbie cats belong to the tricolor breed. However, tricolor is just a common name for cats which have specific features of the coat. That’s why many people think Tortie is non-standard breed. In contrast, their colors have been recognized as the breed standard by some pedigree breeds.

Energetic Cats

The name Tortoiseshell not only concerns to the coat but also about their personality. Unlike normal cats, a Torbie cat loves running, jumping, and scratching around the house. They seem to be always full of energy.

If you are holding an intention of owning a Torbie, consider carefully because your house’s stuff may not be intact. Besides, Torbie cats can be quite dangerous to young children and baby, especially the young cats. In this case, you might consider buying a tall baby gate for cats to keep them in place.


Torbie cats are exquisite creatures which have some similarities to Tortie cats. Some people have mistaken that they are one. Nevertheless, the way to distinguish them is quite easy; you just need to pay attention to their coat, then the answer will be revealed. On the other hand, Torbie cats also contain many interesting facts about their creature that make you amazed.

So, is our post clear? If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below. Thank you!

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