a tortoiseshell Maine Coon lying down

The Tortoiseshell Maine Coon – The Majestic Queen

Maine Coons are one of the most popular breeds in America.

They are a large breed with short fur and come in many colors, including black, silver, brown tabby, blue-silver tabby, red tabby and cream.

If there’s a color out there, Maine Coons can come in it.

The same for patterns, there are quite a few of those as well, from smoke to calico.

Tortoiseshell is one of the most revered colors and patterns there is in any breed of cat.

What is a Tortoiseshell Maine Coon?

The tortoiseshell Maine Coon (“torties”) is a cat that combines two colors other than white which are closely mingled or in grouped patches. They are striking when those colors are red and black but the patches can also be orange, yellow, or cream. Tortoiseshell Maine Coons are almost exclusively female.

Sometimes the patches are shaped like triangles, but they can also be randomly scattered.

Each cat is unique and a Maine Coon tortoiseshell may have a different pattern to another Maine Coon of the same color.

Maine Coon cats make great pets for families as they love to be around people and want to please them.

Maine Coons can also live up to 20 years!

This article will explore what makes a tortoiseshell Maine Coons so special.

a tortie Maine Coon young adult

What Is A Tortoiseshell Cat?

“Tortoiseshell” cats are typically mixed-colored with barely visible or no white markings, largely consisting of two colors.

The colors of tortoiseshell Maine Coons are often described as red and black.

However, “red” can instead be orange, yellow, or cream, and “black” can instead be chocolate stains, gray stripes, tabby patterns, or blue ranges.

Tortoiseshell-patterned cats with small splashes of white are sometimes referred to as “tortico” by their owners, a blend of the words “tortie”, short for tortoiseshell, and calico.

Tortoiseshell markings often appear in many different breeds of cats, including moggies or purebreds.

Can A Maine Coon Be A Tortoiseshell Cat?

The Maine Coon is a stunning cat in any color or pattern.

A Maine Coon can be a tortoiseshell. 

The Maine Coons are known for their medium to long fur, which makes it appear that there’s little separation between the colors other than patterns and shading.

That’s why people think Maine Coons look very similar to calico cats – they both have patches of color in amongst white fur.

Unfortunately, tortie Maine coons aren’t as common as Maine Coons with different colored patches on them such as red tabby or black patched tabby.

a tortie Maine Coon kitten

The Origins Of Tortoiseshell Cats

Historically, tortoiseshell cats can be traced back to ancient times in terms of legends.

Legend has it that the tortoiseshell breed originated from the goddess’s blood.

This is the red coloration pattern in the coat.

Tortoiseshell cats are believed to bring good luck.

That’s certainly so in the Western world as well where they developed the nickname ‘money cats’ as they were thought to bring financial stability.

Tortoiseshell cats are a result of their mix of fur colorations which are only observed in female cats, no matter the breed.

Well, male cats are very, very, rare.

Tortoiseshell is thought to be a breed by many people, but it only refers to coloration and pattern, not a breed of cat.

Are Maine Coon Tortoiseshell Cats Rare?

It depends on what you mean by the term “rare”, but it’s safe to say Maine Coon tortoiseshell cats aren’t rare in terms of their fur coloration, although they may be rarer than other Maine Coons.

For instance, there are many tortie Maine Coon mixes that have been bred with other breeds of cat to create different colored Maine Coons.

Therefore, it’s impossible to know the exact numbers in which these cats live at any one time.

However, there are tons of videos of tortoiseshell Maine Coons online which suggests that they are not rare in general.

They may not be rare, but they certainly aren’t common either.

What would be rare was if the tortoiseshell Maine Coon was male.

According to this article, it may be up to one in four hundred thousand Maine Coons is a tortie male cat.

a tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat

Why Tortoiseshell Maine Coons Are So Appealing To Humans

When it comes to appearance, Maine Coon tortoiseshell cats look very different from cats that don’t have tortie fur coloration patterns as they are still covered in white fur other than patches of red or black.

If you’re lucky enough to own a Maine Coon cat with this fur coloration pattern, you’ll know why they’re so appealing when people see them for the first time.

They’re quite striking and produce many comments from cat owners.

What Causes The Tortoiseshell Look In A Maine Coon

Most people will be familiar with the pattern of red and black found on tortoiseshell cats.

This color pattern comes from an animal’s genes on the X chromosome.

A Maine Coon with two X chromosomes will be female.

A Maine Coon with both an X and a Y chromosome will be male.

A Maine Coon kitten will receive a chromosome from each parent.

The domestic cat carries the fur color in the X chromosome.

An allele is one of two or more versions of a gene

The tortoiseshell allele exists in two versions.

The orange fur allele is XB and the black fur allele is Xb

Any one cell in a female cat could have one of three options – the XBXB combination, and also XBXb or XbXb.

maine coon tortoishell genetics

If a female kitten is born with two XB alleles then the fur will be orange.

Similarly, if the kitten receives two Xb alleles then she will be jet black.

However, it is rare for female cats to inherit two copies of the same fur color alleles from their parents.

Males are much more likely to be solid orange or black.

Males only have one X chromosome, the other being Y.

With one parent giving her an XB allele and another an Xb, interesting things happen.

That’s when a tortoiseshell Maine Coon happens.

Are Tortoiseshell Maine Coons Different From Other Color Patterns

The fact that the coat of a Maine Coon is a tortoiseshell rather than any other color pattern doesn’t make a difference to the cat.

There are no significant indicators that a tortoiseshell pattern affects anything, although as alluded to earlier, the cat will almost certainly be female.

The behavioral aspects of the cat remain unchanged due to the color pattern.

There Are No Known Health Concerns

Most likely the tortoiseshell Maine Coon will be female so there aren’t any excess health issues with regard to the specific color pattern.

With males, there is something known as Klinefelter Syndrome, but that is exceedingly rare.

A tortoiseshell Maine Coon will still be susceptible to polycystic kidney disease (PKD), hip dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

They will still follow you around, albeit with a wonderful color pattern.

a tortoiseshell Maine Coon kitten

The Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Personality

Some people believe that tortoiseshell cats have a specific temperament, set of traits, or a different personality.

Studies have been performed on tortoiseshell cats in general, most notably by UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

They set out to see if the specific coat coloring produced an identifiable personality from the genes that give the cats their distinctive markings.

“tortitude” was the moniker given, but ultimately the study didn’t conclude anything identifiable.

A tortoiseshell Maine Coon will have the same personality as all other coat patterns most likely.

The Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Kitten

Maine Coon kittens are irresistible.

Young Maine Coon cats are playful, mischievous, and full of energy.

Their distinctive physical features give them a look that is incomparable when they’re young.

The Maine Coons’ curiosity about everything in their environment will be very apparent as you watch your Maine Kitten grow up.

They have an inquisitive nature about them so ensure that there’s plenty to keep them amused!

These kittens are also great at getting themselves into trouble – keep small objects off of surfaces that they can climb onto and investigate!

Maine Coon tortoiseshell kittens are delightfully cute and endearing as kittens, but don’t forget to spend time with him/her and provide them the same high protein diet any other kitten would get.

a tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat face on

What’s The Price Of A Tortoiseshell Maine Coon

While Maine Coons are expensive in general, a Maine Coon tortoiseshell is likely to cost the higher end of the range.

They’re not common, but they do exist – there’s bound to be one somewhere near you.

The price for Maine coon kittens will depend on where you get the kitten from and who breeds them.

Females are always worth a little more than males as they are used for breeding, but tortoiseshell is usually a desirable color pattern that there’s competition out there for them.

Lastly, when looking at Maine Coon breeders that have Maine coon kittens for sale, remember to research their reputations, read reviews and visit several options before committing to an individual Maine Coon breeder or retail outlet.

The Tortoiseshell Maine Coon Mix

There are Maine Coon mixes, Maine Coons with other breeds as parents, yet with distinctive Maine Coon features.

These mixed breed Maine Coons are most likely born from tortoiseshell domestic shorthairs and Maine Coons.

Ragdoll and Persian mixes with Maine Coons are common.

a tortoiseshell Maine Coon cat


There are Maine Coon Tortoiseshell cats that exist.

They will still have the same personality as a Maine Coon despite their distinctive markings.

The price for Maine coon kittens will depend on where you get the kitten from and who breeds them.

Their distinctive physical features give them a look that is incomparable when they’re young.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon kittens are delightfully cute and endearing as kittens.

You’ll be a very lucky owner if you get one – I’m jealous.

Freqently Asked Questions

What is a tortie Maine Coon?

Tortie is short for tortoiseshell. It’s just an abbreviation of tortoiseshell Maine Coon. They are normally a red and black coloring pattern in patches and are almost universally female in gender. Black is normally the predominant color.

Are tortie Coons rare?

If it’s purebred it is rarer than a mixed Maine Coon. If it’s male, then it’s even rarer still. Tortie Maine Coons are not common but they are not rare, you will find some around, but they do command a higher price normally.

Are tortoiseshell Maine Coons good pets?

Yes, they make good pets. The Maine Coon in general makes a good family cat with its personality and style winning over many. Tortoiseshell cats in general get many comments on the coat markings, particularly if they are striking in nature.

About the Author


My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

1 thought on “The Tortoiseshell Maine Coon – The Majestic Queen

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      I bred my black smoke MC to a Ginger tom MC I ended up with a fabulous tortie smoke and a dilute tortie females and then there is bear. Bear is male with a jet black undercoat and a definite ginger pattern overcoat is he a tortie or just a different kind of smoke? I am eagerly awaiting his DNA results but I am not sure they will answer my questions.

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