Monday, April 18, 2022

Did you dilute that torbie?

 A post by the mom

OK, I admit I can get a little geeky about cat facts. While I don't understand all the science behind it, the colors fascinate me. 

So to start, to get an orange cat, the male had a red gene and the female doesn't. Male kittens from this pair end up being an orange tabby. You can get an female orange tabby about 25% of the time. 

For female cats, you get a calico, tortieshell or torbie (calico with tabby stripes). About 1 in 3,000 can be male so they are fairly rare (and due to genetics to get the color tend to be sterile). 

A "true" calico is orange, black and white. A "true" tortieshell is orange and black - no white.

Then you can get a dilute - a washed out version if you will. Dilute calicos will be peach, gray and cream while dilute torties will be gray and peach.

So then a torbie.....fiest let's talk about the name. I've heard this color variety called a callitabby, tabbico or torbie. Technically the first two would be more accurate as they are calicos with tabby stripes. A torbie would be a tortieshell with stripes - something I've never seen ( which doesn't mean it doesn't exist). However, the torbie term seems to be the one most commonly used though they are interchangeable. 

This is Ivy. She is truly a torbie: brown and black stripes, patches of orange stripes and white patches. 

I had a friend ask me about Chickpea and if you could get a dilute torbie. Which would make genetic sense, but I had to really think about it. Honestly before Chickpea, I dint think I had seen one. But she is peach and gray and white with stripes. Tada: dilute torbie. 

So there you go - my short geeky moment of calicos, tortieshells and torbies. 

In case you want to read more, there is a good article on Love Meow


  1. We have a friend who has adopted several ginger girl kitties, and our old vet had a male office calico who was sterile.
    Cat colors are fascinating; I'm with you!

  2. My Rosebud is almost a twin to your Ivy. Her brother Archie is all orange stripe, fat, and a chicken-heart. There were two other kittens in their litter - Callie (bet you can guess her coloring) and an all-black male with long fur whose name escapes me at the moment.

  3. Great post and informative article. We have had all of these and loved them all !

  4. Very cool! I love Chickpea's coloring. My Sami was like your Ivy with very similar coloring and cute little white paws.

  5. My human loves all the multicolored girls, dilute, torbie, calico or tortie.


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