A Lesson in Tortitude – The BIG Book of Cats with a BIG Attitude Review & Giveaway

Book reviews about Tortoiseshell cats

Tortitude is a lovely hardcover book filled with fun facts, color photographs, and great cat quotes. Credit: Tortitude: The BIG Book About Cats With a BIG Attitude by Ingrid King, ©2015

Even though cats have been a significant part of my daily life for over 50 years, I find it fascinating after all that time I’m still able to learn something new, which was the case when I reviewed Ingrid King’s newest book, Tortitude – The BIG Book of Cats with a BIG Attitude.

“Tortitude” is a word coined for the unique personality of a tortoiseshell cat. Tortoiseshells are typically strong-willed, slightly hot-tempered, and very possessive of their human. They are also described as fiercely independent, feisty, unpredictable, and vocal. So vocal in fact, King says its not unusual for a tortoiseshell to make their presence or needs known with “anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr.”

At one point I thought I had a tortoiseshell cat – my precious angel Harley who I had rescued in 2004. I was told she was tortoiseshell – but not really being familiar with the tortoiseshell, and after seeing other tortoiseshell cats on blogs and Facebook, I wasn’t so sure. My first real introduction to tortoiseshells was Buckley – a very special kitty I met in reading King’s first book, Buckley’s Story – Lessons from a Master Feline Teacher. Since then I have come to follow Ingrid through her blog, The Conscious Cat, where I’ve gotten to know her current tortie companions, Ruby and Allegra, as well as angel tortoiseshells Amber and Buckley (all of which Ingrid shares stories about in Tortitude).


Torties, Buckley and Amber. Excerpted from: Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher by Ingrid King, ©2009

With such a strong personality, it’s easy to slip into the mindset the tortoiseshell is a breed of cat, but it’s not. Tortoiseshells are actually named for their distinctive coloring – patches of black, brown, amber, red, cinnamon and chocolate.

I noticed her torties seemed to have a similarity – they had a primarily dark coat with patches of tan, amber, cinnamon, and chocolate. Harley had a brindled coat of black and red hairs intermingled in a tabby striped pattern with a white bib and mittens. Based on that, I assumed I she was not a tortie after all. But after reading Tortitude, I learned a most interesting fact – Harley was a “torbie” – a tabby striped variation of the typical tortoiseshell colors.

If a cat is not a tortoiseshell, it can be a variation known as a torbie - a striped tabby cat variation

In looking at Harley, she didn’t seem to have the look of King’s cats, so I was not sure if she was a tortie.

I loved learning that about my sweet girl and it made me happy to know a bit more about her. That said, Harley was far from a feisty and unpredictable cat. She could be stubborn as a mule, but you could set your watch to her habits. But she was a devoted cat – very possessive of my youngest son Joe when he lived with me (she wouldn’t even leave his room and would pine for him until he came back) and after he moved out, she became fiercely devoted to me.

If a cat is not a tortoiseshell, it can be a variation known as a torbie - a striped tabby cat variation

After seeing this picture of Grit in Tortitude, I thought perhaps Harley might be a tortie – after contacting King, she confirmed that Harley was a “torbie” – the tabby variation of a tortoiseshell. Excerpted from: Tortitude: The BIG Book About Cats With a BIG Attitude by Ingrid King, ©2015

But as King points out in Tortitude and I agree, as with any cat, or any cat breed, rules are made to be broken and all cats are unique. Regardless, for those of you like me that didn’t know much about tortoiseshell cats, you will really enjoy reading this book and learning about them. For those of you already fans of the tortoiseshell, you will really love it. Especially the dozens and dozens of photos featuring famous cat quotes coupled with gorgeous tortoiseshell cats! Not to mention, there is glowing praise from Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell and Kate Benjamin of Hauspanther who both adore the torties!

Galaxy and Benjamin aren’t the only devoted tortie fans  and no one knows that better than King! In August of 2009 she wrote a post titled Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoisehsll Cats for the Conscious Cat. The post generated over 14,000 comments in a period of less than five years and continues to get hundreds of views each and every day.

That’s absolutely amazing! I thank Ingrid for writing such an entertaining, educational, and interesting book. If you would like a chance to win a copy for yourself, Ingrid has kindly offered a giveaway to one lucky U.S. resident. Just leave a comment by midnight, EST, Monday, February 29 as to why you would enjoy the book. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, March 2.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. Receiving the copy did not influence my review and the opinions expressed in this blog are mine.

About Ingrid King:

Ingrid King is the award-winning author of Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher, Purrs of Wisdom: Conscious Living, Feline Style, and Adventures in Veterinary Medicine: What Working in Veterinary Hospitals Taught Me About Life, Love and Myself. Purrs of Wisdom: Enlightenment, Feline Style is due out from Passionfruit Press this June. Her popular blog, The Conscious Cat, is a comprehensive resource for conscious living, health, and happiness for cats and their humans. The Conscious Cat has won multiple awards, including DogTime Media’s Pettie for Best Pet Blog in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, and About.com’s 2012 Readers Choice Award for Best Website About Cats.

The book is available from Amazon and all other online retailers as well as in select book stores.

To read my other reviews of works by Ingrid King, please visit here:

Buckley’s Story – A Tribute to a Very Special Little Cat

Purrs of Wisdom – Conscious Living, Feline Style

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  1. Sue Brandes says:

    Please enter me. I would enjoy reading Ingrid’s book.

  2. Nice review Deb! And yes, this is a really great book.
    I’m a quote person….AND a cat person. So this is definitely a win/win.

  3. mariodacat says:

    Good review, and sounds like a good book.

  4. Ellen Pilch says:

    Great review. I want to get this book. I have a tortie with tortitude named Penny.

  5. Sue W. says:

    I would love to get this book!

  6. Ashley says:

    I would love to win this book, I love cats!

  7. Christina says:

    Torties are beautiful cats and definitely have their own personality! I have had two, myself! I would love this book! Sounds great!

  8. meowmeowmans says:

    Great review! We love torties here. 🙂

  9. Tortitude is a fantastic book, and I really enjoyed reading it as well! People had told me that Jewel was a torbie – a dilute one – and it looks as if she were. She possessed many of the tortitude personality traits. I miss her and will never forget her unique personality and her beautiful fur!

  10. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    guys….thiz book soundz like a total lee awesum one for uz catz two reed two R peepulz….

    de best oh fishes two everee one on winnin a copee 🙂 ♥♥♥

  11. Allison says:

    I love cats, I love to read and review books, and I love my Tortie girl named Cinder! These are my three reasons for wanting to win a copy of Tortitude. Oh, and your review makes the book sound great.

  12. So glad I fished your email out of my spam box, Deb, as I would not have wanted to miss this post!
    Ingrid’s book sounds delightful – please include me in the giveaway! 🙂

  13. I aim to get this book! We are owned by a tortie!!