True tortoiseshell (the shell of an actual turtle, that is) is black with attractive highlights of orange or cream. It has been used for centuries in making furniture inlays and ornamental articles, such as hairbrushes.

The name has long been applied to cats whose coats resemble tortoiseshells—that is, black cats with highlight patches of orange or cream. These beautiful cats are often referred to as “torties.” People often confuse the terms tortoiseshell and calico, but the two are not the same.

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