California Woman’s 22-Year Friendship with Tortoise Goes Viral after Receiving it as a Christmas Gift as a Child

In Santa Monica, California Caitlin Doran shares an extraordinary bond with her pet tortoise, Tiptoe. Caitlin, now 26 years old, was gifted Tiptoe when she was just 7 years old and the tortoise was just the size of her hand. They live in Los Angeles and face the challenge of navigating life in the city together.

Tiptoe has grown into a hefty 175-pound reptile, sporting a 22-year-old shell. The teenager has taken the pet’s rapid growth and longevity in stride, learning to read the signals the tortoise sends her. Caitlin Doran, who has her master’s degree in behavioral analysis and a specialization in special education, has taken to the challenge with ease, adapting Tiptoe’s environment to meet his needs.

Caitlin has navigated this journey by turning to the tortoise community online, learning from others’ experiences while sharing her own. This strategy has been especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to Doran beginning to share her and Tiptoe’s story with her 4.5 million TikTok followers.

Videos of Tiptoe and his specially prepared meals quickly went viral, garnering millions of views. As Caitlin shows off her kitchen skills, experimenting with different dishes to keep Tiptoe entertained and healthy, she is inspired by her followers’ creativity and positivity despite the hate and negativity often encountered on social media.

Tiptoe and Doran have become inseparable over the years, forming a special bond that Doran values greatly. Their journey continues, and Caitlin looks forward to sharing it with her audience for many more years to come.


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