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Shelter takes in cat, discovers he has extremely rare trait: “Like spotting a unicorn”

While every cat is lovely and distinctive in their own right, some have distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from the rest.

After adopting a cat recently, a shelter found out he had an incredibly uncommon quality that a veterinarian likened to “spotting a unicorn”

Cinder, a one-pound tortoiseshell kitten, was recently adopted by the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO), and it quickly became apparent that this was no typical cat.

Known for their characteristic bicolor hair patterns, tortoiseshell cats are nearly always female; males account for just 1 in 3,000 occurrences. It is much less common in men, who normally have XY chromosomes, as the pattern is the product of two X chromosomes, each of which carries a distinct hue of fur.

May be an image of cat

With feline disease of sexual development, Cindi/Cinder is a “hermaphrodite” (DSD). He possessed a vulva as well as testicles. When this was discovered, the veterinarians classified Cinder as a male because, despite being neutered, he possessed organs that produced male sex hormones and lacked a uterus and ovaries.

“To label it a male is difficult, but given the binary nature of animals and people’s attitudes toward them, we decided on male,” stated Crystal Bloodworth, DVM, the medical director of HSCO, in a Facebook post.

They came to the conclusion that Cinder most likely possesses XXY chromosomes, a unique characteristic that permits both male sex organs and a dual-color tortoiseshell pattern.

It was an exceptionally uncommon male tortoiseshell cat, unlike anything the veterinary staff had ever seen.

In her 20 years of work, Annie Pulzone, CVT, has only encountered one other XXY cat, but she noted that seeing these creatures is always enjoyable because they are so uncommon.

In her “tens of thousands of cat surgeries,” Dr. Bloodworth claimed to have only seen a few hermaphrodite cats and one other male tortoiseshell.

A number of families have indicated interest in adopting Cinder, and they intend to complete an adoption as soon as possible, according to their Facebook post.


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