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

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

All cats are beautiful and special in their own way, but some of them have special qualities that make them truly unique.

Recently, one shelter took in a cat and discovered he had an extremely rare trait — which one vet said was like “spotting a unicorn” 😮

The Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO) recently took in a one-pound tortoiseshell kitten named Cinder — and soon realized it was no ordinary cat.

Tortoiseshell cats, known for their distinct two-color fur patterns, are almost exclusively female, with males only making up 1-in-3,000 cases. The pattern is the result of two X chromosomes, each carrying a different fur color, so it’s far less common in males who typically have XY chromosomes.

Cinder was initially assumed to be female, and was called “Cindi.” But after taking the cat for a spay surgery, vets discovered a surprise.

May be an image of cat
Humane Society of Central Oregon

Cindi/Cinder is a “hermaphrodite” with feline disorder of sexual development (DSD). He had both testicles and a vulva. Upon this discovery, vets called Cinder a male, as he had male sex hormone producing organs (though he was neutered) and did not have a uterus or ovaries.

“To call it a male is tough, but with the binary nature of animals and people’s perception of animals, we chose male,” HSCO’s medical director Crystal Bloodworth, DVM said in a Facebook post.

They determined that Cinder likely has XXY chromosomes, a rare trait allowing for both a dual-color tortoiseshell pattern and male sex organs.

The veterinary team had never seen anything like it, an extremely rare male tortoiseshell cat.

“It was like spotting a unicorn!” said clinic manager Bailey Shelton, CVT. “Even though I’ve only been in the veterinary field for nine years, this very well could be a once-in-a-career moment.”

“They always talked about how rare male tortoiseshells are back in school, but seeing one in person is something else. You just never know what amazing surprises await you at the humane society!”

Annie Pulzone, CVT said that she has seen only one other XXY cat in her 20-year career, “but it is always fun to see these types of animals in one’s career because they are so rare.”

Dr. Bloodworth said she’s performed “tens of thousands of cat surgeries” and only seen one other male tortoiseshell and only a handful of hermaphrodite animals.

According to their Facebook post, several families have expressed interest in adopting Cinder and they hope to finalize an adoption soon.

We love hearing about rare, unique animals and sweet Cinder is definitely one-of-a-kind! Please share this interesting story if you love cats! 😸

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