NEW JERSEY – Burrito isn’t like other kittens at all, but you’d never guess the reason why just from looking at him.
The 3-week-old rescue kitten is literally a genetic anomaly, a fact that veterinarian Dr. Erin Henry over at Animal Welfare Association in Vorhees, New Jersey, recently discovered while checking him out.
“When I turned little Burrito over I was so surprised,” Henry explained to CBS Local in Philadelphia. “I’ve examined thousands of kittens while working at AWA and they are so rare that he may be the only male tortoiseshell I’ll ever see again.”
As CBS Philly reported, Burrito is actually a male tortoiseshell (also known as a calico), and only 1 in every 3,000 or so of this kind of cat is male, according to what the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri claims. Meanwhile, the AWA has estimated the odds could be as great as 1 in 400,000.
Male torties are usually naturally sterile and unable to breed, says the Animal Welfare Association. The cat’s orange-and-black coat is solely dictated by the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, and males have an XY combination — therefore, only female cats having this particular fur color. For a cat who is male to be tortoiseshell, it means he has two X chromosomes and one Y.
None of this medical history should harm Burrito’s chances of adoption, though. The AWA claims the kitten and his littermates will go up for adoption when they are 8 weeks old.
NJ.com has reported that Burrito and co. are currently living with a foster family and anyone who wants to adopt him will actually be charged the standard $95 fee, which includes spaying or neutering and vaccinations.