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RSPCA staff examine tortie kitten; are shocked at the 'miracle' they discover!

Tortoiseshell kitten cat-wow
© itvanglia - Twitter

Rescue centre staff see a huge number of kitten pass through their doors each year. But one little kitten who has defied the odds has left even the most experienced staff in shock.

By Zoe Monk

Published on the 04/12/2019, 18:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:36

The RSCPA in Norfolk rescues more kittens and cats than any other pet. They collected an incredible 22,000 cats last year, equivalent to over 60 felines a day. So, taking on the care of a pretty tortoiseshell cat isn’t particularly unusual.

But for the RSPCA in West Norfolk, they were rather surprised to meet one of their latest residents.

It's a boy

The little tortoiseshell kitten was brought in with its black brother. But what made the tortoiseshell kitten unusual, was not its mottled coat, but it was the fact that the cute kitty was male.

Most tortoiseshell cats are female as a result of how their DNA is passed on.

A tortie male is so rare that only one in every 3,000 tortoiseshell cats is male.

He’s a little ‘Miracle’

After they had given him a thorough health check, the staff at the Eau Brink Rehoming Centre near King's Lynn couldn’t quite believe that the little cat was actually a boy.

Penny Skates, Chairman of the RSPCA’s Norfolk West Branch of Trustees shared the story on rspca.org.uk, she said:

“When the cattery staff at our rehoming centre told me we had a male tortoiseshell I just presumed they had made a mistake and I explained to them you just can't get a male tortie. But when I did take a look at him, it was clear we had a little boy and not a girl.”

One in a million

“I have worked with animals for more than 40 years through my work at the charity and I have seen hundreds if not thousands of kittens over the years and not one has ever been a male tortoiseshell,” Penny added.

“He's caused quite a stir at our centre because no one has ever seen a male tortie before - we named him Miracle because to us he really is a one in a million kitten.”

Mystery of torties

Male cats, like humans, only have one X chromosome in their DNA. That means they should be unable to inherit the different colour genes that make up the well-known tortoiseshell colouring.

Little brothers

Miracle and his brother Shadow continue being cared for at the centre until they are ready to be put up for rehoming.