Rare genetic male Tortoiseshell Tabby kittens

By Hope Bidegainberry on May 27, 2021

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA has announced two extremely rare male Tortoiseshell Tabby kittens have come through their shelter doors. Both kittens were found as strays in Redwood City, CA. One kitten named Mateo by shelter staff was adopted yesterday. The other kitten named Francisco will be available for adoption Friday, May 28.

“The family who adopted Mateo was not initially aware of how unique he was, they just fell in love with his charming personality,” said PHS/SPCA’s Communications Manager Buffy Martin Tarbox. “When they learned the kitten they adopted was a very rare male Tortoiseshell Tabby, they were quite surprised.”

Another male Tortoiseshell Tabby kitten named Francisco was found in the same area in Redwood City, CA as Mateo and should be available for adoption soon. “Having one male Tortoiseshell Tabby at our shelter is a once in a lifetime occurrence. We are still in complete shock that another genetically rare kitten has come through our shelter doors,” according to Tarbox.

Tortoiseshell Tabby cats, known for their black and orange coloring are almost always exclusively female. Tortoiseshell Tabbies are not a specific breed, but instead refer to their patterned coat, which is black and orange and reminiscent of the shell of a tortoise. These cats are also known for their sassy temperament often referred to as “tortitude.” Tortoiseshell Tabbies are considered in several cultures around the world to be lucky or “money” cats.

“Mateo and Francisco are genetic anomalies since the gene that controls the orange and black fur color is found on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have an XY combination, meaning that only female cats can have orange and black fur. To be a male Tortoiseshell cat, he must have three sex chromosomes: two XXs and one Y,” according to Tarbox. “We cannot ever recall a male Tortoiseshell Tabby come through our shelter. In 2019, a shelter in England announced they had a male Tortoiseshell Tabby available for adoption and the kitten received international attention.”

Francisco is a two-month-old neutered male kitten. He’s sweet and energetic. His adoption fee is $120. Potential adopters should call 650-340-7022 to schedule an appointment to meet Francisco.

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