A Winnipeg pet shelter got a rare surprise when a feral cat gave birth to her kittens in the rescue.
Winnipeg, meet Unicorn Andy, an eight-week-old kitten who is also a male calico – something that happens for maybe one calico cat in 10,000, said D’Arcy Johnson, CEO of D’arcy’s ARC.
“In all these years of working at the shelter and all my years of working in the clinic … I haven’t seen one, and even some of our long-term veterinarians have never seen them,” he said.
A full grown calico cat.
Calico cats are domestic cats who have a distinctive colour pattern consisting usually of white with large patches of orange and black. That colour pattern is linked to the cat’s X chromosomes, so most calico cats are female.
For a male to have the pattern, they need to have two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome, which is a rare genetic abnormality.
“These cats tend to be sterile,” said Johnson, but he added, that won’t prevent Unicorn Andy from undergoing the knife to be neutered.
Unicorn Andy came to the shelter along with his feral mother and four litter mates after his mother was trapped near a feral cat colony in St. James. The rest of the cats are orange and white, and one is black, said Johnson.
While Unicorn Andy has already been adopted, he will be at the shelter until Sunday if people want to see him.
In the meantime, the shelter is packed with kittens, added Johnson, as it tends to happen every spring and summer.
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