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