Extremely Rare “Unicorn Cat” Found at Colorado Animal Shelter
- A calico kitten with a rare genetic trait has been found in Colorado: it’s a male, making it one in 3,000 calico cats.
- The kitten, nicknamed “Unicorn,” has Klinefelter Syndrome, which allows him to develop the characteristic calico coat.
- The kitten’s rarity is expected to generate interest, and NoCo Kitties plans to hold a fundraiser to find him the best home, not necessarily the highest bidder.
In some furry news that is sure to make you smile, a rare kitty miracle has occurred!
A calico cat was born in Colorado with a surprising trait: it’s a boy!
This little guy was discovered by a volunteer at NoCo Kitties, a foster-focused rescue group in Loveland, after being brought there from the Humane Society. And boy, was everyone surprised when they found out it was a male calico!
According to the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, only one in 3,000 calico cats are male, making this kitten an adorable rarity.
Founder of NoCo, Davida Dupont, and the veterinarians who confirmed the kitten’s sex had never seen a male calico before, so they were understandably over the moon with excitement.
In fact, they nicknamed him “Unicorn” since male calicos are often called “unicorn cats” due to their rarity.
Calico cats are typically known for their tricolor tortoiseshell coats, which are mostly white with patches of black and brown.
But because the genetic determination of their coat colors is linked with the X chromosome, calicos are almost exclusively female.
Female mammals have two X chromosomes (XX), while males have one X and one Y (XY), inheriting the Y from their fathers. In female calicos, one of the colors is usually due to their mother’s X chromosome, and the other color is due to the father’s X chromosome. This means male XY calicos can’t develop the patchy tricolor coats, since they only have the gene for one of the colors.
But in rare cases, male calicos can be born with the typical calico coat due to what is known in humans as the Klinefelter Syndrome.
This occurs when male calicos have the usual X and Y chromosomes, but also have an extra X chromosome, making them XXY. This allows them to develop the characteristic calico coats. Unfortunately, they are often sterile, with only one in 1,000 of the already rare one in 3,000 male calico cats being able to reproduce.
But let’s get back to the good news: this little Unicorn kitty is up for adoption, and it’s sure to be a popular one!
NoCo’s usual adoption fee is $195, but Dupont is planning a special fundraiser for Unicorn’s adoption to make sure he goes to the perfect home.
“We will probably get huge adoption offers for him, but we want him to go to the best home, and that’s not necessarily the one that could be the highest bidder,” said Dupont.
So if you’re in the market for a sweet, adorable, and incredibly rare kitty, keep an eye out for Unicorn’s adoption details.
And remember, despite being a rarity, male calicos are just as loving and lovable as their female counterparts!