Vet Blogger and Hospital Staff Witness One of Nature's Rarities
photo 2009 Marieke Kuijjer | more info (via: Wylio)
In December, 2010 I answered a question about the rarity of female orange tabbies. I stated that among orange tabbies females are less common than males, but that female orange tabbies are not rare.
At the time, I added this:
If you want to see a truly rare cat, look for a male calico or tortoise shell. They exist, but Ive never met one and I doubt I ever will.
Two short months later, I am eating those last words.
A few days ago a stray cat was brought to my office by a humane officer. It was a tortoise shell that was weak in the hind end. Every thorough veterinary exam, especially one involving a hind end problem, involves looking under the cat's tail (delicately, of course). And under that cat's tail was a surprise: he was a male.
Only one testicle was present in his scrotum, but there was no doubt about the gender. I had a hard time referring to that fellow as him instead of her all night long, but I managed (for the most part) to pull it off.
And yes, I have pictures to prove it. But, although animals, especially strays, don't have true patient privacy protections a-la-HIPAA, I just don't think it's appropriate to post pictures of cats' junk on my blog. You'll have to take my word for it.
And, despite this experience, I stand by a modified version of my original statement: male calicos and tortoise shells most definitely exist, but I've only met one and I don't expect to meet another.
For those who are wondering, I'm happy to report that the cat's condition improved with treatment.
Photo: not the cat in question, and almost certainly female.