Meet Harry, a cat in Scotland who has defied genetics (leave it up to a cat to defy DNA). He is a “400,000-to-one shot thought to be one of Scotland’s rarest moggies.” The unwanted 12-week-old kitten was handed into Lothian Cat Rescue in Bonnyrigg Scotland after his owners discovered they were allergic to his fur.
99.96 per cent of Tortoiseshell cats born are female due to the way genes dictating coat color are passed down. Harry’s dapper looks will mean he is sterile, however, should the vets discover he isn’t, it would make this little feline very valuable.
“The vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female, because two X chromosomes are required to produce black, gold and orange coloring. Male cats only have one X and one Y chromosome, so technically it’s genetically almost impossible for a male to inherit the tortoiseshell coloring. A male tortoiseshell has an extra X chromosome, making it an XXY.“
Most people will never encounter a male Tortoiseshell cat and, in all my years volunteering at an animal shelter I believe I have only ever seen one come in.