One in 3,000 - meet the rare kitten who will soon need a home

Miracle, the rare male tortoiseshell kitten being cared for by the RSPCA Picture: RSPCA

Miracle, the rare male tortoiseshell kitten being cared for by the RSPCA Picture: RSPCA - Credit: Archant

A little kitten who has defied the odds by being born a male tortoiseshell is being cared for by the RSPCA.

Miracle and his brother Shadow Picture: RSPCA

Miracle and his brother Shadow Picture: RSPCA - Credit: Archant

Male cats, like human males, have only one X chromosome in their DNA meaning they should be unable to inherit the different colour genes that make up the 'tortie' colouring.

But little Miracle, as he has been named, appears to have defied the odds to be born a male tortoiseshell kitten. There are an estimated 10.9m pet cats in the UK - and according to research only one in every 3,000 tortoiseshells is born male.

Miracle and his brother Shadow were taken into the care of the RSPCA Eau Brink Rehoming Centre, near King's Lynn, by their owner and signed over into the RSPCA's care.

Like all cats taken in by the RSPCA they were given a health check and an examination - where to the staff's surprise they discovered the tortoiseshell was actually a boy.

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Penny Skates, chairman of the Norfolk West branch trustees, said: "When the cattery staff at our rehoming centre told me we had a male tortoiseshell I just presumed they had made a mistake - and I explained to them you just can't get a male tortie. But when I did take a look at him, it was clear we had a little boy and not a girl.

"I have worked with animals for more than 40 years through my work at the charity and I have seen hundreds if not thousands of kittens over the years and not one has ever been a male tortoiseshell.

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"He's caused quite a stir at our centre because no one has ever seen a male tortie before - we named him Miracle because to us he really is a one in a million kitten.

"He's a gorgeous little character, he absolutely adores his brother Shadow so when we do look to rehome them they will be rehomed together because they are inseparable."

The branch, which is a separately registered charity to the national RSPCA, and rehoming centre is run by eight members of staff who so far this year have already rehomed 113 cats, 162 dogs and 59 small animals and birds.

The kittens are not yet ready to be rehomed. When they are, they will be on the centre's website here.

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