A homeless kitten is the first to be seen by vets from an animal rights organization that is neither male nor female.
Abby-and-white Hope was originally thought to be a female cat when she was admitted to Cats Protection’s rescue center in Warrington, Cheshire, England, but vets found no external genitals.
Vets said they’ve seen hermaphrodite cats – with both male and female reproductive organs – although they are very rare, but Hope has no reproductive organs, external or internal.
Fiona Brockbank, Cats Protection’s senior field veterinary officer, said it appears to be a case of agenesis — the failure of an organ to develop — something she and her colleagues had never seen before.
The charity said research has shown Hope will not be otherwise affected by the disease and is awaiting placement at Cats Protection’s Tyneside Adoption Centre.
Ms Brockbank said: “We have carried out a procedure to look for genitals but nothing is discernible inside or out.
“There is a possibility that ectopic ovarian tissue is hiding inside, but we think this is extremely unlikely.
“This is so rare that there is no commonly used term for the condition, but it is actually agenesis of the genital organs – agenesis being the absence or failure of development related to bodily organs.”
Ms Brockbank said: “This is something we have never encountered at Cats Protection.
“While this means we have no previous cases to substantiate our knowledge of how this will impact Hope in the future, we have spent time monitoring this cat to ensure they are urinating and defecating appropriately before they are considered ready for placement.”
Hope, who is 15 weeks old, is described as a playful kitten who has become popular with staff and volunteers at Cats Protection’s Warrington Adoption Center, where it was first admitted and screened, and the center in Gateshead.
Beni Benstead, Manager of the Tyneside Adoption Center said: “It has been an exciting time to discover Hope’s special status as none of us have seen this before or are likely to do so again.
“Hope has been a pleasure to take care of and it’s fantastic that they are now ready to be adopted.
“We know they will bring someone many years of fun and camaraderie. We would also be very grateful to hear any news about our Tyneside superstar.”
Hope was originally brought to us with her mother and three siblings from a busy family who didn’t think she could give them the attention they needed, a cat welfare spokeswoman said.
Hope has been vaccinated and microchipped, and insurer Petplan has confirmed no special coverage is required, she said.
*For more details on adopting Hope or other animals at Cats Protection’s Tyneside Adoption Center visit www.cats.org.uk/tyneside or call 0191 6531052.
https://www.independent.ie/news/homeless-kitten-found-to-be-neither-male-nor-female-in-veterinary-first-42125875.html Homeless kitten was first found by vet to be neither male nor female