VOORHEES TOWNSHIP, N.J. – An extremely rare kitten is the face of an animal rescue organization in New Jersey.
A veterinarian at the Animal Welfare Association recently discovered the 3-week-old orange and black tortoiseshell kitten was male while checking him out.
The animal shelter explained on its Facebook page that Burrito is a genetic abnormality, with only one in 3,000 of tortoiseshell cats being male, according to a 2012 study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri.
Burrito featured in news reports around the country, because hundreds of people are reportedly lining up to adopt him, is helping put a spotlight on the issue of shelter animals.
The Animal Welfare Association is holding an event Saturday to give the public a chance to meet the famous feline and also donate here.
The organization wrote on its Facebook page: “(Burrito) is asking that everyone donate $15 towards kitten care today for all the kittens like him that are coming in and need round the clock care because they are too young to fend for themselves. We have over 100 kittens in foster care right now. Please donate now and help homeless pets like Burrito.”
“When I turned little Burrito over I was so surprised,” Dr. Erin Henry, a veterinarian at the Animal Welfare Association told KYW. “I’ve examined thousands of kittens while working at AWA and they are so rare that he may be the only male tortoiseshell I’ll ever see again.”
Male torties are usually sterile and unable to breed, according to the Animal Welfare Association. The cat’s orange-and-black coat is dictated by the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, and males have an XY combination, so only female cats having this particular fur color. For a male cat to be tortoiseshell, it means he has two X chromosomes and one Y.
Burrito and his siblings will go up for adoption when they are 8 weeks old.