Homeless kitten neither male nor female is veterinary first
Vets at an animal charity have been looking after a homeless kitten that is neither male nor female, in what they believe is a veterinary first.
The tabby-and-white cat, named Hope, was originally thought to be female when it was admitted to the Cats Protection’s rescue centre in Warrington – but vets found no external sex organs.
Cats Protection’s senior field veterinary officer Fiona Brockbank said it appears to be a case of agenesis – the failure of an organ to develop – which she and her colleagues have never seen before.
The charity said examinations showed Hope will not be otherwise affected by the condition.
The kitten is waiting to be rehomed at Cats Protection’s Tyneside Adoption Centre.
“We carried out a procedure to look for sex organs but there’s nothing apparent inside or out,” Ms Brockbank said.
“There’s an outside possibility of some ectopic ovarian tissue hiding away internally but we think this is extremely unlikely.
“This is so rare that there isn’t really a commonly used term for this condition, but it is effectively sexual organ agenesis – where agenesis is the lack or failure of development in relation to body organs.”
Ms Brockbank said: “This is not something we’ve come across before at Cats Protection.
“While this means we don’t have any previous cases to base our knowledge of how this will affect Hope in the future, we spent time monitoring this cat to ensure they can urinate and defecate appropriately before they were considered ready for rehoming.”
Hope is described as a playful kitten who has endeared itself to staff and volunteers.