by Robert Hudson
Little Burrito is a healthy little kitty, full of energy and fearless curiosity. Burrito is a very special kitty that many people have never seen before. What makes Burrito so special? Burrito is a BOY.
You see Burrito is what is known as a tortoiseshell, a genetic mutation that combines two colors: black/brown and orange- in many different shades. The same condition may also include white which some people refer to as Calicos. They are almost always female. That is because brown and orange fur color in cats is usually determined by the female pair of X chromosomes. A male “tortie” essentially has both the X chromosomes of a female and the Y chromosome of a male. Males in many species are usually born with an X and Y chromosome, while females are born with two X chromosomes.
A male tortoiseshell cat, born with brown and orange fur, occurs in 1 in 3,000 births. A male tortie is almost always sterile and unable to breed. When one is born, it is a genetic anomaly.
Burrito was found abandoned along with his littermates and brought to Dr. Erin Henry at the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, New Jersey.
“When I turned little Burrito over I was so surprised,” Henry said. “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.”
No two Torties or Calicos look a like. The color combinations seem to be random with no well defined common pattern. Variations can be very dark browns and black with only hints of orange or white, or blotches/patches of colors, or a combination of light, rather washed out colors with just a few spots of bold colors.
All domestic breeds and mix breed domestics can have this abnormality- long hair, short hair… If a cat has a coat of hair, it may be born with this! Sorry hairless cats!
Cat writer Ingrid King and author of the book ‘Tortitude‘ describes Torties:
“Tortoiseshell cats have very few or no white markings, as opposed to calicos, who are tri-colored cats with larger areas of white fur. Sometimes, the colors are more muted. These torties are known as dilute torties. Very dark torties with a lot of black in their fur are often affectionately called “chocolate torties.” Occasionally, the typical tortoiseshell colors are also seen in a tabby (striped) pattern; these cats are referred to as “torbies.” Tortoiseshell markings appear in many different breeds”.
She also states that Torties and Calicos are “fiercely independent, feisty and unpredictable. They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr.”
Burrito will not be able to Father children, but he will fit right in to a loving home that wants a cat with swagger!
For more information, call 856-424-2288 or visit www.awanj.org.