A sweet 15-week-old kitten in the U.K. brought into the Cats Protection rescue in Warrington has been discovered to be gender-neutral or sexless by definition. When the homeless kitty was initially brought in, it was believed the adorable feline was a girl. But closer inspection revealed something strange: it has no discernible sex organs. Neither male nor female, the cat is being touted as a veterinary first.
Hope the Kitten
Appearing to be a tabby mix, staff at the facility named the unusual animal Hope. And unusual the cat is because not only does it not have any visible reproductive organs externally, vets at the rescue say there are none to be found internally, either. Cats Protection‘s senior field veterinary officer, Fiona Brockbank, commented that it appears to be a case of agenesis.
“We carried out a procedure to look for sex organs, but there’s nothing apparent inside or out. There’s an outside possibility of some ectopic ovarian tissue hiding away internally, but we think this is extremely unlikely.”
While neither she nor her colleagues have seen the condition manifest itself this way before, the rescue noted that their examinations led them to believe Hope will not be impacted by the condition. Described as the complete absence of an organ or lack of specific cells within an organ, agenesis in cats can sometimes occur as eyelid agenesis, a congenital defect of the eyelid where the upper lateral eyelid is not formed. Considered rare in dogs, eyelid agenesis is most common in cats.
“This is so rare that there isn’t really a commonly used term for this condition,” Brockbank shared, “but it is effectively sexual organ agenesis – where agenesis is the lack or failure of development in relation to body organs.”
Litter Box Training
Brockbank added, “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.” Tyneside Adoption Centre manager, Beni Benstead, chimed in with, “Discovering Hope’s special status has been an exciting time, as none of us have seen this before or are likely to again.
So far, Hope — who was originally brought in with her mom and three siblings — has been described as a delight to care for and is now ready to be adopted. Vaccinated and microchipped, insurer Petplan confirmed the cat will not need special coverage due to its condition. Cats Protection let it be known that they’d “be extremely grateful to hear updates on our Tyneside superstar” from Hope’s future pet parent.Whizzco