Last Updated on: March 9, 2012 by Ingrid King

male tortoiseshell cat

Those of us who love tortoiseshell cats already know that they’re unique when it comes to their personalities, also known as tortitude. They also have unique genetics. The vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female, because two X chromosomes are required to produce black, gold and orange coloring. Male cats only have one X and one Y chromosome, so technically it’s genetically almost impossible for a male to inherit the tortoiseshell coloring. A male tortoiseshell has an extra X chromosome, making it an XXY.

According to a study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, only 1 in 3000 tortoiseshell cats is male.

Given the rarety of male torties, I’m always excited when I hear of one. I previously profiled male tortie Doodleburg who shares his home with Conscious Cat reader Sharon in Lousiana.

Earlier this week, Jocelyne from Cat Rescue of Marlborough and Hudson in Hudson, MA, introduced me to M Butterfly. He is about 6 months old and was surrendered from a home in Worcester. “He clearly was cared for,” said Jocleyne, “he’s a very relaxed boy with a sweet tiny meow.” He is friendly, easy going and well-mannered. Jocelyne, who does all intakes for the rescue group, told me that he quickly integrated himself into her household, even spooning her 14- year-old Devon Rex, who usually hates the foster cats.

M Butterfly, who was named after the 1988 movie featuring a soprano who reveals herself to be a man after 20 years of performing, is now in a foster home charming the adult boy cat and the children.

For more information about this unique and beautiful boy, please visit his Petfinder page. And if you adopt M Butterfly, I want to hear from you!

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