When just a kitten, Bellini was taken into the care of Cats Protection’s St. Helens Adoption Centre in the United Kingdom. Weeks went by with the kitten's caretakers thinking the feline was a male. However, while undergoing a routine neutering procedure at nine weeks old, they discovered that Bellini was actually had both male and female genitalia - colloquially referred to as a "hermaphrodite."
It’s thought that Bellini will lead a perfectly healthy and long life, although caretakers have noticed the kitten does have an unrelated heart murmur that will require regular veterinary check-ups.
Sarah Elliott, Cats Protection’s central veterinary officer, explained in a statement: “Hermaphrodite cats do not frequently occur so Bellini is one of the more unusual cats to be found. This may arise through mosaicism – which is when a kitten’s cells divide unusually while the kitten is a growing embryo. This may result in a cat with either male or female reproductive organs and genitalia, or a pair of mixed reproductive organs and genitalia. Bellini appears to be in the last group with a mixture of both.”
The adoption center is now looking for a new home for Bellini, along with the kitten's sister Daiquiri, near the St. Helen’s area. For more details on this, you can visit the Cats Protection website.
Sonia Scowcroft, manager of the adoption center, said: “We’ve got so used to calling Bellini a boy, but really it is up to his new owner to decide what they think is best. Either way, he is an absolute cutie pie and will make a lovely pet.”