A 15-week-old kitten has bamboozled the care team at a UK charity. Originally thought to be a female, the new tabby-and-white arrival, named Hope, has been found to have no sex organs.
Cats Protection admitted the kitten into their care, and on further investigation found that Hope has neither external nor any internal sexual parts. While hormone imbalances have caused unusual outcomes in lions, and hermaphrodite cats have been found on rare occasions, possessing no sexual parts whatsoever is highly irregular.
“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," said Fiona Brockbank, Cats Protection's Senior Field Veterinary Officer, in a statement seen by IFLScience.
The team have spent time closely monitoring Hope to make sure the young cat is growing normally and is able to pee and poop without any issues. As the case is so unusual, the team are unsure how this will affect Hope in the future.
"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."
Agenesis has been seen in children and adults with different conditions, commonly those related to brain development, and is the complete or partial failure of an organ to develop during embryonic growth.
Despite this bizarre condition, little Hope has charmed the staff at both the Warrington Adoption Centre and the Tyneside branch where she was later moved to – so much so, that Hope has now been adopted by a member of the care team, and has also been given the new name, Beans.