Male cats, like human beings, have only one X chromosome in their DNA
meaning that they should be unable to inherit different colours.
The cat's new owner owner Karen Horne , 38, said: ''As a vet I can tell
you that it is genetically impossible to get a male cat that is tortoiseshell
''My colleagues and I have 30 years of experience between us and we have
never seen anything like this.''
Of eight million pet cats in Britain only a couple a year are born male
The eight-week-old kitten was brought into Mrs Horne's veterinary surgery
in Harpenden, Herts., with his three tortoiseshell sisters by local charity
Cat and Kitten Rescue.
But asMrs Horne set about vaccinating the siblings she discovered to
her amazement that one was a boy.
Mrs Horne, from nearby Markyate, immediately adopted Eddie into her family
of five cats, four dogs and three children.
She said: ''I feel like the luckiest vet ever just to see a tortie tom
cat, and even luckier to have him live with me.
''We've decided to call him Eddie after Eddie Izzard, the comedian, as
he is essentially a boy dressed in girls' clothing.
''He a perfect cute little fluffy bundle. When he came
in to the surgery, we all wanted to offer him a home."