A kitten who has defied the odds by being born a male tortoiseshell is being cared for by the RSPCA in West Norfolk.

Most tortoiseshells are female, because of the way their DNA is passed on. It means that only 1 in every 3,000 'torties' are male.

So, after being given a health check and an examination, staff at the Eau Brink Rehoming Centre near King's Lynn could not believe that 'Miracle', as he has been named, was actually a boy.

“I have worked with animals for more than 40 years through my work at the charity and I have seen hundreds if not thousands of kittens over the years and not one has ever been a male tortoiseshell.

Penny Skates, Chairman of the Norfolk West branch trustees.
Miracle (r) was given to the centre with his brother Shadow (l) Credit: RSPCA

Male cats, like humans, only have one X chromosome in their DNA. That means they should be unable to inherit the different colour genes that make up the tortie colouring.

Run by RSPCA, the Eau Brink Rehoming Centre have rehomed 113 cats, 162 dogs, 59 small animals and birds so far this year. However, currently Miracle and his brother Shadow are not available for adoption.