‘Super rare’ kitten adopted from Las Vegas animal shelter


Comet, a “super rare male turtle kitten”, was adopted from a Las Vegas animal shelter over the weekend.

The Animal Foundation

A little kitten named Comet has made quite an impression at a Nevada animal shelter.

Comet is a “super rare male turtle kitten,” according to The Animal Foundation, a Las Vegas animal shelter. In an Instagram post, the organization said kittens like Comet are so rare they’re sometimes called “the unicorn of cats.”

He was quickly adopted, the shelter posted on June 4.

Tortoiseshell cats like Comet are almost exclusively female, according to the Oakland-based rescue organization Cat Town. Cats are not a specific breed, but are named after their unique coat which combines patches of colors, such as red, black and brown.

Cats are mostly female because two X chromosomes are needed to produce the tortoiseshell pattern, Cat Town said. Only about 1 in 3,000 tortoiseshell cats are male, and that’s because they have an extra X chromosome. Due to this genetic defect, male tortoiseshell cats are usually also sterile, the organization said.

The cats are so rare that “veterinarians go for years, even decades, without ever seeing one in person,” said The Animal Foundation.

Comet is about eight weeks old and arrived at the shelter as a stray, Kelsey Pizzi of The Animal Foundation told McClatchy News.

He “spent about a month in foster care before he was big enough and old enough to be adopted,” Pizzi said. He was neutered on June 3 and taken to his new adoptive home the following day, she added.

“Comet is definitely one of the most unique cats we have ever seen at The Animal Foundation,” the shelter said. “Very cool!”

Vandana Ravikumar is a real-time McClatchy reporter. She grew up in northern Nevada and studied journalism and political science at Arizona State University. Previously, she reported for USA Today, The Dallas Morning News and Arizona PBS.

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