You know the strange feeling you get when you’re out in public and hear a cat meowing in a wrong place? But the meow is so unlikely where you are, you think your cat lover ears are playing tricks on you.
Then, the cry rings out again.
You weren’t hearing things and a cat is in need of rescue.
This happened to a kindhearted woman and the kitten she named Martyr.
Out and about, she heard the tiny cry of a kitten. Following the distressed mews, she traced the sound to a dumpster. Looking inside, she found a kitten.
A newborn kitten.
One so young, the sweet baby’s eyes were not yet open. Thanks to her experience with kittens, she estimated Martyr to be around a week old. And he was in bad shape.
Fishing the kitten from the trash, she found Martyr to be a calico and the baby boy had a broken leg and gangrenous paw.
The kind woman had nursed kittens in the past and she knew right what to do for this abandoned sweetheart. Between daily bottle feedings and major TLC, the calico kitten started growing stronger. Though the new fur mom and vet provided amazing care, the infection in the kitten’s back foot was too strong. The paw was lost before the kitten ever opened his eyes.
Priceless Treasure in the Trash
While at the vet, the woman learned another fact about her new kitten. The kitten was indeed a calico, but he was a male. According to the rescuer’s niece, “The vet said it’s really rare for calicos to be male. What a special boy indeed!”
Little Martyr is quite special. He’s a genetic rarity.
Dr. Kathryn Primm explains:
“The patches are actually the visual expression of the cat’s DNA. You see, the colors are coded on the cat’s gene map. But it just so happens that each of these colors are coded on the X chromosome. In a female cat, who has XX pairs, the orange-expressing X shows in some areas and the black-coded X shows in others.
“A male cat, who has only one X chromosome, the two colors are not able to express in this way. In fact, in order for a male cat to even carry and express both of these colors, he must have a genetic rarity known as Klinefelter syndrome. Klinefelter males have an extra X chromosome, so their genetic map is XXY. Because of the presence of the two X chromosomes, Klinefelter males can appear calico.”
Thanks to that extra X in Martyr’s DNA, he’s indeed a rare treasure.
Because Martyr is a male calico, he will be a sterile adult, but still requires neutering.
Rare or not, Martyr is precious and loved by his family. While his fur mom had fostered rescue kitty cats in the past, she couldn’t part with Martyr because she knew in her heart, they were forever family. In spite of his terrifying beginnings, “He’s a normal happy kitty, healthy as a horse.”