Hermaphrodite cat story in the SUNDAY PEOPLE newspaper…
Meet Marbles the cat – which is both male and female.
When owners Tom Minns and partner Claire Gibley, got Marbles they believed she was a female.
But following some frisky behaviour with their other female cat, Bella, they took her to the vet – to find out Marbles also has male organs.
The vet explained their Marbles, who is a house cat, is a true hermaphrodite – having both sets of reproductive organs.
Marbles now faces becoming one or the other – because keeping both sets of reproductive organs can be medically harmful – and faces surgery within weeks.
Right now the couple are undecided whether or not Marbles will end up male or female.
Vet Steve O’Shea, from The Veterinary Hospital, Plymouth, where Marbles is being treated, said: “Marbles appears to be a hermaphrodite in that he or she has both female and male reproductive organs. This is very rare and only seen a handful of times, if that, within the average vet’s working life.
“It is likely Marbles will need exploratory surgery, and possibly genetic tests, to determine whether he or she is male or female. “
However Tom says: “Marbles is such a loving cat and whatever happens we love Marbles anyway.”
* All embryos first develop with gonads that become either ovaries or testes. But hermaphrodites occur when there is a chromosomal abnormality and the testes and ovaries do not form as they should.
However, the animal usually remains healthy and loving and its day to day life is not affected.
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