Surprise! A Rare Male Tortie Adopted at Animal Services

La Jolla resident adopts rare male tortie from County Animal Services.

First a male torbie, then a male tortie. You just never know what you might find at County Animal Services. For the second time in a matter of months, a rare male cat has shown up at their door.

This 2-year-old male tortie was adopted Tuesday at the County’s animal care facility on Gaines Street in San Diego. The new owner didn’t know how rare the feline was until after the adoption.

What’s the big deal?

Well, a tortie is a type of calico cat with three colors and a little tortoiseshell coloring thrown in. A torbie is a tricolor with a little tabby thrown in. Both are almost always female.

To get the tricolor, you have to have two X chromosomes. Males have an X and a Y.

“These kitties have two X chromosomes and a Y,” said County Animal Services Veterinarian Dr. Cassie Hamilton. “This happens in maybe one in 10,000 cats.”


Hamilton says she’s only seen three or four male torties or torbies in her 27-year career.

“I’ve seen only two in my time in this field,” said County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson. “And that stretches 37 years!”

No one can explain why County Animal Services has suddenly seen two such rare male cats in under three months. The male torbie came into the shelter in Carlsbad in November and was snapped up right away.

The male tortie came in as a stray on Jan. 28 and was adopted three days after he became available.

County Animal Services lists all of its adoptable animals on its website. They range from blends to purebreds, garden variety animals to rarities. Dogs, cats and rabbits are the most common animals available. But horses, sheep, goats, pigs, snakes, birds, ducks, turtles and even iguanas become available on occasion.

All are in need of good homes. So check it out. There might be a surprise in store. Maybe not a rarity, but the perfect pet that is just right for you.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact