Hermaphrodite kitten Bellini stuns vets
A hermaphrodite kitten has left rescuers at a loss over how they should refer to it.
It was initially thought nine-week-old Bellini, who was dumped when just a few days old, was male.
But several weeks later, vets discovered the unusual condition during a routine neutering procedure when they found male and female genitalia.
Adoption centre manager Sonia Scowcroft said it would be up to Bellini's new owners to choose a gender.
Ms Scowcroft, of Cats Protection in St Helens, Merseyside, said she had only ever seen one other hermaphrodite cat in 3,000 animals.
She said: "We have got used to calling Bellini a boy, but really it is up to his new owner to decide what they think is best.
"Either way, he is an absolute cutie pie and will make a really lovely pet."
Bellini has a slight heart murmur so will need regular veterinary checks, the adoption centre said.
The animal is ready to be re-homed with Daiquiri, a female kitten born in the same litter.
Sarah Elliott, Cats Protection's central veterinary officer, said hermaphrodite cats "do not frequently occur".
She said: "This may arise through mosaicism - which is when a kitten's cells divide unusually while the kitten is a growing embryo.
"Such mosaicism may result in a cat with either male or female reproductive organs and genitalia, or a pair of mixed reproductive organs and genitalia.
"Bellini appears to be in the last group with a mixture of both."