After a rule change at the Cat Fanciers’ Association, Dawntreader Texas Calboy will never be best in show.
His name comes from the cattery he was born into — Dawntreader Maine Coons, run by Mistelle Stevenson of Waxahachie, Texas — and the rare combination of being both a male and a calico.
Just one out of every 3,000 calico cats, with their distinctive black, orange and white coat, is born a male, according to Mother Nature Network. The term calico refers to coloring; it is not a breed.
Male calicos are genetic “unicorns,” Angela Berger, a veterinarian with the Humane Society Silicon Valley told the website. “I have been involved with shelters for 20 years, and I have never seen one.”
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Coat color in cats is typically a sex-linked trait, and the combination of having orange, white and black in Calboy’s patches instead of stripes makes him “almost genetically impossible,” Brittney Barton, a vet in Dallas, told Newsweek.
Rarity aside, the Fanciers deemed Calboy’s color patterns genetically deficient, according to KXAS. He’s a chimera, born with two sets of DNA.
That’s technically a genetic defect, and it could be detrimental to the breed, the Cat Fanciers told the news station.
Calboy was allowed by the Cat Fanciers to compete in the best in breed category at a show in Houston.
But the rule change went into effect in February, stating that at CFA shows, cats with genetic anomalies such as Calboy’s are never eligible to earn a championship, according to KXAS.
“They didn’t just make it impossible for him. They closed the door for all of the males with his colors and all of the breeds,” Stevenson told the station. “In a perfect world, I would just like for them to look at him as the cat, and does he meet our standard. It’s not his fault he was born a boy and not a girl.”
Since Houston, Calboy has competed in at least one cat show put on by The International Cat Association, a competitor of the CFA. TICA’s president Vickie Fisher told McClatchy that Calboy is welcome to compete in their events.