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Hermaphrodite cat preparing for gender assignment surgery

Mittens the hermaphroditic cat will have to be both spayed and neutered, owner Colleen Clarke-Murphy said.

By Ben Hooper

HEART'S DESIRE, Newfoundland, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A Newfoundland woman said she is raising money to get gender assignment surgery for her cat, which was born a hermaphrodite.

Colleen Clarke-Murphy of Heart's Desire said her daughter found the cat as a stray and her family adopted the feline and named it Mittens.

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Clarke-Murphy said she took Mittens to the vet in October and was shocked to learn the cat had both male and female genitalia.

She said the vet recommended Mittens receive surgery to become a male due to bowel and urination issues the cat experiencing.

"They're the ones who know what they're doing. I mean, I really don't know. I'd like for it to be a female, but it really don't matter. It's got both parts," Clarke-Murphy told CBC News. "I think it's got both personalities, so it really don't matter."

The veterinarian said Mittens will have to be both sprayed and neutered before the assignment surgery, which would be followed with a reconstructive procedure.

Clarke-Murphy said all of the procedures together will cost about $1,500. She said a friend is conducting a Facebook auction to help raise the money for Mitten's care.

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She said the cat is worth the cost.

"She was part of my family when she came home with my daughter," she said. 

Hermaphroditic cats are rare, but not unheard of -- a Liverpool, England, couple discovered last year that their cat, Twinkle, had the features of both genders.

Twinkle underwent gender assignment surgery and is now a female, her owners said.

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