March 22, 2019

'I'm Still Surprised': Cat Develops Rare Condition Also Found in Humans That Changes Her Appearance

Share this pen


A cat in Germany got diagnosed with a rare skin condition after her owner noticed her changing fur color.

Three years ago Nicole Böhm’s path crossed with two kittens in desperate need of rescue. Since getting a kitten was already on her mind and with them needing medical care Nicole couldn’t resist.

"They were in a desolate condition with mites and infections in their ears. It hurt me to see them suffer, so I took both home," she told Love Meow.

Nicole rescued the black-and-white kitten siblings aged around four months, but it wasn’t until they got to their first birthday that she started noticing a change in Elli’s fur. "It was just a little white spot on her back. I didn't know why, so I took her to the vet," she said.



Stunned, the vet told Nicole Elli has vitiligo - characterized by the loss of pigmentation in patches of skin/fur all over the body; it is also very rare in cats.

On Elli, the effects are quite striking. Given a clean bill of health, the condition sometimes linked to other medical issues are not relevant to Elli and is otherwise completely healthy. Her sibling remained completely normal.


In the weeks that followed, Elli’s coat pattern kept on changing and resulted in a dramatic and mesmerizing physical transformation.

But she was still the same Elli she’s always been as Nicole added, "Her personality is the same as ever. It doesn't matter to her. She is as cute and lovely and as playful as the first day."


Vitiligo can develop in cats as they get older. Vets are unable to predict which cats are likely to get the condition or why it occurs.

It is also a condition shared with humans, causing patches of pale, white skin to develop due to the lack of melanin. Mostly found on areas exposed to the sun, it affects one in 100 people in the UK.


Biggie the cat and Elli not only share rare conditions but have a few other things in common too. A Reddit user rbend shared the rare occurrence in Biggie, a stray cat the family adopted years earlier.

Biggie used to have the bluest pair of eyes, but early in 2015, the right eye started changing color. Over the course of a year, the one eye gradually turned from blue to emerald green.

The vets couldn’t find anything wrong after doing a range of tests, as an adult cat’s change in eye color could point to a serious medical condition.

Biggie the cat. |Source: Imgur/rbend


"They said it's nothing. I guess it's something that happens with age. I'm not completely sure why it changed, but vets have never been worried about it," rbend wrote.

However, Biggie is a happy, healthy and affectionate cat and seem to suffer no side effects because of the change. Intrigued by the cause, rbend consulted two vets in hopes of finding a reason, but so far, no luck.

At least the two cats still looked liked felines, one dog whose physical appearance also changed, was not so lucky as he ended up looking like a completely different animal.