We often choose which animals to adopt based on their appearances. A lonely cat’s cute little nose becomes the object of our affections, and a splotchy pattern of fur stretching along her back might scream Instagram worthy!
When Nicole found two kittens in the unlikeliest place, she couldn’t help but notice their gorgeous coats of fur. Soon, however, Nicole noticed a startling change taking over her kitty — and she had no idea what to make of it…
In 2016, Nicole and a few friends were exploring a barn in their native Germany. They didn’t come across anything remarkable, just scattered hay and a sour farmyard odor. Then, Nicole heard a faint crying coming from the corner.
YouTube / big daddy 1992
She crept over to investigate and found two kittens nestled against the wall! Their mother was nowhere to be seen, and both looked like they were in a sorry state. Nicole felt she couldn’t leave them, so she scooped up both cats in her arms.
Twitter / William Woods University
Nicole got the kittens straight over to a veterinarian, who said she hadn’t come a moment too soon. Both felines were dealing with mites, ear infections, and malnourishment, but the vet promised to get them back to full health.
After their recovery, Nicole happily brought them home for the first time. Now named Elli and Rosie, they settled right in. They all lived happily together for nine months, until something strange started happening with Elli.
Instagram / Elli
The whole mystery began when Nicole spotted a strange white spot on Elli’s side. Maybe she had gotten into something outside that got stuck in her fur? It just didn’t seem to belong there.
Instagram / Elli
Nicole figured the white spot might be removable. Brandishing her cat brush, she pulled it across Elli’s side until she could no longer feel her hand. The white patch didn’t fade one bit. However, it changed a couple weeks later.
By that time, white streaks and specks formed all around Elli’s face. The cat hadn’t even turned a year old yet, so Nicole didn’t think that she was simply going gray. She tried not to panic.
Instagram / Elli
Any hopes that the unusual patterns would go away soon vanished. The white spots blended together until large parts of Elli’s coat totally changed color. At the same time, the kitty otherwise seemed like her happy playful self.
Instagram / https://www.instagram.com/elli.vitiligo/
On one level, Nicole felt put off by the whole situation. Though she watched the change gradually unfold before her eyes, it was like a completely different cat wandered into her home! Nicole decided to consult her vet.
Finally, Nicole managed to get some answers. The vet informed her that Elli had a very rare condition called vitiligo. For the most part, vitiligo manifests itself in younger humans.
But a smattering of animals get vitiligo too! It causes blotches of skin to lose their pigment, creating vivid color pattens all over the body. Nicole nervously asked if her cat was in any danger.
Fortunately, the vet assured Nicole that vitiligo is completely harmless. There’s a good chance Elli wasn’t even aware it was happening! She would just go about her normal cat businesses: eating, sleeping a ton, and jumping everywhere she wasn’t supposed to.
Instagram / Elli
When Nicole compares current pictures of Elli to old snapshots, her kitty is almost unrecognizable. She’s gone from a tuxedo pattern to a snow leopard! And as Nicole learned from Instagram, people love her unique look.
Instagram / Elli
Nicole regularly shares updates on Elli, whose fur keeps changing all the time. It’s particularly striking to see her next to her sister Rosie, who is completely untouched by vitiligo.
Instagram / Elli
Before you bring a new cat into your home, it helps to connect with them first to know if they are a good fit for you. Like Nicole proved, however, that’s not always how things work out.
Instagram / Elli
Recently, two women, Shayla Bastarache (pictured below) and Shaniya Yung, from Alberta, Canada, were looking to purchase a new feline friend. Both women, who were total strangers prior, purchased a Sphynx cat, better known as a hairless cat.
Jeff McIntosh / Canadian Press
The Sphynx cat is a designer feline developed through selective breeding in the 1960s. Their skin feels leathery to the touch. Their skin coloration also correlates to the color fur they would have had and follows typical cat markings like solid, point, tabby, tortie, etc.
Loki The Grumpy Sphynx
Sphynxes tend to be a more social breed of cat and display extroverted behavior. They have high energy levels, extraordinary intelligence, increased curiosity, and affection for their owners. They can be described as a dog-like cat compared to other cat breeds.
So it’s understandable that Shayla and Shaniya both wanted to add a Sphynx to their homes. Due to the designer aspect of this breed, they would need to go through a breeder to obtain their new kittens. Sphynx cats are expensive and can cost up to $1,000.
So Shayla and Shaniya, separately, began searching the Alberta area for a Sphynx breeder. It was difficult to find a breeder due to the expensive nature of reproducing a hairless cat. So they looked elsewhere.
In the process of hunting for kittens, both girls stumbled upon the website Kijiji.com, an online classified site. The price for a hairless kitten was about half of what others were asking for. It was a deal too good to resist.
Both women got in contact with the person responsible for the classified add and set up a pickup/drop off date to complete the transaction. They met in a nearby parking lot and paid cash for their new pet.
After receiving their new pets, both Shayla and Shaniya noticed bumps and cuts on their cats’ skin, but, initially at least, didn’t pay it much notice. After two weeks, though, it was evident something was terribly wrong with their kittens.
They brought their kittens to the vet. They were both utterly shocked when they were informed that the kittens’ hair had likely been removed with a combination of a razor and the hair removal product, like Nair, which was causing the skin irritation.
Shayla and Shaniya were confused. But sure enough, soon after, hair started growing on the cats’ skin! This should not happen to a true Sphynx, so the new cat owners realized what the breeder had really sold them.
Unfortunately, it became clear that the online breeder was a scammer and that they purposefully shaved, by whatever means, these poor kittens to make them look like true hairless cats.
Scammers like this are quite skilled at their practice and commonly take advantage of people who don’t know any better until it’s far too late. While you’re stuck wondering how you were duped, they’re making off like bandits.
According to the Canada SPCA’s community manager, Roland Lines, “Sphynx cats typically sell for more than $1,000 each. Because enough people are willing to meet in a parking lot to exchange money for animals, the counterfeiter can expect to get away with the deception.”
Shayla and Shaniya have now turned their focus to warning others about the potential dangers of purchasing animals from unreliable online breeders. Not only is it a financial scam, but these cats were put in danger in an effort to pass them off as a true Sphynx.
Nevertheless, both women did plan to keep their cats despite being a breed they hadn’t expected, as the animals were completely loving pets. The women were, however, quick to warn others of the troubles they may run into when purchasing pets online.
There are certainly several ways to be absolutely certain about the origins of a potential pet you’re adopting. Chief among them is to adopt an animal from a shelter. That way, you get the exact animal you want, the shelter can screen you, and they get to give that furry friend a loving home — it’s a win-win!
If a breeder is something you’d prefer, be sure to do your research first. Many breeders will allow you to visit their facility and meet with the potential parents first before placing your name on the waiting list for an animal. More so, they allow you to meet with your new pet prior to taking them home to be sure it’s a good fit.
The Alberta SPCA had just one thing to say about all of this: “If you want to be sure you’re not giving money to a criminal,” a spokesperson said, “I suggest you go to a humane society to adopt an animal. Don’t meet a stranger in a dark parking lot.”
The two cats are well cared for and showered with love. Both Shayla and Shaniya have put this scam behind them to provide the best home for these fake kittens. And most importantly, the cats did not suffer permanent damage from having their coats removed.
While these kitties’ fur was thankfully growing back, another cat’s fur was shockingly falling out. Though purebred Sphynx cats are highly sought-after, some prefer their felines with shiny, luscious coats; but sometimes you get what you get and you don’t get upset.
In Russia, a high school girl named Dasha was getting ready to meet a new addition to her family. Her mother wanted a kitten, and she’d organized a meeting with someone who was trying to find families for a few felines. Right away, though, there was a disagreement…
Kitten Cuddle Room / YouTube
The cat caretaker had two cats up for grabs. Dasha liked one of the cuter kittens, but her mom preferred the other one—a scraggly little thing covered in patches of different-colored fur.
Dasha’s mom opted to bring home her cat of choice, which the family eventually named Simina and whom they dubbed a “funny and disheveled tangle of energy.” She was a scruffy-looking kitten, but still very cute. That is, until she started growing…
As Simina the cat grew older, she shed some hair in places she’d once had an abundance. The family, in a light-hearted sense, felt deceived. Their cat had grown out of her fuzziness and into something a little less, well… cute. And boy, was it bad!
Simina grew into such a strange-looking cat that Dasha’s guests often asked if she’d found the animal in Chernobyl. They were referring, of course, to the infamous city that was abandoned after a meltdown at the nuclear power plant of the same name in 1986.
But in all seriousness, did Simina really look so disastrous that guests in Dasha’s home genuinely mistook her for one of the mutated animals living on the site of a nuclear disaster? Well…
Over four years, Simina changed and changed, until fur only protruded in bunches from her underbelly like a bad woolen bedskirt. The rest of her coat was pretty much bald, save for a bit of peach fuzz.
Still, the family didn’t flinch at what their cat—a Sphynx, as it turned out, mixed with another breed of cat—had become. To them, and to many others, Simina was cute (if not a bit odd-looking). Still, she developed a few weird habits.
For one, Simina loved ice cream! Apparently, she didn’t mind the terrible stomachaches the dairy-based dessert was liable to give most felines; she, like a handful of other cats, couldn’t get enough of it. But that wasn’t even her strangest obsession…
Apparently, Simina also loved Hematogen, a Russian candy bar for children. With her excellent ears, she could hear someone unwrapping a bar on the other side of the apartment. Of course, once this happened, she’d run over for a bite!
On most nights, Dasha—now no longer a teenager—would sleep beside her warm, loving kitty, despite her odd looks. No one spent quite as much time with Simina as Dasha did—and for a good reason.
Simina at first didn’t get along so well with the men of the household. Whenever she saw Dasha’s younger brother, she hid, studying him and watching him. She only interacted with men after a great deal of caution.
Peculiar as Simina might have been, in a lot of ways, she was no different than your typical household tabby. She played with toys, was an avid cuddler, and of course, she ignored attempts to get her attention (unless you had a Hematogen)!
On top of that, Simina was dangerous in a way that only house cats could be. The family admitted she was cute and affectionate one moment, but in an instant, her mood would change and she’d lash out with sharp claws! All with a devious look on her face.
That said, caring for Simina did require a bit of additional work for the family. Dasha and her mother had to clean the cat twice per day and wipe gunk out of her eyes. Evidently, she was a dirty cat.
Because of all that dirt and gunk, people who didn’t know Simina constantly asked if the unique cat came from Chernobyl—or they’d call her something from a nightmare. Those comments never changed how Dasha and her family felt about their cat, though!
The family just loved their strange and quirky cat. They loved the way she hunted flies with ruthless abandon. They loved the way she hid in the closet and blended in with old clothes. And Dasha even had a message to fellow cat-lovers out there…
Dasha wanted the world to know that just because Simina didn’t have “a certain breed, a pedigree”—and let’s face it, she wasn’t exactly in the running for the most beautiful cat—didn’t mean she was some kind of monster!
Dasha’s message continued, and she admitted that it didn’t matter what your cat looked like; you should love her like she’s the most beautiful on the planet. Because, rest assured, your little feline will look at you that way!
While Dasha probably wasn’t telling her friends she had the conventionally best-looking cat out there, at least she had plenty to say about the unique, loving sweetheart who loved to play and cuddle with her as only Simina could!