Elli seemed like an ordinary kitten when her owner rescued her and her sister, but slowly she started to change. It all started with a white patch of fur on her back that began to grow. Being a good cat-mom, her owner was concerned, and her instincts proved to be right. Elli had a rare condition, but it had the most surprising side-effect.
She looked the patch of fur again and pushed it aside with her fingers to inspect the skin underneath. Maybe it was just her imagination, but she could have sworn it was smaller just a week ago. She found herself frantically swiping through the photographs on her phone, and they revealed the truth.
Her heart started to race. What was wrong with Ellie?
Nicole Böhm lives in Heidelberg, Germany, and has always had a deep love for animals – particularly cats. So when she saw two abandoned kittens on a farm that needed her help, she didn’t hesitate.
She had been thinking about adopting a cat for a while now, so it seemed like the universe had conspired to bring them together.
Elli and Rosie
Nicole took the two kittens home and named them Elli and Rosie. They were a little worse for wear from their ordeal. With nobody caring for them on the farm, they were a little malnourished and also had ear mites – nothing out of the ordinary and nothing a little TLC wouldn’t fix.
Or so Nicole thought.
Nicole took the kittens to the vet for their first checkup, where they were prescribed a high-calorie diet, inoculated, de-wormed, and given medication for their ear mites. They were well on their way to recovery just a few weeks later, and with Nicole providing the best possible care, they were sure to thrive.
Their little bellies rounded out, and soon Nicole had her hands full!
The kittens quickly doubled in size and became little monsters – as kittens do. They got into anything and everything in Nicole’s apartment, and she had to kitten-proof the house. She made sure that anything dangerous was put away from their little prying paws and kept the bathroom door firmly shut.
But as prepared as cat-mom Nicole was, there was one eventuality she never saw coming.
The Road to Recovery
Both Elli and Rosie underwent a dramatic transformation in the first few months. They had distinctive black-and-white tuxedo markings, and with a premium high-protein food their fur had become silky-soft and lustrous, and their green-grey eyes grew bright with mischief.
But there was something different about Elli.
The Joy of Kittens
Nicole was pleased with Elli and Rosie’s progress and fell in love with the adorable kittens a little more every day. Their personalities were really starting to shine through. Elli was a little wild, dashing around the room after invisible prey whenever the mood took her. Rosie was more docile, content to find a sunbeam and sleep the day away.
Little did Nicole know, Elli was undergoing a slow change. But what condition would cause a cat to become unrecognizable?
On Her Fur
It was an ordinary day in the Böhm household, and Elli and Rosie were up to their usual cat-antics. After a heavy session of play with a catnip-filled mouse, Elli jumped up onto the couch for a nap. Nicole ran her fingers through her black fur and admired her beautiful markings.
And that’s when she noticed it.
An Odd Marking
There was a small white patch on Elli’s back, hardly noticeable unless you were looking for it. “That’s odd,” Nicole whispered to herself. She could have sworn the bright white patch hadn’t been there last week, but she could be wrong.
She tried to put the worry out of her mind, but her cat-mom instincts were telling her that something wasn’t right.
A Sleepless Night
All night she lay and worried about the discolored patch on Elli’s back. It could be normal, she reassured herself. But there was something about it… she couldn’t let it go. It could just be her imagination, but what if it wasn’t?
She had read about a cat’s fur discoloring due to a health issue or a deficiency, and she knew that she wouldn’t be able to rest until she got it checked out. There was only one thing for it.
A Trip to the Vet
She woke early and managed to round Elli up into her travel crate. Elli wasn’t pleased with this development; she knew that the cat carrier only meant one thing: a trip to the vet. Nicole had gone through all her photos of Elli to date and she was right, the white patch of fur hadn’t been there before.
The vet examined Elli but didn’t seem too concerned, at first.
The vet ran some more tests just to be sure. He took a skin scraping and examined it under a microscope, and then ordered a skin biopsy. He was beginning to suspect that there was more to Elli than met the eye.
Nicole suspected that perhaps the loss of her cat’s coloration on a small spot on her back was due to stress, but she was so very wrong.
When the test results came back, the vet called Nicole immediately with the news. Elli had a rare condition, and this was just the beginning. In the week that she had waited for the test results to come back, Elli was beginning to sprout white tufts of fur all over her body.
Soon, she would be unrecognizable. Nicole had never heard of vitiligo, until now.
A Rare Condition
Vitiligo is an extremely rare condition which causes loss of pigmentation in the skin. It manifests itself as patches or tufts of white hair that soon spread to other areas of the body. It can occur in both humans and animals and can come with other serious health issues, such as an autoimmune disease.
So naturally, Nicole was concerned.
Thankfully, Elli appeared to be in excellent health despite having a pigmentation disorder. Her strange transformation progressed throughout the next two years until she became completely unrecognizable, but Elli is blissfully unaware that she is any different from her sister, Rosie.
Her black fur slowly turned white, and Nicole was amazed at the beautiful markings that began to appear.
Snowflake-shaped white patches started to emerge as the white fur started to spread. The stark black and white tuxedo coat that Elli was born with soon became flecks of white and grey, and netizens can’t get enough of the cat’s breathtakingly beautiful metamorphosis.
“I was surprised,” Nicole said. “I’m still surprised.” Elli has become a celebration of the unique and the different.
Still the Same Cat
“Her personality is the same as ever,” Nicole added. “She is as cute and lovely and as playful as the first day.” And Elli quickly became a cat celebrity, with her own Instagram and Facebook pages with thousands of followers.
She’s become a silent spokesperson and a celebration for humans struggling with vitiligo, too. She shows us that unique is beautiful.
One follower wrote: “You are adorable! My mom has vitiligo, we didn’t know that cats can have it. Big hug from Sientje and her mom!” and another: “She makes me feel so good about my vitiligo, I’m so glad someone introduced Elli to me, every day [sic] struggle with my spots.”
But a few years down the line, and Elli’s transformation is still not complete.
“Her changing still goes on every day,” Nicole explained, “and I love her more and more.” She keeps a detailed record of her transformation in photographs and shares them with the world on Elli’s Instagram page. And people can’t help but marvel at Elli’s beauty.
Who could ever have guessed that an ordinary tuxedo cat would touch so many hearts?
Unique is Beautiful
That fateful day that Nicole opened her heart and home to two kittens in need, she never expected that Elli had such a unique condition. And through Elli, she’s teaching the world that it’s okay to be different and that being unique is beautiful!
Millions of people are insecure about their differences, but Elli’s story shows us that these differences should be celebrated!