Rare Condition Fades Tuxedo Cat Into Something Truly Unique

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on May 4, 2021

Vitiligo in humans occurs when patches of skin lose their color due to the destruction of pigment cells. It’s considered a rare condition for both humans and cats. Yep, that’s right. Vitiligo can affect cats too, causing their fur and skin to lose color over time.

And for one cat, the results of vitiligo were quite drastic, fading her from tuxedo kitten to a white cat with inky streaks.

Elli began life as a black-and-white cat on a farm in Germany, just like her sister Rosie. Rescued by Nicole Böhm, the kitten sisters came home to a life of love and comfort with no signs of the fading that would find Elli.

“She had a tuxedo coat like her sister. Nothing unusual,” Nicole told The Dodo. “The changing began about one year after birth.”

Fur Fading Out

One day, Nicole noticed some white hairs emerging from Elli’s shadowy coat, sharing, “It was just a little white spot on her back.”

Being a concerned cat mom, Nicole bundled her fur baby off to the vet, where she learned Elli had vitiligo. While vitiligo can be linked to health issues, Elli was diagnosed a healthy cat sporting a unique look. And, over time she would fade from her black-and-white coloring to white with black wisps.

“I was surprised,” said Nicole. “I’m still surprised.”

Over the past few years, Elli has changed color enough she looks like a totally different cat. She’s also proved she beautiful in either look!

Though she may look different than the kitten rescued from an old farm, she’s still the same darling dear she’s always been, her mom sharing, “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.”

Social Media Sweetie Cat

Nicole has been chronicling Elli’s fading fur from the start and the beautiful cat now has almost 115k fans following the continuing journey.

“Tuxedo vs. vitiligo”

“Little naughty Elli!”

“My sister Rosie and me. I am a rebel! At one point I decided not to look like her anymore.”

“Tail transformation completed – everything is white with a little black tip…”

“Please pet me.”

“Little cute nose.”

Of her sweet Elli, Nicole said, “Her changing still goes on every day, and I love her more and more.”

Keep up with Elli on Instagram and Facebook.

H/T: www.thedodo.com
Feature Image:  @elli.vitiligo/Instagram