Fur of orphaned kitten grows back a different colour

Orphaned kitten has a different coat colour
Orphaned Kitten grows back a different colour. ⒸLucija Ros. Unsplash

It is often the case that a cat’s new fur is a different colour from the old, especially around scars and abscesses. But when the face of an orphaned kitten from Philadelphia began to change colour her carer thought it was a story worth sharing.

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Alley kittens Nebula and Loki arrived at a city shelter in Philadelphia in August 2018. Vets estimated the brother and sister to be about five weeks old and both weighed only eight ounces each. Due to his health being in such a state Loki’s death just hours later didn’t come as a surprise.

What caused the change in the colour of Nebula’s fur?

ACCT Philly volunteer Shauna took charge of Nebula’s care and began to feed her using a syringe, but she knew the orphaned kitten’s chances of survival were slim. ‘I was really worried because she was so thin,’ Shauna recalled.

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But a turnaround came by chance when Shauna inadvertently left a bowl of wet food in front of the sickly Nebula. ‘I was getting ready to syringe feed her,’ she said, ‘and she literally dived into it.’

Nebula’s health began to improve but her way of eating caused her fur to fall out, and Shauna’s attempts to clean the cat’s face after each mealtime proved fruitless. ‘She would “nurse” her wet food for comfort. And by nurse, she would shove her whole face and upper body into the food and try suckling on it,’ Shauna added.

‘When I noticed the hair loss, I got her to eat dry food and cut the wet food out completely. That’s when the fur started growing back in grey.’

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A post shared by @ixluvxcats on

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There are many reasons for a cat’s fur to grow back in a different colour; a kitten’s fur often changes colour as the years go by and a cat’s undercoat is lighter than its topcoat. However, for Shauna the reasons didn’t matter. She had brought Nebula back from the brink of death.

Nebula now seems well and truly on the mend and is almost ready to be re-homed. ‘She is extremely active and loves to run around and play,’ Shauna says. ‘She went from being on death’s door when I got her at five weeks old to being absolutely fearless’.

Read also: Have You Met Cats that Made You Take a Second Look?

Nick John Whittle lives and works in Birmingham, UK. He is a specialist copywriter, journalist and theatre critic. Over the years Nick’s family has owned dogs, cats, rodents and birds. The history of animal domestication and of people’s relationship with their pets over the centuries interests him a lot. He cares greatly about the welfare of both feral and domesticated animals and supports ongoing protection of endangered species.