Rescuing animals is highly encouraged by the community of animal lovers. It is recommended to adopt a pet from animal shelters. They do su...




Rescuing animals is highly encouraged by the community of animal lovers. It is recommended to adopt a pet from animal shelters. They do such a great job of helping strays. They provide care for animals who need protection and also find a home for them. The experience of opening your home for a stray and showering them with love is the best feeling. They become a part of your family as you get to know and love all their quirks and characteristics.
Nicole Bohm, a German woman, experienced this joy when she rescued two kittens from a farm. She took them in, nursed them back to health and provided them with tremendous love. Life was going well until things took an unexpected turn, one of the kittens started showing some changes. Nicole did not see coming what happened next.

Nicole Bohm had been an animal lover ever since she was a little girl. Growing up in a strict family, Nicole was not allowed to keep pets at home. No matter how much she pleaded and begged, Nicole’s mother would not budge. So she would often sneak out to her uncle’s farm to feed the horses and help him with everyday chores at the farm. This was her favorite thing to do after school. 

As an adult, Nicole still loved to visit her uncle at the farm. During the weekends she would always manage to find the time and spend the day helping him around. Her uncle was not as fit as he used to be. He was much older now, a fringe of grey-white surrounding his balding scalp. He spent his weekends hunched over his armchair leaving Nicole to take care of the farm.

It was a Sunday morning, Nicole was standing outside the barn gate. The mud lay in uneven patches, scattered over the sloped farmyard. The old hay barn had stables at the front with those old half doors to allow the horses to view the yard. To the right was the pigpen where the pigs lived in bliss ignorant of the world surrounding them. 

Behind the farm, the stone mountains stood up against the sky. The smell of manure hung thickly in the air over a more subtle scent of the trees and freshly watered grass. This was Nicole’s favorite place in the entire world. Whenever she felt the need to get away from the busy city life she would come down here to forget about it all.

Nicole was ready to close the barn gate when she heard a tiny cry from the corner of the barn. She began walking towards the sound. Her eyes spotted a pair of kittens cuddled together. They were black with a few white spots on their bodies. Nicole was confused about how they ended up here on the farm, they did not have any cats. 

The kittens did not seem older than three-four months. They were in a desolate state. Nicole noticed they had mites and yeast infections in their ears. Their furs were thin and dull, unwashed and bare at a few spots. She realized they had been abandoned by someone. It hurt her to see them suffer so she picked them up and brought them inside her uncle’s cottage.

Nicole had been meaning to get a cat of her own for quite some time now. Little did she know this is how fate will work, instead of one she found two kittens who needed a home. She decided to take them back with her. They finally had a home. Nicole named them Elli and Rossie.

Nicole took her cats to the vet as they were in dire need of medical care. They were both severally malnourished and had an infection. The vet took care of them and instructed Nicole on things she needs to do to care for them further. He mentioned that the kittens would not have survived another week if she had not brought them in. Nicole was happy she found her little furry family.

Ever since the day Nicole found those kittens at the farm, her sole purpose has been to nurse them back to health. She religiously took care of them, fed them, bathe them. Slowly the kittens got back to a healthy state. Now that their fur was growing back nicely, Nicole noticed they both had the same black and white fur which resembled a tuxedo. 

After regaining their health back, the kittens were slowly making themselves at home. Elli was more playful than Rosie. Sometimes Nicole would wonder that Elli acts more like a dog than a cat. She would even play fetch with Nicole, which she had never seen with a cat before. 

Nicole had found her perfect little family. Elli and Rosie would occupy most of her days. They loved to chase Nicole around the house. She got them cute beds with their names on each. Rosie was more reserved in nature, coming in to see Nicole only when she needed to be petted and fed. Elli, on the other hand, was more playful. She adored them both like she would love her babies.

It has been a few months since Nicole found Elli and Rosie at the farm, they were both much healthier and happy now at their home. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, Nicole had decided to have a relaxing weekend. She was busy painting a portrait of Elli when she noticed a white spot near her neck. 

At first, Nicole thought it might be lint. She tried to take it off and realized it is Elli’s fur which has turned white. Nicole was confused. She was aware when cats grow old their fur turn grey, but Elli was barely a year old. She brushed this thought aside, Elli was black and white, maybe she didn’t notice this spot before. It was barely anything.

Over the next couple of days, Nicole noticed a few more white spots develop on Elli’s fur. They showed on her face first, then some more around her neck. A few strands on her tail had turned white too. She had started to worry now, something was going on. 

It was a breezy afternoon, the sky was bright baby blue. Nicole was on her way to see the vet. She was cradling the basket in which Elli was asleep. Elli’s fur changing color had freaked her out. She felt guilty for brushing it aside initially, for not thinking too much about it. But after seeing more of her fur change color she had decided it was time to see get some answers.

Nicole was seated in the waiting area, her anxiety getting worse by the minute. The waiting area was strangely empty, supposedly people don’t come knocking at the vet’s door first thing in the morning. After what felt like hours, Elli was called in for the exam. Nicole asked if she could tag along, the vet smiled reading distress on her face and said, “I wouldn’t have it any other way”

The exam initiated by taking a brief history of Elli to figure out any history of illnesses or disease or any symptoms Nicole might have noticed. Nicole told him about spotting the white mark on her neck but apart from that, not much was different about Elli. She was still active and very playful. The vet conducted several tests to get an idea about what may cause premature aging in cats.

To Nicole’s disappointment, the vet could not come up with an explanation. He told her he is not quitting, and he would like her to give him some time to figure things out for Elli. Till then Nicole can take Elli home because as per the physical exam, nothing is wrong with Elli. She was perfectly healthy.

Even though the vet said Elli is otherwise healthy, Nicole did not feel much better. She was still concerned about the changing color of her fur. She was afraid this might be something big which the vet missed out on. But he had asked for a little time, and Nicole had given him that. She took Elli home and waited for his call.

Elli’s fur kept changing color, Nicole could spot new white hair on her every day. Her body still mostly had black hair but lots of white hair too. Elli’s face already had a white mouth, but now it was almost entirely white. Her tail was mostly white with a little black in it. Nicole, however, did not have any idea still as to what may be causing it.

Elli was changing colors so fast and so frequently that every morning before leaving for work Nicole would try to picture Elli in her mind, she was afraid when she comes home she might not be greeted by the same cat she saw in the morning. Not having any explanation for this was driving her insane.

In the next couple of weeks, Elli transformed into a completely white cat, with bits of black fur on her body. Nicole could not believe this had happened right in front of her eyes. Elli went from a black cat with white markings to an almost completely white cat with black markings. She had changed so much that she looked like a different cat now.

It was a Monday morning when Nicole received the phone call she was waiting for all this while. It was the vet, he claimed he had the answers Nicole was looking for and she should come down to his clinic with Elli. This news was like music to Nicole’s ears, she will finally find out what is happening with her beloved cat. 

Nicole took Elli to the clinic as fast as humanly possible. The vet was waiting for them and immediately took them inside the exam room. Nicole’s heart was pounding in her chest. The vet sat across them in his chair and began talking. Turns out Elli was not aging, she had a condition called Vitiligo.

Vitiligo is a skin condition that results in losing skin color in patches. Nicole was aware of this condition in humans but she didn’t know it could happen to animals too. This condition is very rare in humans affecting about 1-2% of the world’s population. But when it comes to animals it is even more rare. 

Vitiligo is linked with other health issues too like hair loss and other medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism. Nicole was concerned if there are other symptoms of any medical issues with Elli. But the vet assured her that Elli is a healthy cat and apart from her fur changing colors no other symptoms are affecting her.

Nicole knew that Elli and Rosie were from the same litter. They both shared the same tuxedo fur and she found them together abandoned at the farm. So when she came to know this disease is hereditary, she wondered why Rosie has not shown any symptoms yet. 

She decided to ask the vet if it might affect Rosie too. He said it is not the case because even though they are born from the same litter it is not necessary that her siblings will develop the same condition. Plus if Rosie had this condition, chances are her fur would have started changing by now.

The vet assured her that even with this condition, Elli can go on to live a normal healthy life just like any other cat. This condition only gives her a unique look, she is still the same kitty that Nicole picked up all those months ago from the barn. This disease is not life-threatening at all.

Nicole was relieved to hear that Elli is healthy and apart from her looks nothing has changed. She thought even the change of fur is adorable and makes her look like a snowy owl. She was still Elli, warm, cuddly and playful. Nicole thanked the vet for committing to Elli’s case and providing her with answers that nobody else could. 

Elli’s transformation is incredible. Nicole is still not used to the massive difference Elli shows in her looks. Whenever Nicole would look at pictures from when she found Elli, they make it look like Nicole got a different cat altogether. The best part is that Elli did not have to go through any medical treatment as Nicole was worried about when she didn’t know what is happening to her.

Elli turned three in March of 2019. She is the happiest little kitty who loves to play and chase Nicole around the house. Rosie did not develop vitiligo in all these years, so Elli was the only kitten of her litter with this rare condition. Nicole couldn’t be happier with the progress her fur babies have shown over these couple of years. 

Nicole created a social media page for Elli and documented her journey on it for everyone to see. She uploaded her photos from when she was a little black and white kitten till now when she is mostly white with little black patches on her fur. People were certain to admire the uniqueness of Elli’s condition. 

Elli’s social media page did more than show off her white coat and cute pictures. It acted as a means to spread awareness about vitiligo. Nicole came to know that most of the people had never seen vitiligo in a cat before. People came forward to thank Nicole for creating awareness about this condition.

Elli’s story gave hope to so many people who were living with vitiligo. Although the condition is rare, there is still a significant amount of people who are affected by it. We live in a society where people are too much into there looks, so living with vitiligo can be challenging. It is a condition that may consume someone’s life.

Elli has stopped changing color ever since she turned three this march. Nicole, however, still posts about her on social media. Elli has created a platform for people to discuss and talk openly with each other. She is a little social media star who promotes self-love. She continues to spread positivity and awareness among people from across the world.

Nicole’s story on how she adopted Elli and Rosie and how she cared for them inspired people all around the world, especially people who do not wish to adopt. They could see how adopting helped save both of the kitten’s lives and how they too can help save a life and provide a home for a stray.

Having Vitiligo didn’t mean animals are in pain of any sort, Nicole made sure to confirm the same from the vet. This condition is very rare in humans and even more rare with animals. So vets make sure to check if there are any underlying reasons for fur changing color, if not, then there is no reason to panic if your pet develops this condition. 

There are many reasons for vitiligo, one of which is stress. This might be the case with Elli, as she was abandoned on a farm with Rosie and they were in really poor health conditions. Other reasons can be the immune system of a body, as it can sometimes attack the cells which produce the color of the fur thinking its a foreign body.

Even though vitiligo is said to be hereditary, a litter can have one baby with vitiligo even if parents don’t have it. In humans, the condition runs in the family. Almost 30% of the people who are living with vitiligo have a family member who has the same condition. However, this may not always be the reason behind catching it.

Vitiligo, even though its a rare condition with animals, there are several cases of vitiligo that appear in cats, dogs, even horses. There is currently no treatment for vitiligo for animals. But there is no need for it anyway because it doesn’t affect any animal’s quality of life. It just makes them special and unique in appearance.

Vitiligo is common in all animals but when it comes to dogs there are a few breeds that are more at risk to develop this condition than others. German Shepherds, Dachsunds, Golden Retrievers are some of the many that are at greater risk of catching this disease. All types of cats are prone to vitiligo but the condition is still relatively unknown among cats.

Vitiligo affects both male and female species in animals. It is more noticeable in animals with darker fur. It usually starts at their paws, face or legs but can spread over time just like in Elli’s case. But animals don’t care about how they look and maybe seeing this refreshing change in Elli is what people were inspired by. 

Unlike animals, humans tend to care about how they look. So there are creams that can be purchased and applied to even out the skin tone. Living in a society that is obsessed with looks and materialistic things, it can be quite a challenge to live with vitiligo. People are insecure about how they look and hide behind makeup.

The famous artist, Michael Jackson, spoke about having Vitiligo. This disease was so unheard of at that time that some people did not believe him and claimed he is just bleaching his skin to become white. But the singer’s autopsy confirmed that he had vitiligo. It was one of the things that made him turn to plastic surgeries.

When Michael Jackson spoke about his condition that was the first time this disease was spoken about on a large scale. It raised a lot of awareness in the community. Fans argued with skeptics who claimed he is bleaching his skin that he has patches of white skin which is the pattern of vitiligo not bleaching.

One of the consequences of having vitiligo is that it can affect one’s mental health and self-esteem. Ignorant people may mistreat those who are living with this condition. People can get bullied and treated as untouchables. This kind of experience can cause serious distress. There are some treatments that people can take to even out their skin tone but there is no way to stop it from spreading or reoccurring.

Self-love is a journey that doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that happens a little every day over a continuous period.  There have been several body positivity movements to support people with vitiligo and spread awareness among people. Spreading awareness can help others cope with the emotional toll this condition brings.

The growth in the positivity towards vitiligo has reached the fashion runways too. In 2018, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show debuted their first model with vitiligo to ever walk their runway. The model was seen getting emotional as she walked side by side with the rest of the models for the first time at any Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

It is great to see the growth in acceptance this world has experienced over the past couple of years. People have evolved to be at peace with the things they used to look at as imperfections. People have started to be more open and talk about things on different platforms to spread the message of embracing our flaws and be comfortable in our skin.

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