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Bruce, Mistaken for a Mouse, Grew Up to Be a Black Cat

He was discovered, tiny and gray, abandoned in a drain, then underwent a remarkable transformation.

Phillip Mlynar  |  Dec 12th 2016


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The story of Bruce is less like a traditional Monday Miracle tale and more akin to a wonderful spin-off called a Monday Magician. You see, Bruce is a cat who spent the first year of his life gradually changing color from gray to black. His eyes even switched from blue to green as he underwent this mystical process.

How did this transformation happen?

It all begins Nov. 3, 2015, in Auckland, New Zealand. On that day, the woman who was to soon become Bruce’s mom spotted what she assumed was a small gray mouse crawling down the drain path in a soaking wet state after a major downpour. But as she went to pick up the distressed creature, she discovered that it was a kitten.

A newborn kitten.

A newborn kitten who was so fresh to this world that he still had his eyes closed and his umbilical cord attached.

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After surveying the local scene and making sure the kitten hadn’t wandered off from any of the neighbors’ houses or yards, she took the tiny scamp home and decided to adopt him. In the process he was named Bruce, after Batman’s Bruce Wayne, a fellow orphan.

What followed was a spell of bottle-feeding and many visits to the local emergency veterinary hospital. Because Bruce was so small and weak, it was touch and go whether he’d survive.

Additionally, the family’s current resident cat, Jager, did not seem particularly smitten with Bruce during their early days together. (They would later turn into solid friends as Jager stepped up and schooled Bruce in the art of classic cat moves like licking yourself and how to finagle treats from humans.)

As Bruce overcame his dramatic start to life and turned into a normal healthy cat, his mom began to speculate about what type of feline he might be. Some signs pointed to him being of Siamese heritage. Others suggested a British Shorthair.

Then something very strange started to happen: Bruce began to develop dark points on his face and paws. Slowly, these dark points began to take over his body as his fur switched from a fluffy gray to a sterling black coat. Adding to Bruce’s alteration, his eyes also went from blue to green.

Why did Bruce’s coat change color?

It turns out he was experiencing a little something known as fever coat. This occurs when a kitten is born without pigment in its fur, most likely because of a mother who is sick or severely stressed during her pregnancy.

More than a year since Bruce’s introduction to the world, his coat-changing trick has turned him into a social media star, with fans following his daily adventures down under through his Facebook and Instagram outlets. Although in between his schedule of “sleeping, eating, keeping warm and being a rascal,” it doesn’t seem Bruce has time for any more color shifting shenanigans.