This Couple Was Shocked When Their Kitten’s Fur Magically Changed Color

When Kathryn van Beek spotted a kitten on the street, she knew it was up to her to rescue the poor creature. Little did she know that the kitten, Bruce, was soon going to change.

Watching him grow, Kathryn was stunned to witness Bruce’s fur magically change from gray to patchy and black. Stay tuned because there is more to this kitten than meets the eye!

Kathryn Van Beek Spotted A Kitten In The Rain

It was November 3, 2015, in Auckland, New Zealand, when Kathryn van Beek spotted a tiny kitten in distress. Not seeing the tiny creatures mother around, Kathryn knew she had to do something.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

So, rescuing the kitten, she scooped the small creature up and brought him back home with her.

She Named The Kitten Bruce

Kathryn named the kitten Bruce. Now, Bruce was one lucky kitten who almost had to use one of his nine lives to get out of the sticky situation he was in before being rescued.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

It was a nasty day in Auckland, raining so hard that it was a miracle Kathryn spotted the gray cat, as he was drenched and looked like a rat.

He Was In Bad Shape

Thankfully, Kathryn realized that the creature was not a rodent of some kind but a newborn kitten who was in desperate need of some help. During an interview with Love Meow, Kathryn spoke of the first time she saw Bruce.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

She said, “He wasn’t meowing when I found him. But he was crawling slowly along on his tummy.”

The Kitten Was Very Young

Speaking to News Now, Kathryn explained her first interaction with the kitten, saying, “[It was] as though he was trying to find his mother, poor little mite.”

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

She continued to discuss how tiny the kitten was and how young. Kathryn said, “His eyes were still closed, and he still had his umbilical cord attached.”

Kathryn Knew He Needed Help

After looking around for a little while, it was clear to Kathryn that no one knew where the kitten came from or how he came to be freezing, drenched in the pouring rain. There was one thing she did know, though.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

There was no way Kathryn was going to leave the little baby all by itself.

Bruce Became Part Of The Family

So, Kathryn did what any animal lover would do. She took the kitten home and soon adopted him and made him part of the family.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

Soon, the kitten even had a new name — Bruce, after Bruce Wayne, the orphaned superhero better known as the Dark Knight of Gotham City, Batman.

Time To Nurse Him Back To Health

Now came the hard part for Kathryn. After she brought Bruce home and dried him off, there was one very hard thing left to do. She had to somehow nurse the kitten back to health.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

But she and her husband rose up to the challenge. They were set on getting Bruce healthy again.

24-Hour Bruce Watch

The first few months were tough, with both Kathryn and her husband on 24-hour Bruce duty making sure he was warm, fed, and not in any pain. Slowly but surely, the once orphaned kitten made a full recovery, thanks to the hand-feeding done by his new family.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

He even found his voice, something he wasn’t shy about using when he wanted a little something extra in his stomach!

People Began To Question If Bruce Would Make It

Even so, the little kitten was not out of the woods for a long time. Like Batman before him, Bruce had many brushes with more than one near-death experience. At the time, Kathryn was very concerned about whether or not the poor thing would survive.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

Even her colleagues at Auckland Council began questioning Bruce’s well-being.

Kathryn Started A Facebook Page

Kathryn even discussed her job during an interview with NZ Herald. Apparently, everyone who knew about Bruce wanted front-row seats to his recovery.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

During the interview, she said, “I was working for Auckland Council at the time… They were really interested, so I started a Facebook page to keep everyone updated.”

Bruce Became Internet Famous

Little did Kathryn know that Bruce’s Facebook page was about to get very popular. During an interview with NZ Herald, she discussed the circumstances and the social media page, saying, “At first it was a real life-and-death battle, and then I thought interest might fade.”

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

Well, people’s interest definitely did not fade!

He Went From Light Gray To Black

While Bruce was being an online star, unbeknownst to him, something else was happening to the kitten. His once light gray fur coat was getting patchy and turning darker. At first, the changing color and patches were only happening on his face and paws.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

But, pretty soon, Bruce went from a little orphan kitty to an entirely black Dark Knight kitten.

It Was Like Magic Fur

Kathryn had no idea what to think of Bruce’s little fur magic act. She had never seen anything like it before in any animal. Not only that, but she had never heard of anything like it, either.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

One thing was certain, though. With Bruce’s magical fur, his online fanbase skyrocketed. He was more popular than ever.

Bruce’s Online Presence Grew

What started as solely a Facebook presence turned into Bruce having an Instagram page, Pinterest, YouTube channel, and even a Twitter. People could not get enough of the color-changing Bruce.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

And Kathryn said exactly that during an interview. While speaking to the NZ Herald, she said, “He started turning black so that interested people.”

Kathryn Wrote A Children’s Book

Amazingly, even with all of his social media platforms, Kathryn thought they could set the bar a little higher. Bruce was totally famous, after all. The first thing she thought of — dip their toes into the literary world!

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

Kathryn decided what better to share Bruce’s magic with the world than write a children’s book.

Bruce Finds A Home

Written and illustrated by Kathryn, the children’s book is titled Bruce Finds a Home. It was published in 2018 and received stellar reviews upon its release.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

The story revolves solely around Bruce and how he started as a one-day-old kitten lost in the rain, to being rescued, to becoming a magic fur-changing cat!

It’s Called Fever Coat

Speaking of the magically changing fur. The phenomenon Bruce faced was something called fever coat. Nothing to be worried about; fever coat happens when a pregnant mommy faces some sort of disturbance or upheaval in their life.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

This could be some sort of stress, medication given to them without knowledge of the pregnancy, or even an infection.

Bruce’s Fur Pigmant Was Temporarily Gone

Whatever the case was for Bruce’s mom, he was born with fever coat. This means the pigment in his fur was temporarily gone, and his little body was not sure what color it was, taking on a gray hue.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

Again, this is a temporary pigment loss, which is why Bruce began magically changing from gray to black. When it comes to fever coat, it can take up to eight months for the affected animals’ pigment to right itself.

Kathryn Wrote A Second Book!

With Bruce’s magic fur, he became even more of a celebrity. Kathryn even decided to write a second book about her little cat’s adventures when they moved to Dunedin in the South Island, New Zealand.

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

The second children’s book is titled Bruce Goes Outside and is all about his life in his new town.

She Loves Giving Her Fans A Fun Read

Writing the books has been amazing for Kathryn. During an interview with News Now, she spoke of writing and illustrating the books and how the books help her young fans, saying, “It’s a bit of fun really, for me.”

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

“It’s just an interesting hobby. I think he brings his fans a bit of light relief.”

They Want To Help Other Kittens In Need

On Bruce’s personal website, Kathryn wrote about their mission to help other kittens who need help and rescuing. She wrote, “I’d like to help other little kitties and the people who look after them.”

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Bruce the cat/Facebook
Bruce the cat/Facebook

“With [the public’s] help, I’ve raised funds for the SPCA, and now I’m working with the Animal Rescue Network.”

Meet Rosie, The Cute And Confused Mama

Rosie, a golden retriever mix, was disowned by her previous owners. She was left in a shelter visibly pregnant and close to birth. The shelter’s manager feared for her health and for the fact that she would give birth without proper assistance.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Although shelters have drastically lowered their euthanization policies, most are overcrowded with dogs and do not have the resources to care for a new litter. Rosie needed caring owners now more than ever.

The Rescuers Swoop In

The shelter’s manager called Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue, which helps dogs find homes in Raleigh, North Carolina. The rescuers had to work fast to get Rosie settled before childbirth.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Neuse River is an organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of golden retrievers. Volunteers foster stray or abandoned dogs until they are well enough to be adopted. Fortunately for Rosie, the organization’s members knew a couple who could care for her individual needs.

Help Is On The Way

Katie and John Black have fostered over 20 dogs since 2009, and owned three dogs of their own: Annie, Leroy, and Winchester. The volunteer knew that John and Katie had the experience necessary to foster both Rosie and her pups.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

The couple had worked with Neuse River for years and excitedly took in Rosie. They brought her home on October 28, 2017, five days after Rosie was dropped off at the shelter.

Rosie Adjusted Well

The Blacks received Rosie just five days after she was dropped off at the shelter. “This is our new foster Rosie,” the Blacks reported on their Instagram, “who is very preggers and close to delivering her puppies.”

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

The couple revealed that Rosie seemed shy and scared, but was otherwise very sweet. When the time came, Katie and John Black helped Rosie successfully give birth. They met Rosie’s four healthy pups and a surprise that captivated the internet.

Rosie Gives Birth

John and Kate helped Rosie deliver her pups. Although it had its difficulties, both mother and puppies can out fine. All the puppies were the right size and weight for her breed…or what everyone assumed was Rosie’s breed.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

The couple expected a large litter since Rosie appeared so big. Although average litters consist of five or six puppies, Rosie only gave birth to four. But that wasn’t the only surprise that hit the Blacks.

“Not Quite The Puppy Pile We Were Expecting.”

“Our foster dog and Golden mix gave birth yesterday,” Katie said. “To baby cows.” The four pups looked nothing like their mother, and all had black spots. Although no one knows what breed the father was, he clearly wasn’t a Golden retriever.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

The Blacks named the newborn pups Daisy, Clarabelle, Betsy, and Moo. The family photos not only received jokes online but also from the Blacks’ family. “My dad laughed for quite a while at the photos,” Katie told the Press Association in November 2017.

Cow Puppies’ Father Could Be…

Several dog breeds have white fur with black spots, so it’s hard to determine which breed the father was. Like Rosie, he could have been a mix. But that doesn’t stop internet users from speculating on which breed Rosie mated with.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Theories vary from a dalmatian, English setter, bluetick coonhound, and wetterhoun. However, only dalmatians have a true “spot” design. Every other fur pattern is “ticking,” which are small, isolated areas of tiny dots. So dalmatian is a likely choice.

Rosie’s Litter

Katie said that her dad loved the mismatch so much that he recommended posting it online. He joked that the pictures would go viral, and Katie agreed to add photos to Reddit. Father Black was right–the new mom took the internet by storm.

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Reddit/u/katendy
Reddit/u/katendy

In the picture, Rosie appears just as confused as the Reddit users. The image received over 90,000 upvotes and 1,600 comments asking about the new family. This attention skyrocketed when the Blacks posted on Instagram.

They Look Like Their Dad!

According to the Nest, puppies inherit certain traits depending on which genes the parents carry. Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute claims that “Dominant genes always outranks recessive ones,” which determines a dog’s appearance.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

It’s safe to say that Rosie passed on recessive genes, and the father offered dominant genes. By chance, all of her puppies took on the physical traits of the father. The explanation makes the pair no less amusing, though.

The Internet Got A Kick Out Of It

Redditors flocked over the spotted puppies and visibly astonished Golden Retriever mom. Users attempted to translate Rosie’s expression as best they could. “I believe there’s been a mixpup here,” one user quipped.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Other users claimed that she appeared like she was mentally defending her pups. According to one user, Rosie’s face said, “so what?!?! is that really such a big deal? are you sooo closed minded? really Karen?”

Kate Has To Defend Herself

Alongside the positive attention, some users were concerned that Kate and John had intentionally bred two foster rescues. Kate clarified that they had received Rosie already pregnant. “We weren’t going to abort her puppies,” she commented. “She will be spayed immediately when she can be.”

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Since John and Kate already owned three rescue dogs, they intended to adopt Rosie as soon as she and her litter recovered. They wouldn’t have to wait long, but it did take some work.

But Rosie Wasn’t Doing So Well

Although the birth was successful, Rosie suffered some ill health. After the delivery, the Blacks realized that Rosie had an infection. They took her to the vet, who administered antibiotics for several weeks.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Rosie likely suffered from a bacterial infection in the uterus called Metritis, which happens after a rough birth. The symptoms could cause Rosie to reduce milk production and not be able to care for her puppies. Fortunately, she had Kate and John.

Kate And John Help Rosie Heal

While Rosie was recovering, the Blacks helped her by bottle feeding the pups. They were truly in love with each puppy, especially when they held them in their hands. Although they knew they couldn’t keep them, John and Kate cared for the pups as if they were their own.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Fortunately, Rosie healed in time. She eventually fed her puppies herself, and returned to being a happy, healthy mama. Her puppies also grew up with few complications.

Rosie Became A Good Mama

While social media users all pondered the strange relation, Rosie didn’t seem to mind one bit. She remained protective over her pups and cuddled beside them for weeks. Moo, Betsy, Daisy, and Clarabelle all grew up healthy.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

“She is one proud mama,” explained Kate. According to Instagram, Rosie would go wherever her pups were. When Kate moved the puppies to clean sheets in a laundry basket, Rosie hopped in after them.

As It Turns Out, This Isn’t Uncommon

Pets4Homes authors reveal that puppies appearing different from their parents or littermates happens commonly among dogs, especially concerning mixed breeds. “When it comes to non-pedigree dogs…there is a lot more scope for variance, to the point that color and other manifestations of physical appearance can be quite variable within the same litter.”

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

What fascinates onlookers is that all of Rosie’s pups look like cows, and none of them even looked like dogs at first. As they grew up, they fit their form as dogs.

The Pups Are In Good Hands

Kate and John not only took great care of the puppies, but they kept the family’s biggest fans in the loop. They updated their Instagram page consistently to let everyone follow the cow puppies’ growth.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

The puppies always hung around Rosie, often sleeping on her paws. The Blacks shared that Clarabelle showed her true colors early, being the loudest of the pups. As the mini-cows grew, their personalities shone through.

The Cows Grew Bigger In A Couple Of Weeks

By early December 2017, the pups celebrated their birthday of only a couple of weeks. Even by then, they developed individual personalities. On December 6th, Kate updated Instagram on the cow puppies.

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Instagram@ourgoldenyears
Instagram@ourgoldenyears

“Daisy is a sweetheart, but a little anxious/shy/hesitant/fearful. Clarabelle is a hilarious, fearless spitfire. Moo is a snuggly baby that likes to be held, and cries when he wants attention. [Betsy is] the sweetest and most gentle puppy, I want to keep her!”

The Pups Part Ways

By the first week of January 2018, two different families adopted Betsy and Clarabelle. Although the Blacks felt sad to see them go, they ensured that each cow pup would receive the love and attention they deserved.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Daisy also got adopted, and her new family renamed her to Lily. Later, Moo gained a new home and a new name, Barkley. Moo, along with his new siblings Max, Mo, and Abby, all have their own Instagram account.

Rosie Must Say Goodbye To Her Pups

Rosie also entered a forever home. Although John and Kate will be sad to see Rosie leave, she will join a new family who won’t abandon her. Everyone knows that this will be better for her in the long run.

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Instagram/@ourgoldenyears
Instagram/@ourgoldenyears

Once Rosie was well enough, John and Kate had her spayed. She can no longer have puppies, and may not see them again. But all dogs will be sent to a loving home.