Re-homed cat was turned away from shelter for not being ‘pretty’
Kitten with a facial condition that was at risk of being put down because it’s not ‘pretty enough’ is now a social media star after being rescued from the streets by a kind-hearted woman
- Lori Farris, 50, from Florida, USA, found Willow the cat wandering the streets
- Vet advised the kitten could be turned away from a shelter for not being ‘pretty’
- She was taken in by Lori and her dog Ella and turned into an Instagram star
A woman who saved a homeless kitten suffering from a condition ‘similar to Down Syndrome’ has revealed how the feisty feline has found fame as an Instagram star.
Lori Farris, 50, a special needs teacher from Florida, came across Willow, now two, wandering the streets with a bloody nose and a flea infestation when she was just five weeks old.
After taking her to a vet to get cleaned up, she was warned that an animal shelter may put her down for not being ‘pretty enough’.
The cat has similar physical characteristics to humans with Down Syndrome, including low muscle tone in the face and a flat nasal bridge.
However, as the number of chromosomes in cats and humans are different, it is technically impossible for cats to have Down Syndrome.
Lori Farris, 50, a special needs teacher from Florida, came across Willow, now two, seen now, wandering the streets with a bloody nose and a flea infestation when she was just five weeks old
Lori decided to take in Willow, who was named after the street she was found on, and she is now living happily alongside canine best friend Ella the boxer dog
Down syndrome is a congenital disorder in humans.
It arises from a chromosomal defect.
In humans, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, and people with Down syndrome have three copies – either complete or partial – of chromosome 21.
They tend to have certain physical characteristics like low muscle tone, short stature and a flat nasal bridge, and will also exhibit some degree of learning difficulty.
Cats have only 19 pairs of chromosomes, meaning that it is technically impossible for Down syndrome cats to exist.
However they can present with similar symptoms that can be caused by genetic disorders.
Lori decided to take in Willow, who was named after the street she was found on, and she is now living happily alongside canine best friend Ella the boxer dog – and boasts 130,000 followers online.
Lori said: ‘One day when I left a student’s house there was a tiny, dirty kitten on the doorstep and she followed me to my car.
‘I took her home and cleaned her because she had fleas and a bloody nose.
‘When I took it to my vet a few days later and learned that it was a five week old little girl.
‘The poor thing had eye infections, fleas and intestinal parasites but he vet thought she seemed healthy other than her face and mouth – she said it was like feline Down Syndrome.
‘The vet said that the shelter would surely euthanize her since she wasn’t ‘pretty’ so I decided to keep her.’
Lori added: ‘Ella and Willow got on from the day they met.
‘When I first brought Willow to the house, Ella was so interested by her and eventually built up the courage to come see her.
After taking her to a vet to get cleaned up, she was warned that an animal shelter may put her down for not being ‘pretty enough’ – she is seen as a kitten
Willow, now two, boasts 130,000 followers online and keeps fans entertained with her adorable pictures
‘Willow gave her a bit of a swipe and a playful bite, and they have been inseparable ever since.
‘They eat together, play together and even sleep together.’
The quirky cat boasts 136,000 followers on her Instagram page which largely consists of Willow sporting various different hats, often made of flowers.
The animal was taken home and now lives happily with Lori and her boxer dog Ella (seen) and the two are best friends
When special needs teacher Lori found the animal at five weeks old she suffered eye infections, fleas and intestinal parasites
Willow is now best friends with boxer dog Ella and the pair often sport matching outfits
Lori said: ‘Willow loves wearing her different flower hats and her Instagram has had a great response.
‘I think people like her because she’s a symbol of love, kindness and being beautiful even though looking different.
‘I’m OK with people saying that she’s weird looking because she is but I don’t like when people call her ugly, retarded or gross.
‘She’s a wonderful little cat in every way and I’m so glad she’s in my life.’
The feline boasts 136,000 followers on her Instagram page, Willow the Beautiful Cat
Lori says Willow ‘loves’ wearing her various hats and outfits on Instagram
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