If Batman had a cat, it would probably look something like this.
The household pet, named Yoda, was born with an extra set of ears. Valerie and Ted Rock took him in two years ago after visiting a bar near their home in Chicago, where he was being passed round by curious drinkers.
He was one of a large litter and the owners were looking for a home for him.
The couple immediately fell for the freaky feline and asked the owner if they could adopt him. He agreed and the couple named the cat Yoda, after the pointy-eared Jedi knight in Star Wars.
Valerie, 65, said:
We were at a pub on the south side of Chicago with a group of friends when we noticed a small cage sitting on the bar and people passing around a kitten. He had been part of a large litter and the owners were looking to find a home for him. Ted and I had just lost a cat that was our pet for over 20 years, and we were sure we were done with cats.
When he was passed around he reached for Ted, crawled up into the crook of his neck and fell asleep – Ted was a goner. It was a done deal when the kitten made himself at home on Ted’s shoulder. We decided to name him Yoda. I understand the Star Wars character was based on George Lucas’ cat.’
After adopting the eight-week-old kitten into their Illinois home, Valerie decided to have Yoda checked out with the local vet.
‘The vet had never seen anything like it before,’ explains Valerie. ‘He immediately went to the internet and found the four-eared cat in Germany.
‘We have spoken with other vets in our acquaintance, and they likewise had never encountered anything like this. We began to realise that we had something very special. As a result, he has been an indoor cat and has a chip installed in case he gets lost. Yoda is so different that we were concerned that he might be catnapped.’
Yet despite his unusual looks, Valerie is sure Yoda’s behaviour – and hearing – are quite normal.
‘Yoda’s hearing is normal as far as we know,’ says Valerie. ‘People do a double take when they see him or his picture. It is great fun showing him off.
‘We have actually had people ask if we had his ears cut to look this way. But he is a perfectly normal affectionate, curious cat and is a joy to have around. He is not afraid of anything and is very sociable unlike some of the other cats I have owned.
‘But he does have an interesting obsession with bread – I can’t leave bread on the counter for a moment.
‘And when he purrs, it is not audible. The only way I know that he is purring is to put my finger on his throat to feel the vibration.
‘He also is not very vocal. He meows, but only softly, and not very often which is a good thing.’