Each cat is unique in his or her own special way, but some cats are more unique than others. One such exceptional kitty is Yoda, born with an odd chromosomal anomaly that caused him to develop four ears instead of the standard two.
Special-needs cats often face an uphill battle in finding forever homes, simply because they're different.To many, however, Yoda's additional ears made him all the more adorable.In fact, Yoda first rose to fame as an early feline internet star all the way back in 2009.
Yoda began life as a feral kitten born in a Chicago pub.Valerie and Ted Rock adopted him in 2006 and named him after the legendary Star Wars Jedi master.(Hollywood legend has it that the character of Yoda was originally named for George Lucas's real-life cat—a noteworthy coincidence that is!) Doctors believe that "Yoda's extra ears – which are not thought to help him hear – are not attached to the base of his skull, with one placed slightly behind the other, and are likely the result of a genetic mutation.
"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," said Valerie Rock. "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." No cat lover is ever truly done with cats, however—and Yoda quickly won the Rocks' hearts.
"When he was passed around he reached for Ted, crawled up into the crook of his neck and fell asleep – Ted was a goner," says Valerie.
"It was a done deal when the kitten made himself at home on Ted's shoulder."
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