Animal suffering is a very real, sad occurrence, and Bruce is one of those animals that has suffered through many hardships. Not only was he abandoned in the streets, Bruce has gone through many bouts of illness. After being found in an alleyway, on a dark and stormy night, Bruce stunned everyone when he began changing colors!
November 3, 2015 is a day that any animal lover should remember. It was the day that Bruce was found in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. This lovable feline has made it big on the internet, thanks to the adorable photos he’s in. Bruce’s life wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, though. Bruce has certainly had plenty of rainy days, including the day he was found on the verge of death.
It had been raining hard on the day Bruce was found, and Kathryn Van Beek had to take a different route to get home. As she was walking down an alleyway, she looked down to see quite a sight. At first she wasn’t sure what she was looking at. Crawling on the concrete was a small, fuzzy creature. At first glance, the creature looked like a rat. When she looked a little closer, she realized it wasn’t a rat, but she still couldn’t quite make out what it was. Whatever it was, it was in very rough shape.
No matter what it was, Kathryn was concerned about its wellbeing. “He wasn’t meowing when I found him,” Van Beek said. “But he was crawling slowly along on his tummy. “[It was] as though he was trying to find his mother, poor little mite,” she recalled. “His eyes were still closed, and he still had his umbilical cord attached.” Since there was no mother to be found, Kathryn knew if she left him there alone, he was sure to die. It was truly a sad situation.
Kathryn, like many people, is an animal lover at heart. Not thinking twice about it, she rushed the tiny creature to her house in order to get it out of the rain. Since she had a small, dying kitten in her care, she knew she had to save it. But first, the kitten needed a name. Kathryn named it Bruce Wayne because they both were orphans at a young age. Naming an animal is easy, now making sure they don’t die, is the hard part.
It was unclear whether or not Bruce would survive those first few days of life. He didn’t make any kind of noise and seemed like he was incredibly sick. Bruce was put under 24-hour surveillance because he was entirely too sick to be left alone. Kathryn said that he was so bad off that even the slightest breeze could’ve ended his tiny life. After three months, Bruce gave Kathryn a small, yet game-changing, surprise.
Now that Bruce had enough energy to make a little noise, he began to meow when he was hungry! Thanks to his newfound voice, Kathryn knew that Bruce was a cat. A cat that always seemed to be hungry. Kathryn said that Bruce always wanted to eat, but that was fine with her! If he was eating, he wasn’t dead, which was what mattered. Even though he had been eating, Bruce was still very fragile. His little body was so weak, he almost died a few times, but Bruce had a strong will to live. He was a survivor.
The whole time Kathryn was nursing Bruce back to good health, she was updating her co-workers on his condition. Over time, Kathryn decided to put Bruce’s story on the internet. “I was working for Auckland Council at the time,” Van Beek said. “They were really interested, so I started a Facebook page to keep everyone updated.” Kathryn was only expecting a few people from her work to like the page, but then Bruce became internet famous!
It only took a few months for the “Bruce the Cat” Facebook Page to rapidly gain followers. Bruce was famous! “At first it was a real life-and-death battle, and then I thought interest might fade,” Kathryn said of Bruce’s popularity. People didn’t lose interest, though. They were too emotionally invested in the well being of this tiny cat. He became a symbol of hope to his followers. Soon after becoming famous, something began happening to Bruce. Something strange.
As Bruce’s health changed, so did his appearance. His fur, which was usually gray, began to change colors. His patches of fur began to darken. After a little time, Bruce began to change into a completely black cat! Of course, the sudden change in appearance made the internet go crazy! No one had ever heard of a cat that could change colors. Because no one knew how this could happen, Bruce’s fame skyrocketed. Unfortunately, even though Bruce was getting healthy, he wasn’t out of the woods of danger, yet.
It seemed that Bruce’s chameleon fur was a condition contracted immediately after birth, called fever coat. If the mother goes through “upheaval” during pregnancy, which can be caused by infection or stress, fever coat is passed on to the newborn kittens. The illness is the reason the kitten’s fur was gray. The body just doesn’t seem to know that color the cat’s coat will be for months. The illness was harmless to Bruce, but it sure did gain him quite a bit of online popularity.
Kathryn didn’t expect Bruce to become so popular with the internet community. “He started turning black, so that interested people,” she said. Kathryn sure did make the best out of her pet’s newfound fame. What was only a single Facebook page, quickly turned into having a page on every social media outlet imaginable. Kathryn made sure to update the Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts with adorable pictures of Bruce’s adorable transformation. But social media wasn’t the only place for his cuteness.
Since Kathryn was a writer and an illustrator of children’s books, she was inspired to turn Bruce’s story into her own piece of literary art. Kathryn got a Kickstarter campaign up and running, and began to bring the story of the chameleon cat to life. After she was approached by Mary Egan Publishing, her dream became a reality. Keep your eyes out for its release! Even though the book hasn’t been officially released, interest and pre-orders have changed Kathryn and Bruce’s lives.
The book sales provided enough money for Kathryn’s family and Bruce, of course, to move from Auckland to Dunedin. The move has even inspired Kathryn to write a sequel to her book, as well! The book would be be about Bruce’s first move to the big city! “It’s a bit of fun really, for me,” Van Beek said of the kids’ books. “It’s just an interesting hobby. I think he brings his fans a bit of light relief.”
Bruce also decided to put his fame to a good use! With Kathryn by his side, Bruce wanted to help out other furry friends that are less fortunate than him. “I’d like to help other little kitties and the people who look after them,” Bruce’s website says. “With [the public’s] help, I’ve raised funds for the SPCA, and now I’m working with the Animal Rescue Network.” It just goes to show that Bruce Wayne is the perfect name for this superhero cat. Check out the next slide to see what this little chameleon looks like now!
It took Bruce several months to find his true self, but he finally was able to become who he was always meant to be. Bruce was able to outgrow his fever coat, and now he has gorgeous green eyes to match that sleek black fur. Bruce went from facing an almost absolutely certain death to finding a loving family to being a chameleon. But thanks to Kathryn, he was able to overcome every obstacle that was put in his way!