Veterinarian Reviewed on May 30, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
There is a very special cat living in Chongqing, China. He is special because he has wings!
Even though the cat was born quite normal and healthy for a kitten to be, after his first birthday he started to develop the wing shaped appendages on either side of his back.
There have since been quite a few speculations about the cat’s wings. Some people have said that they are the resemblance of a Siamese twin once growing inside the cat’s body; whilst still others have speculated that they are a weird mutation of some kind. Even more people seem to believe that the wings are actually a result of the cat’s mother ingesting some kind of chemical whilst she was pregnant with the cat.
Apparently, this winged cat does not seem to be bothered by his wings at all. In fact, claims his owner, he is loving all the attention that he is getting because of them.
However, he is not the only winged cat in China! There have been other reported cases of winged cats in China. In August 2008, tomcats that were living in the Sichuan province of China were also reported as having wings by the U.K. Telegraph.
It seems that during a period of exceptionally hot weather in Sichuan, a large province in the south of China where a devastating earthquake struck that spring, the tomcats living there started to sprout wings.
“At first they were just two bumps, but they started to grow quickly, and after a month there were two wings,” said Granny Feng of Xianyang City, an owner of one of the winged cats. Her cat’s wings measure approximately 4 inches in length.
She further went on to explain that due to the excessive heat in the province the female cats were in heat longer and she believes that her cat’s wings developed as a result of stress that he suffered after he was ‘sexually harassed’ by female cats who wanted to mate with him.
“Many female cats in heat came to harass him, and then the wings started to grow,” Granny Feng explained to the local Huashang News.
Even though the appendages look like they are quite fluffy, they are, in fact, made of bone. Scientists are not quite sure what to believe either. They can’t seem to decide whether the cats’ wings are as a result of poor grooming habits, a genetic defect or if they were caused by a hereditary skin condition.
What they do agree on, however, is that the wings do not inhibit the cats quality of life or their safety.
There has been roughly 138 reported sightings of cats that have wings and 28 documented cases with physical evidence, including photographs and, more recently, a video.
One of the earliest reports of a cat with wings is that by Henry David Thoreau, an American author: “A few years before I lived in the woods there was what was called a ‘winged cat’ in one of the farm-houses in Lincoln nearest the pond, Mr. Gillian Baker’s. When I called to see her in June, 1842, she was gone a-hunting in the woods, as was her wont … but her mistress told me that she came into the neighborhood a little more than a year before, in April, and was finally taken into their house; that she was of a dark brownish-grey color, with a white spot on her throat, and white feet, and had a large bushy tail like a fox; that in the winter the fur grew thick and flattened out along her sides, forming strips ten or twelve inches long by two and a half wide, and under her chin like a muff, the upper side loose, the under matted like felt, and in the spring these appendages dropped off. They gave me a pair of her ‘wings,’ which I keep still. There is no appearance of a membrane about them. Some thought it was part flying squirrel or some other wild animal, which is not impossible, for, according to naturalists, prolific hybrids have been produced by the union of the marten and the domestic cat. This would have been the right kind of cat for me to keep, if I had kept any; for why should not a poet’s cat be winged as well as his horse?”
Photo Credit: Eamonn.McAleer
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan