A cat with unusual facial markings has intrigued the internet

After the news of a kitten who looks like Zorro, we now have Ashfur. Videos of Ashfur, a cat with an odd appearance are proving popular on TikTok.

Even though Ashfur lives a similar lifestyle to other kitties, his white facial markings are rather distinctive and he is frequently compared to the Phantom of the Opera because of it.

Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera served as inspiration for the well-known 1986 musical adaptation.

In contrast to the enigmatic character with a malformed face who haunts the opera’s cellar in the original tale, the protagonist in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage adaptation is a man in a mask.

Ashfur, due to his unusual facial markings has been nicknamed ‘Phantom of the Opurra’, in reference to the famous musical as reported by Newsweek.

The nickname originated from the owner using the clever pun as the name of the distinctive-looking cat’s TikTok account.

The emergence of the phantom cat

Ashfur’s owner introduced the unique puss to a large audience via the social media platform and due to Ashfur’s peculiar appearance, the clip featuring him became a hit and went viral.

Indeed, Ashfur’s face resembles a mask divided into two parts, with one half being white and the other tortoiseshell-like.

The Californian cat, who is one year old, remains unbothered by his appearance and leads a content existence with his owner Erin and her other cats.

The origin of his interesting appearance

Fans were surprised to learn that Ashfur did not always look like this, in fact, his current appearance is the result of a skin condition. Erin explained to Newsweek:

“He looked completely different when we got him. He had a fever coat and then developed vitiligo.”

The feline’s old pictures illustrate this, as the kitten’s coat appears typical in those photos, with not an inch of white covering his fur before his illness.

Vitiligo is defined by the National Institute of Health as a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that causes patches of skin to lose pigment or color. This happens when melanocytes – skin cells that make pigment – are attacked and destroyed, causing the skin to turn a milky-white color.

Just like humans, animals can have it too and the depigmentation of the skin makes their hair turn white sometimes.

@phantomoftheopurra

Reply to @katiechismo From fever coat to Vitiligo. He went pure black before his face changed. #ashfur #catsoftiktok

♬ Just a Cloud Away – Pharrell Williams

The good news is that the ensuing depigmentation is without consequence on the health or the well-being of the patient. Ashfur, for example, does not experience any discomfort, this skin condition changes nothing for him.

Besides, his particularity has made him very popular and his TikTok viewers can’t stop giving him compliments.

One user who goes by the handle veronicalugo243 employed numerous heart emojis to share her admiration, commenting: “😳😳😳 PURA BELLEZA 💗❤️”

Things are all good in Ashfur’s world.

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