Meet the one in a million dwarf cat from Thorpe St Andrew
One-year-old cat Shelley tips the scales at just one kilo – but she is already fully grown.
She should be at least double her weight, but her stunted growth is due to a rare condition called cat dwarfism.
Shelley weighs 1.2kilos and has only put on 300 grams since she was born. She will never grow to be bigger than a four-month-old kitten.
Marie Mertl, 28, from Mary Chapman Close, Thorpe St Andrew, bought the kitten for her seven-year-old son, Finley, in June last year.
Mrs Mertl, a housewife, said: 'She is a very small, very rare cat. When we went to the vet's last week, the vet said she was one in a million and that he had never seen a cat like her before.
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'It's upsetting that she will never grow to be a big cat. She can go in the garden with us watching over her. She's healthy, but she has to eat special food from the vets.
'Shelley won't live a normal adult life and is only expected to live for seven to eight years.'
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They had taken her to the vets to be neutered, only for the vet to discover she suffers from cat dwarfism.
Mrs Mertl said that despite Shelley's problems, she still behaves like a normal cat and enjoys running up the curtains.
She said: 'My mum had a cat called Shelley who passed away and Finley wanted to keep the name.
'Shelley knows when I'm going to pick him up from school – she darts down the stairs when she hears the door.
'Finley was a little bit upset when we found out she has dwarfism and he started crying, as he is very close to her.'
Rob Walker, veterinary surgeon at Companion Care in Sprowston said: 'The normal weight for a one-year-old cat is three to four kilos and the average life expectancy of a cat is about 14 to 16 years.
'Dwarfism in cats is very rare. I have never seen it before in cats, but I have seen it in dogs. It can happen for a number of reasons, including a hormonal growth deficiency.
'It has been treated before with vitamin D, but it's had limited success.'
Do you have an unusual pet? Contact reporter Lucy Wright on 01603 772495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org