It’s not uncommon to see a stray cat slinking down a city street, basking in the sun or streaking by you in a flash. And while you might get temporarily spooked by a quick-moving feline, you wouldn’t normally be surprised by its presence.
However, the people of Varna, Bulgaria, couldn’t keep their eyes off one very special stray in the beachside city in 2014. Indeed, everyone from locals to tourists to professional photographers stopped and stared at the cat for one reason in particular: the animal was emerald green in color.
But one snapper decided to delve deeper into the story. And after arriving in Varna to find the stray – about whom he had learned through Facebook – Petko Dimitrov was able to figure out just why she had taken on such a one-of-a-kind shade.
Of course, Dimitrov wasn’t the first to notice just how special this bright green cat really was. In fact, rumors of an emerald-hued stray had long swirled in the city. And many had previously tried to lure the fabled feline out of hiding to catch a glimpse of her coat.
This attention, moreover, had made the cat something of an internet sensation in the summer of 2014. Indeed, Dimitrov had originally found out about her online. There, he also discovered several theories as to why the cat had turned green. None of these, however, were yet proven to be true.
Some believed that she was doing something to turn herself green, for instance. But this theory still begged the question as to what exactly that process entailed. And could it really be true that a cat had found a way to change the color of her coat?
Others believed that the jade tabby was the result of a science experiment gone wrong. In Hollywood, toxic chemicals are represented by green gas and goo, after all, so could this cat have been part of a test that dyed her coat?
And Dimitrov also uncovered a more sinister possibility for the cat’s coloring. “The primary information was that it was most likely sprayed with green paint,” he told Getty Images TV. But was this more upsetting explanation the right one?
Well, again, nothing could be confirmed. Without solid answers to his questions, then, Dimitrov decided to go to Varna himself and find the real reason for the cat’s unusual hue – and perhaps snap a photo or two of the feline while he did his sleuthing. And while there, the photographer conversed with locals in hopes of uncovering more clues.
In Varna, though, Dimitrov found a potential explanation. “When I arrived on location, after I spoke with people who live in this area, it became apparent that the cat has turned green because it slept in [an] old green paint barrel on [a] construction site,” he told Getty Images TV.
How could they be so sure? Well, Dimitrov explained that locals had seen the same cat “[turn] green in previous years,” too. This, in turn, suggested that she had been sleeping in the barrel for quite a while. Still, this information did little to assuage the fears of those who had seen footage of the bright green stray.
Without knowing the chemical make-up of the paint in which the feline slept, some feared that she could be soaking toxic materials into her skin. But one Varna resident told Getty Images TV that they shouldn’t be too worried about any side effects of the paint.
“I have a cat as well,” he said, “and they lick themselves and so on. If the paint hasn’t hurt it so far, then I guess it’s not an issue.” That led some to believe that the cat was sleeping in non-toxic food coloring or dye. Even with this revelation, though, the green cat wasn’t out of the woods just yet.
Indeed, in the fall of 2014, the internet-famous cat went missing. And after her disappearance was noted, it was feared that someone had stolen her from her beachside home because of her one-of-a-kind looks. Fortunately, though, the animal reappeared three days later.
And, happily, the reason for her disappearance wasn’t a sinister one. That’s because an animal rescue organization had decided to give her a bath and so wash away any potentially harmful chemicals from her coat.
Still, the green cat of Varna’s fame has led one British animal protection charity to warn others against dying their own pets. After all, this process may be dangerous. According to the Daily Mail, in fact, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has stated that coloring a pet’s fur could even have “potentially fatal consequences.”
In the Bulgarian’s stray’s case, however, she seemed to have come to no lasting harm by having a colored coat. In fact, as revealed in Getty Images TV’s video on the animal, she even “gained a little extra weight from all [the] treats” being offered her way.
That famous bright emerald color, however, was virtually removed after her bath. And her former tint is only noticeable at all upon closer inspection of some of the feline’s features.
Specifically, after being washed, she still retained some green patches of fur on her chest and around her eyes and ears. However, as she went on to choose a new place in which to nap, these bright spots may fade with time, too.
And photos of the once-emerald feline have shown that her fur is now, on the whole, considerably more natural shades of brown. Indeed, she no longer looks like the work of a Photoshop artist or a cartoonist. And here’s hoping that, whatever the shade of her coat, she continues to live a long and happy life.