March 16, 2015 12:00 PM

It started with a dare. Nathalie Côté wanted to prove to her kids that more than 100 people would like pictures of her unusually fuzzy feline, so she posted a picture on Facebook. “Atchoum was so cute!” says Côté, who received the cat as a gift last July from a coworker at the Quebec veterinary hospital where she works as a groomer. “Differences are beautiful in living things.” The 9-month-old cat became an instant viral hit, and the rest is, well, hirsutory. Born with hypertrichosis, a condition that is not life-threatening but causes excess hair, Atchoum is otherwise healthy, says Côté, but he requires a lot of care. She brushes his hair twice a week to prevent knots and regularly removes small secretions from his eyes and nose. Atchoum also keeps Côté on her toes. “He jumps on chairs and unfortunately on tables too,” she says, “but I’m proud to have a little werewolf in the family!”

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