Five-year-old Sushi has Ehler Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue condition. Sushi is from Sao Paulo and his breed is unknown.
In this syndrome, due to a shortage of collagen, the connective tissue is affected. This results in exceptionally flexible and brittle skin. Sushi's skin is loose and delicate as a result of his condition, giving him a drooping, melancholy countenance.
A disgruntled tail!
Sushi was saved as a kitten after being found on the street, and in 2016, Larissa Yamaguchi adopted him after learning about his condition. Sushi, despite his sorrowful demeanour, leads a pleasant life and is well cared for by Larissa. However, he does have itchy skin and uses a soft collar to aid with his loose skin.
Despite knowing very little about his condition, the 24-year-old system analyst and developer claimed she was captivated by his story and wanted to offer him a forever home. Larissa said:
My friend who rescues animals sent across some photos of Sushi, he was a tiny black cat and I knew I wanted him straight away. In the first picture I saw he looked like a normal black cat, but when he arrived, I knew that he had a different face. But I didn’t think it could be a genetic condition.
Larissa had no idea he had EDS for four years, despite seeing multiple veterinarians since his skin was sensitive. She discovered Sushi had the same issue after reading a story about a similar cat on the internet.
Rarest of the rare
Sushi's condition causes him to have quite dry and itchy skin, necessitating daily moisturising, a different diet, clothing, and soft collars. Larissa confirmed:
It took four years for us to know Sushi had EDS. I spent £800 and he used a lot of different medications but nothing helped.
After finding a similar cat online, we found a cat dermatologist and it was quite a shock even for her. She said that the last time she saw a cat like Sushi was more than 10 years ago! I was scared but then we found out that we could handle it and it wasn’t fatal.
Sushi is okay otherwise, living happily with his three feline siblings, but his appearance causes some people to be surprised or afraid. She added:
People say he looks sad all the time. Some people get shocked or scared, some love his face at first sight and others laugh at him..
Larissa currently uses social media sites like Instagram to raise awareness about EDS and dispel misinformation about the condition. Sushi has amassed a following of almost 2600 people.