They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

That old cliche rings true for Villé, the unusual-looking kitty on the front page of our paper today.

Unusual is putting it politely - Villé has had an often stressful life, and it shows.

But no one can doubt that he is loved.


Owner Lesley Saunders absolutely dotes on her pet: "I love him to pieces. He's not like an ordinary cat," she told the Bay of Plenty Times.

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That he isn't.

Villé has one eye, no whiskers, barely any teeth and is nearly bald.

He's also got attitude.

"I used to treat him like a dog because he acts like a dog," Saunders said.

This is all part of Villé's wonderful package and why he has attracted followers from around the world.

Having quirky pets can be a whole lot of fun. They're loyal, playful and weird - often with strangely human aspects to their personalities.


Of course, this applies to the cute pets as well.

Animal companions are a valuable component of many families. In 2015, it was estimated that 64 per cent of New Zealanders had a companion animal of some description. That's almost two-thirds of us.

Cats were the most popular pet according to this survey, done by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council, with 44 per cent of households reportedly owning at least one cat. Dogs were next at 28 per cent.

It's a shame, then, that animal ownership rates appear to be decreasing.

I think this is because of the higher number of people in the workforce and the higher proportion of people living in rental accommodation.

There aren't as many stay-at-home mums around these days to look after the animals, and, when it comes to renting a home, either landlords don't want animals at the property, or the tenants don't want to subject animals to the uncertainty of rented accommodation.

It's a shame.

If fewer of us are keeping pets, there's even less chance that pets like Villé, who aren't conventionally cute, will be able to find a home.

Villé's lucky, though. He doesn't have to worry about that. He's got an owner who loves him for who he is - bald spots and all.