'Catgirl' Covered With Soft Black Fur Baffles Doctors

A six-year-old with a rare skin disease that has left her with soft black fur covering her back has baffled doctors.

Zhao Xinrui has been dubbed 'catgirl', and her distraught mum is said to have abandoned her because of the condition, which started as a small patch of discoloured skin on her back about a year ago.

At first, doctors in the village of Changshan, near Luzhou City in southwest China's Sichuan province, thought the fur was a birthmark, but are now perplexed.

Xinrui's grandmother, Zhao Henghui, said: "Doctors told us it was just a birthmark - even when it started spreading - but now it covers half her body."

Xinrui now needs urgent treatment to remove the hair, which covers her entire back and is starting to grow on her arms and face.

Her dad Zhao Lai, 45, said: "The poor girl - it breaks our hearts to see her suffer like this."

Lai said his wife had abandoned him and his daughter and that he was trying to look after her together with his parents.

The three of them have been trying to raise money to pay for treatment.

He said: "We were told that she couldn't have any operation anyway until she got to about five.

"But now she's old enough we don't have the money. Despite the fact that we saved ever since we heard she would need it."

In an interview with local TV, the girl said her biggest ambition was to be cured so that she could wear summer clothes and even a swimming costume like her pals.

The media coverage has inspired some members of the public to donate money and it is now hoped Xinrui will be able to get the operation she needs.

She has already been sent to the provincial capital Chengdu for medical treatments, and the plan is to carry out an operation to try and replace the hairy skin with healthy skin from other parts of her body.