Yoda the Four-Eared Cat

updated 09/08/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/08/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

From the moment Valerie Rock saw the little kitty, she understood all the fuss. A customer in a bar where Rock, 67, and her husband, Ted, 67, were watching a football game was trying to find a home for her 8-week-old kitten when patrons started laughing at the animal, calling it names like 'Devil Cat' and 'Beelzebub.' "We noticed it had four ears, two normal ones and middle ones that looked like horns," Rock recalls of that October night in 2006, a week before Halloween. After letting the cat out of its cage, it "crawled up in the crook of my husband's neck and fell asleep," says Rock. "We fell in love with him."

The retired couple—whose cat of 20 years, Cocoa, had died only a few months earlier—took the four-eared domestic shorthair kitten to their Downers Grove, Ill., home. For nearly two years the cat, named Yoda, led a quiet life, until the Rocks' grown son Glenn Olsen, an amateur photographer, posted pictures of him on a photography Web site. Within days, throngs of people viewed the pictures, including media outlets as far away as England and Australia, prompting the Rocks to keep the cat indoors. "We don't want anyone to steal him," says Rock.

So far, Yoda is oblivious to his newfound fame, contentedly sharing the house with the Rocks' dog Fresa. "He is a very affectionate and social cat," says Rock. "He's perfectly normal in every other way."

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