An urgent plea was sent out on the night of Saturday, October 6th.
Two male kittens were left in a box in front of an office building.
They were then brought to a Tampa county shelter just before 6pm.
His tail was burnt so bad, the bone was exposed.
It is devastating and infuriating to think what these two delicate kittens had gone through.
“We don’t know what happened, but we can suspect… The burning definitely started at his tail. The other kitten had no burns at all.”
At approximately 3 weeks old, he was very small, weighing in around 212 grams.
Equating to about 7 ounces, the average weight for kittens his age was 10-ounces to 1 pound.
Six o’clock also happens to be the cutoff time to pick up kittens too young to stay in the shelter.
It’s heartbreaking to think about what happens to those who miss the deadline. =(
But in the case for these 2 kittens, they had angels watching over them; the St. Francis Society Animal Rescue.
Foster mom, Amanda Hoot, was on her way to the shelter to pick up another needy kitten. She received the call to action for the 2 kittens.
There was no way she was going to leave them at the shelter too. Taking all 3 kittens, Amanda saved the young souls.
Caring for the burned kitten would not be easy, but she was ready to take on the challenge.
The babies were named S’mores and Graham.
In animal rescue, you HAVE to have a positive attitude.
Creatively naming kittens is one way to bring a bit of a smile to an otherwise dire situation.
Her Instagram page @hootlikean0wl, filled with adorable foster kittens, is an indication of Amanda’s sense of humorous wordplay!
Under her care, S’mores made it through the night.
Through it all, his brother Graham never left his side and snuggled as much as the injured kitten could handle.
He was brought to the vet first thing the next morning.
But Graham refused to leave his brothers side.
The two loudly cried for each other when they were separated… so both kittens were off to the vet.
They confirmed that S’mores’s tail would likely need to be amputated once he was old enough for surgery. It was that or his future may include euthanasia.
It would be performed at the same time he’d be neutered, after reaching at least 2 pounds in weight.
His poor whiskers were also completely singed off.
The entire right side of his tiny body was singed and smelled like soot. His paw pads, lip and ear also had been burned.
Topping it off, the poor baby had maggots in his right ear!
S’mores visited the vet again many times in the upcoming days.
They were saddened to see a portion of his ear may also need to be amputated.
Plans were made to do everything possible to avoid this.
But his tail had been too damaged and they confirmed it would have to be removed.
All four of his paw pads were being closely monitored as they were starting to shed the burned skin.
Amanda was carefully watching for any signs of infection.
Thankfully, none of his nail beds seemed to be affected or disfigured due to the unknown incident.
Through it all, Graham was there to comfort him.
S’mores had been given pain medication so wasn’t suffering, but it was it was a welcome distraction having a cuddle buddy.
Unfortunately, Graham tended to care a bit too much when he began over grooming S’mores. They had to be separated unless supervised.
Amanda had a great solution to help them both…and some others.
To avoid Graham getting single-kitten-syndrome, she brought in another litter of 4 kittens around the same age!
The “Candy Kittens” kept Graham company while allowing S’mores the rest he needed to heal. Meet Heath, Snickers, Reese, and Baby Ruth!
After a couple of weeks in foster care, S’mores was on the mend.
His ear was healing wonderfully, which was great news.
But the backs of his legs were worse than originally noted, healing more slowly.
Each day, Amanda would carefully bathe him in a special “bubble bath”, applying medicated cream to the burned skin.
Even through the good and the bad, this little kitten had dedicated caregivers; 2-legged and 4!
“After his bath yesterday, the end of his tail fell off. Pretty gross not going to lie, and it creeps me out a little bit, but he’s still so darn cute!”
One of his favorite things to do is snuggle up with Amanda in a warm, fluffy towel or blanket.
The next month, the daily routine remained the same as S’mores healed.
“S’mores still sleeps in my bathroom by himself, but he comes out and plays with everyone now that the burns are healing.”
But with the extent of his injuries, new problems presented themselves.
Last week at his checkup, the vet discovered he would need another unexpected surgery.
Amanda shared the diagnosis with everyone supporting them.
“Unfortunately, my tail is now deformed and unusable, and my rectum was burned so badly that the build up of scar tissue is making it impossible for me to poop normally (so embarrassing!)”
Poor S’mores had to go in for x-rays and an enema on 11/16. He was put on Lactulose to help him “ease his bowel movements”.
It was also time to make another major decision.
“We scheduled his tail amputation for Wednesday, November 21st! I’m so nervous and excited. Removing the tail should make him for comfortable, functional, and easier for me to help him stay clean.”
He will then need to have rectum surgery after he’s healed up from the amputation.
At 7:00 AM this morning, Amanda dropped the little fighter off for his surgery.
“We’re nervous but ready to get that pesky thing out of the way!”
Friends, family and fosters all anxiously awaited word from the vet.
Around 1:30 PM Amanda shared amazing news with us!
“The vet called and said tail his surgery went great, I’m on my way to pick him up now!”
St. Francis is continuing to fund raise for S’mores surgery costs and follow up fees.
“My friends at St. Francis sure would appreciate any donations to help cover my numerous medical bills and upcoming surgeries. Thanks for loving me and helping me get better and strong!”
Only time will tell if S’mores will fully recover enough to be put up for adoption.
If he is cleared by the vet, Amanda will make sure he has one more thing at his new fur-ever home…
His brother Graham.
“We can’t even imagine what they have been through before coming to us, but it’s clear they got through it because they had each other.”
If the horrors he experienced prove to cause permanent issues, there is more good news.
Should S’mores being considered “special needs”, Amanda is fully prepared to welcome him into her family.
“I hope beyond anything that he’s healthy and stable and can be adopted… but if he has some serious medical issues, I know that I’ll be the best fit to take care of him…. oh darn! HAHA” <3
Thankfully, Amanda had enough experience and foresight to introduce Graham to other kittens.
This way if he can be adopted and S’mores stays with her, they’ll both be okay.
Fur now, S’mores will work on his biscuit making!
Please consider donating to St. Francis Society so kittens like S’mores and Graham have the opportunities they deserve in life.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!