An abused, abandoned kitten that was likely used as a chew toy for a bigger animal is now safe and recovering, according to the animal shelter Nine Lives Foundation in Rosewood, California.
The 7-week-old kitten — named "Smurf" for the bright purple dye staining his fur — was found with more than a dozen deep lacerations and bite marks covering his small body. He weighed less than 2 pounds when he was dropped off at the rescue shelter.
Since then, Smurf has been pampered with heated blankets and Gerber baby food, and doted on by staff and visitors, according to the shelter. He has been shaved, so his natural coloring should come through soon.
"Right now, Smurf is buddying up with a cat that's blind," said Carol Scola, a volunteer at the shelter. "They're becoming good friends."
Smurf will likely undergo more treatment, including stitches, in the coming days to treat his numerous wounds. He is also receiving antibiotics to ward off infection.
An online petition, which has garnered 6,406 signatures toward its goal of 10,000, demands authorities "severely" punish the "heartless animal abuser."
Many people have volunteered to adopt the abused kitten, but the shelter has said Smurf will not be eligible "for several months" — at least until all his wounds are fully healed and his coat grows back in.
Nine Lives Foundation was quick to remind prospective adopters on Facebook that there are more than 400 other kittens within the shelter "that would love to have a forever home."
"We have a lot of cats that are turned over to us — kittens, injured cats," said Scola. "All of our cats come from high kill shelters, and we mostly have the ones that are considered at risk."
Visit the Nine Lives Foundation’s website to learn more.