October 19, 2018

Kitten with apparent intentional face wounds recovering in foster home

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STANDISH — Animal shelter attendant Kelly Zube knew something was wrong when a couple brought a kitten to the Arenac County Animal Shelter Jan. 30, and she is confident the kitten will make a full recovery.

“When we examined him and cleaned him up, we noticed something was seriously wrong so I messaged my foster coordinator for the humane society and she told me to get him into the vet,” she said. “So I took him to Dr. Zorn — she is the humane society vet — and he has a broken jaw, broken bones in his nose and cheek and lost some teeth.”

Dr. Matilda Zorn said the injuries were not an accient, though.

“There were no other injuries beside the head injury,” she said. “There were no surface scrapes on the body. It could walk. No other bones other than its face were broken. It was all head trauma, and the skin itself was still in tact, so it’s not like a car tire ran over it.”

“It was definitely inflicted by a person,” Zube said. “Not sure how — possibly blunt force trauma to the face, maybe a bat or a kick or even tossed out of a moving car.”

Seeing the 4-month-old kitten in the condition it was in was tough, Zorn said.

“It was quite a mess,” she said. “The poor little guy was all bloody, could barely breathe. It was quite painful. The poor thing was crying.”

Zorn administered injectable antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and some pain medication. Surgery may be required to repair the kitten’s jaw, she said.

Zube is fostering the cat, who she has started calling Charger, at her home in Standish.

“I had to syringe feed him the first couple days,” she said. “He started eating on his own (Jan. 31) and is feeling better. He's been running through my house and playing with the dogs. We weren't even sure he would survive that first day.”

Despite the incident, Zube said Charger is a loving and trusting kitten.

“He is bouncing back quickly and loves attention,” she said. “Even after being hurt he still trusts people. He has a long road to recovery but it's getting better each day.”

Due to an upper respiratory infection, Charger hasn’t been able to interact with the other cats owned by Zube or being fostered at her home. He has gotten along great with the dogs there, though, she said.

“He loves the dogs but he has only seen the cats through a glass door because he is sick so we don't want to spread that, and playing with the other cats could get too rough and hurt him,” she said. “In a few weeks he will be able to. He did get very excited when he saw the other cats through the glass.”

Not only is Zube confident Charger will make a full recovery, but she believes he will be adoptable one day.

“He might have some issues with loud breathing and possibly snoring because of the shape of his nose and he will not ever look normal, but as long as the adopters don't mind that he is a little different,” she said. “If no one adopts him he will be adopted by me.”

The people who found Charger and brought him to the shelter live in Standish Township, Zube said.

Animal Control Officer Catherine Lemunyon said the people who brought Charger to the shelter cleaned him up and tried helping him more, but found the injuries to be beyond what they could take care of, so they sought out a way to get it proper veterinary care via the shelter.

Zube said so far, the police have not been involved in the incident.

“No one saw anything but there is always hope that sharing his story might bring someone forward who knows something,” she said.

Zorn said an incident like Charger’s is not common, but also not unheard of.

“It’s not like every single day you see it, but you see a couple of them a year,” she said. “People are just cruel.”

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