REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KTVU) - The rescued kitten that may have been used as a chew toy for dogs is being described as a "fighter with a wonderful spirit," after the animal underwent emergency surgery over the weekend
The one-pound, 10-ounce kitten was nicknamed "Smurf" because it was dyed a bluish purple color from head to toe. Animal rescue workers at the Redwood City based Nine Lives Foundation say he suffered roughly 20 wounds to his body.
Veterinarians performed emergency abdominal surgery on Smurf over the weekend and say he is expected to make a full recovery. But shelter officials note the recovery may take many weeks of special care.
Veterinary technician Michelle Cavin carried a bundle of joy into an exam room at the Nine Lives Foundation in Redwood City.
"Only Smurf could tell us what really happened as far as the wounds go. But it is typical lacerations, puncture wounds, and such. And so there's lots of people out there who do awful things," she said.
Vets have also been able to repair a hind leg which was severely wounded.
The Nine Lives Foundation shelter received the little animal through an anonymous rescuer. The foundation has a no-kill policy.
"I've seen a lot of animals used as bait for other animals, it looks to me like he was used as a chew toy," said Monica Rudiger with the shelter. "He obviously wasn't killed by the dog or whatever animal it was but he was pretty badly injured."
The 8-week-old was rescued in San Jose and brought to the shelter on Dec. 28 with bite wounds all over its body. He was found in a box of purple rags and lemon peels.
The shelter has since paired him up with another rescue kitten named Wanda, who is blind. Animal care workers say the two are inseparable and have posted photos of the pair cuddling and giving each other kitty "massages."
Shelter visitors are appalled by Smurf's plight.
"It's absolutely outrageous that someone would be so mean-spirited to injure another creature," said Lily Anayati of Hillsborough.
People across the country, and even around the world agree. Hundreds have enquired about adopting Smurf.
"3-4 months, he should be fine," said Dr. Rudiger.
The people at Nine Lives appreciate all the attention that Smurf has brought to their facility, but they say it's not just about him. It's about the hundreds of other cats who also need good homes.
Nine Lives has more than 400 cats waiting to be adopted.
There is no word on who is behind the animal abuse case.