My Phoenix from the flames...
By Luka Atkinson, 29, from Chester-le-street My kitty has to be Britain’s luckiest pet
The minute I saw little Phoenix arrive at the RSPCA centre where I work, I knew something terrible had happened. The tiny kitten couldn’t have been more than 6 weeks old, and weighed just 1lb 3oz.
But it was her little face that broke my heart. Most of the fur had been completely singed off.
She didn’t have any whiskers, and her eyelids were badly burnt.
Her fragile body was in a dreadful state, too – the skin on her paws had been completely scorched off, along with much of her fur.
‘What’s happened to her?’ I asked, shocked at the sight of her.
I was told her stray mother had settled her litter under wooden decking in a back garden of a house in Cleadon.
The garden backed onto a woodland area, where a fire had broken out on 4 June this year, engulfing the wooden fence, shed and decking.
The mother cat must’ve escaped with some of her litter, but not all her kittens had made it out in time…
Firemen soon extinguished the blaze and, the next day, the homeowner was inspecting the damage when she heard a soft whimpering sound coming from the blackened wreckage of her shed.
Realising it was a kitten, she called an RSPCA investigator to the house, who found poor Phoenix in shock, trapped in the debris.
The investigator first took her to the vet before handing her in to the cattery at the rescue centre where I work. My heart broke. It was a miracle she’d made it out alive, but she looked at death’s door. ‘We have to help her!’ I cried. With no time to lose, Phoenix was given antibiotics, as the smoke inhalation had affected her breathing.
Her paws had to be washed and bandaged daily, as they were very vulnerable to infection.
But I wanted to do something more for the little cutie, so…
‘I’m going to foster Phoenix,’ I explained to my colleagues.
By taking her home with me after work, I could make sure she got the round-theclock care she needed.
Despite her condition, Phoenix was so happy and playful, and got on really well with my cats Rory and Inca.
The three of them were soon running around the house like mad things. And, because Phoenix trusted me, we formed a close bond… Plus she knew where her food was coming from!
‘You are too cute,’ I’d coo when she snuggled up to me.
Still, there were times when I wondered if I was doing the right thing or not.
Given the extent of her injuries, I worried that I was cruelly prolonging her suffering.
Would she be better off if I had her put to sleep..? But I soon snapped out of it. At work, I’d seen many injured or poorly cats who’d given up. They were withdrawn, and either refused or ignored any food or attention they were offered. But Phoenix was full of beans, loved a fuss, and seemed to want to be cared for. She hadn’t given up, so neither would I. ‘She looks worse than she is. You’re doing the right thing,’ confirmed the vet. Slowly but surely, Phoenix got better. After three weeks, the bandages came off her paws, and her walking improved dramatically. Now 6 months old, she’s made an amazing recovery. Her fur’s grown back, and she has a lovely, black coat. The only treatment she needs now is corrective surgery to her eyelids. Thankfully, her vision and tear ducts have remained intact. She’s no longer on her pain medication now, either. Once her eyes have been fixed, Phoenix will be eligible for adoption – although,
A soft whimpering was coming from the wreckage To survive such a terrible ordeal is no mean feat
because of her scarred face, we worry that she might struggle to find a new family.
But it’s no secret among my colleagues that she’s got a forever home with me.
I even set up an Instagram profile for her, posting photos that showed the progress of her recovery.
‘Look how popular you are!’ I said when she’d amassed over 100 followers.
To survive such a terrible ordeal is no mean feat, and the fact that Phoenix’s fun and lively personality still shines through is testament to how special she is.
This brave kitty has defied all the odds.
Just like a phoenix rising from the ashes, my plucky little puss certainly lives up to her name.
The fur on her paws was singed off... Poor little puss-in-boots!
Now: ready for playtime!