My Phoenix from the flames...

By Luka Atkin­son, 29, from Ch­ester-le-street My kitty has to be Bri­tain’s luck­i­est pet

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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!

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