A Touching Saga of Survival

Once in a while, people can learn lessons from the animal world. Such is the case of a 3 month old feral kitten named Adam. I have to warn you though, some of the paragraphs below are a little graphic. Unfortunately it’s a true story that will both enrage you and hopefully make you want to help. This story first appeared in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and later in the San Francisco Chronicle.

On June 19, 2007 two 15 year old girls allegedly poured flammable liquid on Adam while he was trapped in a cage and lit him on fire. The names of the girls haven’t been released. An 11 year old boy and his friend saw smoke and heard the cat shrieking while the girls stood there laughing. The girls, whose names were not released, were arrested on felony cruelty to animals charges.

Adam was one of six feral kittens that were to be transported the next morning to Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County to be spayed and neutered. They would then be released on a farm to roam as they pleased. The four other kittens have not been found yet and are presumed dead.

The animal hospital of Cotati is treating Adam. It’s too early to know if he’ll survive yet. The tips of his ears and his tail had to be amputated. The skin on his back is gone, burned to the bone. There is still a high risk of infection due to second and third degree burns over 75 percent of his body as well as the chance of a viral infection.

So far Adam has undergone two operations to stretch the skin from his sides to close the open wound on his back. Several more operations will have to be performed, including skin grafts before the wound on his back is closed. Pieces of his pelvic bone are sticking out.

Sarah Bowlan, known as the “cat lady” first treated Adam immediately after he was burned. “I was in shock. I didn’t know whether I should grab him with my hands or a wet towel” said Bowlan. “I picked him up and walked him to the bathroom and turned on the water in the sink. He turned his head and started lapping water from my hand. I didn’t think he was going to make it until he looked at me in the eye. He wanted to live,” said Bowlan, crying.

Dr. Katheryn Hinkle, head veterinarian and owner of Cotati animal hospital said she and her staff will treat Adam as long as there is a chance for his survival. “Feral kittens are the garbage of the community. Already, he’s got one strike against him. It’s not his fault. We want to do our part to make this a better place than that” she said. Needless to say, the cruelty to Adam sparked community outrage.

Adam eats both wet and dry food except after his surgeries, when he’s on an intravenous pump to monitor his food intake, medications and painkillers. During the day he purrs and plays with toys in his dog sized cage in the hospital. Every night he goes home with Cotati Animal Hospital head nurse Tina Wright, who also works for Forgotten Felines. He’s not out of danger yet. If he survives, he’ll probably be adopted by her.

The cost of surgeries and care alone will probably cost $20 to $30 thousand dollars, making some question the decision to keep the kitten alive. Money is being raised by Forgotten Felines. Lisa Alexander, veterinarian surgeon has been operating on Adam pro bono.

“He is fighting for his life, so we would never bail out on him at this point” said Dr. Hinkle. “This is what compassion looks like. My goal for Adam is for him to be the poster child for what the community can do if it comes together” she said.

Being an animal lover and two kitten owner, it’s tough not to include my personal thoughts on this. Between being teary eyed and enraged myself it would be very easy to go off on a rant here. But right now Adam needs all the help and prayers he can get. If you would like to donate to help the care and treatment of Adam, or help in any other way, information is below:

Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County
PO Box 6672
Santa Rosa CA 95406

For updates on Adam’s condition, visit the Forgotten Felines web site. To make a tax deductible donation to Forgotten Felines click here.

Animal Hospital of Cotati
576 E. Cotati Ave.
Cotati, CA 94934

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