Nine Lives Less One 

What happens when, on your morning jog, you find a left-for-dead tortured kitten?

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Julie Taylor figured the only cruelty she'd encounter on her morning run would be blisters to her feet. The busy salon owner and single mom was running through an industrial area and was shocked to see a mangled-looking small animal off in the ditch. She stopped to get a closer look and saw that it was a tiny dead kitten. She didn't feel right leaving it there so she took off her tee to wrap and move it in order to give it a loving burial.

To her surprise, the animal moved when she picked it up! Julie doesn't have cats and didn't know what to do, so she called her animal-rescuing pal, me!, on her cell.

I took the call in the middle of library story time and got some looks. "Susan, I found a tiny kitten and it's barely alive," she said.I told her to race home and get the kitten in to my vet at the Avenues Pet Clinic as soon as possible.

There, Dr. Brenda was not very hopeful: "This is one very sick kitten who needs extensive treatment. It should probably be put down as it is weak and looks blind," she said. The tiny female was dehydrated, starving and had round lesions and scars that the vet assumed were ringworm, plus other scars. The vet told Julie and I that attempting to get her healthy would be an expensive process with no guarantees.

The kitten would first need subcutaneous fluids and tests for diseases that may be killing her. If she tested negative for those diseases, she may have a chance at recovery, but it was a slim chance.

Julie and I had a tough decision to make. Cash was tight for both of us. Maybe the kindest thing would be to let her go. I'm no pet psychic but I looked at the kitten and asked it quietly what I should do. I didn't get any surrender vibe. What I got was the feeling she wanted a chance and was a survivor.

So we agreed to pay for the tests and fluids and special food and see if she could pull through. To the vet tech and Dr. Brenda's surprise, she was drinking, eating and meowing weakly by the end of the day. We'd get test results the next day and go from there. The next morning, we were thrilled when the tests for feline leukemia, FIV and others came back negative and the ringworm wasn't ringworm at all.

The disturbing news was that the lesions were burn marks--some old and some newer. The kitten had been tortured (looked like cigarettes or a car lighter) and dumped in a desolate area. Julie decided right then to adopt her and took her home to nurse her.

Suri is now a thriving crazy kitten and goes to work with Julie every day at her hair salon. With Julie and her 7-year-old daughter caring for her, the kitten lives the dream of being a beloved pet and a shop cat adored by all the stylists. She greets clients, sits in laps, sleeps on the cash register and makes everyone laugh. She's tiny and scarred up and blind in one eye but so full of life and happy as can be. Next time you're in the university area, stop in at Blade Work (1340 E. 200 South, 801-583-2447) and meet Suri for yourself.

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