With a missing eye and a mouth that curls down on one side in the world’s cutest sneer, Sir Stuffington was pretty much born to be a pirate. Since the six-week-old kitten was rescued last month by Multnomah County Animal Services in Oregon, his adorable face, complete with an eye patch and red head scarf, has been popping up everywhere from the Huffington Post to Gawker to Mashable.
Sir Stuffington has become a one-and-a-half-pound celebrity — all because his foster mom, Blazer Schaffer, decided to share his picture on Facebook. Right away, the kitten was “wildly popular,” she says. Blazer gave Sir Stuffington his own page at the insistence of a friend at Multnomah County Animal Services, who helped rescue the kitten, and “it kind of went nuts,” she says.
Stuffington’s two equally adorable brothers, Dexter and Nugget, are also being fostered by Blazer. Stuffington was suffering from a number of health problems: In addition to his missing eye, he also had a fractured jaw, fleas, a heart murmur, and calicivirus.
As it turns out, the facial trauma, which was what initially prompted his swift rescue, was the least of Stuffington’s problems. His jaw and eye have healed and cause him no pain. The only surgery he will require is to have several of his adult teeth removed when he is six months old, as they will puncture his lip on the damaged side of his face. Blazer feels any other surgery would be superfluous.
“That’s purely cosmetic at this point,” she says. “There’s no reason except to remove his teeth — he’s already perfect.”
As for what caused Stuffington’s facial trauma — that is pure speculation. The open food source Stuffington frequented when he lived on the streets, courtesy of a woman in the neighborhood, attracted a lot of raccoon traffic, so he could have been injured in a raccoon attack. He also could have been hurt in a fall or some other traumatic event.
The one thing they do know: The injury occurred when Stuffington was very young, as it had already healed by the time he was rescued at a little more than a month old.
“It could be anyone’s guess,” Blazer says. “[Stuffington] didn’t tell us anything.”
Stuffington is getting healthier every day — he has received veterinary care and medication for his fleas, and his heart murmur has cleared up. The calicivirus, however, is similar to feline herpes in that it can resurface at any time, especially when Stuffington’s immune system is weakened. This can make him more prone to upper respiratory infections and sores in his mouth.
Given the proper care and veterinary attention, however, there is no reason Stuffington won’t have a long and happy life. He will be ready for adoption in a few months, after his teeth are removed and he is neutered. And his forever family is in for a treat — according to Blazer, Stuffington is a little wary at first, but he’s curious and friendly.
“He suffered a trauma, and he’s still incredibly sweet,” Blazer says. “He’s incredibly curious and good-natured, considering something obviously happened to him. He’s definitely pretty outgoing — he’s started purring and playing. Things that normal kittens do — he’s starting to do that now.”
Having fostered hundreds of cats over the course of 10 years, Blazer is not surprised at Stuffington’s recovery.
“Cats are incredible,” she says. “I’ve done this with hundreds of cats, and they just have this innate ability to adapt and fight. [Stuffington] is awesome, and he’s a fighter. He doesn’t let anything get him down.”
But Stuffington has certainly not been going it alone. He’s received support from all over the world via Facebook, where he boasts more than 42,000 fans (join them here). Blazer has gotten messages from as far away as Japan, Germany, France, and New Zealand.
Overall, Stuffington has brought in thousands of dollars in donations to assist the shelter with animal rescue efforts. Blazer points out that this benefits both special-needs and healthy cats alike, as both are “equally important.” Blazer also appreciates that her special foster kitten has gotten so many people talking about animal rescue and how they can help.
“The thing I personally like the most is on his Facebook page, people are posting pictures of their animals,” Blaze says. “I think it’s nice for people to be able to share their stories and help an animal in any small way. [Stuffington] is a great ambassador for rescues in general. Something as little as a kitten can make a big difference in people’s lives, and I think that’s pretty rad.”
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