A maggot-infested cat who had crawled under a dumpster “to be alone and die” has made a miraculous recovery.
Footage of the badly injured feline being worked on by staff from Kelly’s Animal Hospital in Port St Lucie, Florida, went viral after being shared to TikTok by a veterinary technician .
The video of the stricken cat, who was later named Phoenix, has racked up 8.5 million views since being posted last week. In the clip, the extent of his injuries are laid bare.
Phoenix was found by a client from the next door rehab clinic, who will witness the cat come out of the nearby woods before taking shelter under a dumpster outside the veterinary clinic.
“I think he went under the dumpster to be alone and die,: Hettema told Newsweek. “He just happened to go under the right dumpster, next to our clinic.”
Hettema said after they were told about the cat, one of the facility’s technicians put on some gloves and “crawled under the dumpster” to retrieve the injured animal.
She said the cat’s origins remain something of a mystery. “He isn’t microchipped but he’s extremely friendly so probably had an owner at some point, but maybe not for a while.”
What they did know, however, was Phoenix was in very bad shape. Covered in maggots and flas, the veterinarian who treated him, Dr. Patrick Kelly DVM, found bruises and abrasions on Phoenix’s legs while some bone was even exposed.
One of his paws was badly injured, his ears were infected and, worse still his tail had turned necrotic and ultimately had to be amputated in order to save his life.
“When he was brought in we really thought he wouldn’t survive, he was in a critical condition,” Hettema admitted. “I don’t know what happened to him. I’d guess he was probably hit by a car. but it’s hard to say. He would have died for sure in my opinion.”
Despite the distressing nature of his injuries, staff worked tirelessly to help Phoenix back from the brink. “Dr. Kelly said he deserved a chance at life, or at least to know kindness if he couldn’t survive,” Hettema said.
A week on from that harrowing first encounter and it looks like Phoenix, who was handed his name by Dr. Kelly on account of his miraculous recovery, is going to get that second chance at life.
According to Hettema, he’s already gained 2lbs since coming under the clinic’s care. Dr Kelly and Vets Best Friend, the corporation that owns the clinic, are covering all the costs of Phoenix’s treatment.
The plan is to keep him there for at least another month, until he’s a healthy weight.
Then he’ll likely be adopted, though he won’t be able to live with anyone who already has cats due to the fact he has a compromised immune system that leaves him susceptible to sickness.
Fortunately, the attention Phoenix’s video garnered on social media has ensured there’s no shortage of potential owners. “I’ve had a lot of inquiries about adoption,” Hettema said. “Email, Facebook, TikTok – he’s famous, I guess.”