Lifestyle & Human Interest

Half-Starved Cat with Firecracker Bound to Paw by Rubber Bands Rescued After Days of Suffering


No matter what age you are, and barring PTSD, watching a fireworks show can be absolutely wonderful. The colors, the sound, the slight element of danger all come together and draw viewers in.

The only thing that may be better than watching a display is participating in one yourself, and kids of all ages flock to fireworks stands in July. With adult supervision and proper disposal afterward, letting kids of an appropriate age set some off can be great fun and a valuable learning experience.

On the other hand, unsupervised use rarely leads to productive encounters. And this particular case looks like it might have been the result of such an incident.

Over the July 13 weekend, two people stumbled across a horrific sight: a cat, badly wounded, with a mangled paw that was crawling with maggots. Kenny and Kellie were the feline’s rescuers, and they took her to Humane Animal Rescue in Pittsburgh.

“I had to help,” one of the two said, according to a post by the rescue. “She was badly hurt, and I couldn’t let any animal suffer like that.

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“I feel so relieved knowing that she is in good hands and that I played a part in saving her life. We wish I could help more animals in need.”

After assessing the situation and caring for the poor creature, the rescue uploaded photos of the gruesome wound and explained a little more of the cat’s story — including their best guess at why she ended up so horribly disfigured.

“This poor girl was brought in this weekend by good Samaritans,” the rescue posted. “Upon closer inspection, our team realized that firecrackers had been tied to her paw with rubber bands which, at that point, was severely infected and infested with maggots.

“There wasn’t really any paw left. What was still there was barely hanging on by the rubber band,” director of medical business, Jamie Wilson, said.

The cat had most likely been suffering since around the 4th of July, and with such a horrific injury, was probably unable to find food or water.

“Her bone was exposed and she was severely dehydrated,” Wilson continued. “I had to stop her from eating and drinking too quickly so she wouldn’t get sick.”

The limb was so damaged that the officials knew that removing the leg completely would give the cat — named Pickles — her best shot at recovering and getting back to a normal life.

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The photos reveal a neatly sutured wound where the damaged leg once was, and vets have said that she should heal completely with no major issues.

Pickles is still young at 3 years old, and will be ready for adoption and looking for her new family once she’s all healed up.

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to Humane Animal Rescue for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.

In the meantime, many are calling for authorities to determine who was at fault for this crime so that justice can be doled out. It’s concerning to think that a young person could be responsible for such an act of cruelty, as incidents like this often point to psychological issues.

“A child who abuses animals requires immediate intervention and treatment,” writes Gail Melson, Ph. D., for Psychology Today. “Animal abuse is often the first manifestation of serious emotional turmoil that may escalate into extreme violence, such as mass killing.”

Now that Pickles has gotten help, hopefully the perpetrator(s) will be located and get the help they need, too — both for their own sakes and so no more animals will suffer.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking