Last fall, September or so, my wife and I already had 3 or 4 cats and had decided that we weren't going to take any more in, no matter what. I was fine with that. I had not grown up with cats, I was really a dog person and my wife had a couple of cats while growing up, but none for a while. The cats we did have were ferals that we found as very sick and abandoned kittens (except Dandy that I got from a shelter as a companion for our first foundling).
Even though I said I didn't really want any more, I kept my eye out for ferals around the area (we live in farm country). One afternoon, I was coming home from work and about a mile from the house, I saw something walking in the road ahead. I began to slow down because the way it was moving, I thought it was an armadillo and I hate to run those things over even if they're already dead. As I got closer, I could see that it was a small cat. He appeared to be staggering a bit and did not run to get out of the road as I approached. I pulled off to the side of the road behind him and got out of the truck. I said something to him about needing to get out of the road, and he acknowledged my presence for the first time by turning his to look at me and opened his mouth, but no sound came out.
By this time, I had decided to take him home with me. I got to him and picked him up and put him in the truck beside me. I only really glanced at him as I picked him up....he looked really dirty. His hair felt clumpy and almost sticky. I remember thinking that his hair looked funny, almost singed looking. As I got the truck going on toward the house, I took a closer look at him at about the same time he finally found his voice. He looked to be about 10 weeks old, a brown tabby with a bit of a squeak in his meow. The more I looked at him, the more I thought something didn't look right. Right before I got to the house, I picked him up and looked at him face on; then I smelled it.....smoke and singed hair.
I knew I had to get him to a vet, but I wanted to take a closer look at him first and get a carrier. My wife was home that day and I announced that I had found another cat and that it looked like it was burned. She didn't believe me and came downstairs to take a look.
He really was a pitiful sight. Nearly all of his hair was singed, though not completely burned off. The pads on three of his four feet were badly burned. He had no whiskers on his body at all. The tip and bridge of his nose were badly burned and the outside edges of his ears were black all the way around. My wife gave him some water while I got a carrier set up for him to go to the vet.
The vet confirmed that he had been burned (duh). I'm pretty sure he had to have been thrown into a fire as I'm pretty sure cats are at least THAT smart not to just jump in. Burnie, as we were to name him, got some antibiotics and salve for his feet, ears, and nose.
For the next couple of weeks, twice a day we put salve on his burned body and tried to keep him from jumping around on his burned feet. Eventually we began to see pink color return to his feet and nose as new, healthy skin replaced the dead. Only the edges of his ears remained black and crusty. My wife took him in for a checkup and to have his rabies/feline FLv shots and asked the vet about the dead skin. Before my wife knew what happened, the vet had pulled the dead skin off his ears. She said he screamed like.....well like he was having skin torn off. She said she cried when that happened. The good thing about it was that his ears were bleeding, showing that he had good blood flow to the area. The loss of tissue in that area has left his ears rounded and scalloped.
That was last year, and I'm happy to say that Burnie is growing up happy, healthy and very well adjusted. He gets along with everyone else in the house and is usually the first one to accept someone new. He's patient with the kittens, will play fight with them, and teach them to stalk.
The skin around his eyes shrank a little during the healing process giving him a permanent squint. We occasionally call him "Squintin' Clint" after Clint Eastwood. He is an in/out guy and will occasionally stay out all night, but mostly comes in for the evening. He is neutered by the way.
We love him very much and think he is beautiful.