Cat purrs in the face of adversity

Pepper the cat wearing a crown while being held by her new family
Pepper is the picture of resiliency after a traumatic past
By Kelli Harmon

Here’s what we know about Pepper. The little black cat landed at a municipal shelter in Utah with a collapsed lung, broken ribs, an injured eye, a short tail and short front leg with part of her paw missing. All signs pointed to physical trauma in her past. From the shelter she came to Best Friends in Salt Lake City, where veterinarians examined her and worked out a plan to help her. While her past is a mystery, there’s one thing we can say with certainty. Pepper is a resilient soul.

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She had her injured eye removed, and vets prescribed a daily inhaler treatment to help her breathe more comfortably. Their next step was to place her in a foster home. Emily Capito remembers going to the Best Friends Lifesaving Center, and out of all the cats, Pepper was the one who stood out to her. Emily happens to be a therapist specializing in resiliency, and she immediately saw a kindred spirit in Pepper. She agreed to foster Pepper. That’s when she saw that Pepper wasn’t just surviving, she was thriving. She was chatty, calling out when she wanted attention and answering when her name was called. She played, cuddled with Emily’s kids and explored the house.

“She has so much heart and I relate to her on so many levels,” Emily says. It wasn’t long before Pepper felt like part of the family, and so they made it official and adopted her. Even after the adoption, Pepper gave everyone another surprise when an x-ray revealed an obstruction in her lung. A trip to a specialist for surgery to remove a stick from her lung solved that problem. Though Pepper’s body shows proof that she’s been through a lot, whatever happened to her hasn’t taken away her joy for life. She just keeps purring.

This article was originally published in the November/December 2022 issue of Best Friends magazine. Want more good news? Become a member and get stories like this six times a year.