‘Miracle kitten' thrives after lifesaving surgery

Zora the kitten with a lit up Christmas tree in the background
Zora went from near death to a loving home, inspiring everyone she met along the way.
By Christina London

“I truly don’t know how she survived.”

This is how Dr. Megan McCarthy, veterinarian at the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City, sums up Zora’s story. The tiny kitten with huge gold eyes embodies the resilient spirit of animals.

Kitten survival story

Zora's journey began with an SOS from a local shelter partner. Found injured and alone outside in the cold, Zora was in desperate need of immediate medical care.

“She had really deep punctures on either side of her spine,” says Dr. Megan. “She had an extremely large, infected wound on her lower abdomen all the way down her leg to her ankle.”

We don’t know for sure what happened to Zora, but her wounds seemed to indicate that she was attacked by a larger animal. Despite the severity of her injuries, Dr. Megan felt Zora still had a fighting chance. Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill in 2025, and that means working together with other animal welfare organizations to give each pet a chance at a happy, healthy life.

[Heart surgery saves a kitten’s life]

Zora underwent emergency surgery to clean and close her wounds. She made it through surgery like a champ, surprising and winning over the entire vet staff in the process.

“We were amazed that one, she was even still alive. And two, she was walking, she was eating, she was accepting pets, making biscuits, headbutting us, just (being) super friendly,” says Dr. Megan.

But Zora wasn’t home free just yet. Once in stable condition, she entered foster care to begin her road to recovery.

An indomitable spirit

It would take time and TLC to heal from her extensive injuries, and a comfortable foster home was exactly what Zora needed. She had to wear a medical cone the whole time she was there, but even that didn’t dampen her playful and affectionate spirit. In foster care, she reveled in simple joys, such as playing with toys and snuggling with her human and feline companions.

As the weeks passed, Zora's wounds healed and her fluffy brown fur grew back, covering the scars of her harrowing ordeal.

[Tiny but mighty: a kitten’s journey]

After she received a clean bill of health, the staff at the lifesaving center matched Zora with an adoptive family in no time. Nowadays, Zora is living her best life — no longer in survival mode but thriving in a loving home where she's cherished every single day.

Dr. Megan puts it best: “Cats never cease to amaze me — that they can go through something that traumatic and still survive and be lovable and want attention.”

“We’re so, so proud of our little miracle kitten.”

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

Saving lives around the country

Together, we're creating compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who care for them.

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