One-of-a-kind cat’s personality shines after surgery

Anna holding Butters the cat
After undergoing surgery, Butters needed a comfy place to recover. But foster care wouldn’t be just a temporary stop on his journey.
By Christina London

Butters is a cat of many jobs. He's a constant companion who's always available for snuggles. He's a special agent who goes on covert missions to nab toy mousies. He's a Broadway performer, reenacting scenes from The Lion King in his living room. Yes, Butters is a force with whiskers. But a hidden birth defect almost kept him from becoming the Renaissance cat he is today.

Butters gets better

Butters is a 1-year-old buff-and-white tabby with bright, mischievous eyes that let you know he’s always up to something. He came to the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City from a nearby shelter with a worrisome problem: blood in his urine. But the medical team was ready to help Butters feel better.

For Best Friends, it’s not only about a single cat like Butters. Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill in 2025, and that means working together with rescue groups and other animal welfare organizations to save pets’ lives, giving each one what they need to move out of the shelter and lead happy, healthy lives.

[Heart surgery saves a kitten’s life]

To diagnose Butters’ condition, staff took him to a local vet clinic that partners with Best Friends. X-rays revealed that he had a large bladder stone, which is unusual for young cats. But that wasn’t all: The ultrasound showed that his liver was abnormal.

“He had what’s called a liver shunt, which is a birth defect where the blood is shunted away from the liver, and you can have toxins and things build up in your bloodstream,” says Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Megan McCarthy. “That was actually the reason for the stone being formed.”

Butters underwent surgery to repair the shunt and remove the bladder stone. Then it was time for recovery. Butters needed several weeks of rest and a friend to keep an eye on him. That’s where foster volunteer Anna came in.

Foster win

In his foster home, Butters got the care and rest he needed to heal completely. Once he was feeling better, he could show his true personality — and oh boy, did he.

For starters, Butters is a playful prankster; you never know where he’s going to pop out of to catch a toy. He’s chatty as can be, and his curiosity knows no bounds. (He’s the self-appointed president of the neighborhood watch.) And cuddles? This affectionate guy can’t get enough of them, especially curling up in the crook of Anna’s neck when it’s time to sleep.

[Faces of No-Kill: Injured cat finds comfort in new home]

When Anna stepped up to be Butters’ foster caregiver, she knew he needed lots of TLC. What she didn’t know was how much he would burrow into her heart. She realized Butters was home for good and decided to officially adopt him. Today, Anna feels lucky to share a home with the Most Interesting Cat in the World.

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

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill in 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.

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