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Those Burned Kittens at Pet Heaven - How are They Doing?
email this pageprint this pageemail usJulie Bunker - PVNN
August 30, 2010

Julia, Sherman and Cesar on their first day at Pet Heaven.

Cesar, Sherman and Julia - during recovery.

Sherman - fully recovered.

Julia - fully recovered.

Cesar - fully recovered.

Sherman (black) and Arturito (gray) will go with their new "forever" mommy, Attorney Maria O'Connor from Tropicasa Realty. Julia (middle) will go with new "forever" mommy, Lane Bowles.
It's impossible to predict what any given day will bring into one's life. Things go along from day to day with no changes to speak of. As administrator of the shelter, I go to Pet Heaven nearly every day to assist the vet on duty and to know what is happening with each and every cat there. You never know when a 'situation' will pop up and change your life forever... but one did pop up for me during the first part of June of this year.

Dra. Eva Campos Torres (vet on duty) and I had driven out to Pet Heaven on Friday, June 4th and upon arrival the caretaker there, Eloisa, presented us with a small box containing 3 tiny kittens - litter mates only 4 weeks old.

I saw them from across the room at first glance and immediately thought, "What's wrong with the little black one's whiskers?" I had no idea that his whiskers had been singed down to that short length because of having had close proximity to extreme heat. His sister and brother were the same just not as easy to distinguish due to their lighter color.

The smell of the charred kitten soon became apparent... their little blackened paws, fur loaded with ashes and even some burns on tummies, ears, mouth/nose, and one even on Cesar's back and around his eye.

Their story was published later that month - and soon many folks in our Bay knew of "the burned kittens" found just outside of the gates of Pet Heaven - wandering lost on the dirt road and very uncomfortable from their 3rd degree burns. Truly horrifying... and we still have no idea how they were burned and probably never will... but we do know that 3 kittens wouldn't wander into extreme heat on their own.

The decision was made that their quality of life was such that they were good candidates to recover putting euthanasia out of the immediate plan - but they would need very special and time-consuming care.

Bandages were placed on all 'twelve' paws that Friday the 4th of June after first loading them with a combination of soothing salves. But the next Monday, when Dr. Alberto Cervantes Romero came on duty at Pet Heaven, we saw that their wounds needed 'air' as well.

But what to do if we left the bandages off and the kittens started chewing at their wounded feet? (it's apparently common for an animal to 'mutilate' a wounded area by chewing). So Dr. Alberto asked if I would take the 3 home with me for one night 'bandage-less' and see how they did. That was the moment - with that situation that popped up - that changed my life forever. Of course I had no idea that one night would turn into 3 months.

I spent that first night on the sofa, awake more than asleep, watching for signs of chewing. There were none - and none ever developed. But, there was the problem of them "going to the bathroom" and then walking in it with open wounds on their paws. So there was constant cleaning involved. That is when I knew I'd have them at home with me for the rest of their recovery.

They went through various stages. I would take them out to Pet Heaven for vet visits - for a number of reasons. They did well on the long drives out - sleeping the entire way.

And so my time was spent with them. Soon they didn't need to always stay in the cage I had at home for them and I began to let them out for periods of time to 'explore' and they began to actually play with my own adult cats - and the one 'adolescent' kitten we have. I spent literally hours upon hours just watching them - discovering, playing, sleeping, interacting. It's beautiful how cats, so effortlessly, accept one another unconditionally and form families.

Now, nearly 3 months later I'm faced with an entirely new problem. Don't get me wrong - the kittens are fine! It's ME. I now have such a deep love for them. HOW will I give them up for adoption? Keep them you say? ...when we already have 8 cats of our own during these most difficult financial times? This is where I am now - facing the fact that this absolutely glorious time in my life with these darling 'burned kittens' is coming to an end.

All of the wounds have now healed. During the healing process, though, we saw that Julia's and Cesar's claws were badly damaged and some claws simply 'not there' anymore. Some toes actually were "fused" together, also - all of this making INDOOR ONLY homes absolutely mandatory for them. Julia is now spayed. Sherman and Cesar are neutered. They have all of their vaccinations current. No parasites and no fleas. I have no more excuses for keeping them with me any longer.

Julia will be the first to leave, and by the time this article goes to print she will be with her brand new mommy, Lane Bowles. Lane and her sister, Sue Merante, are recent transplants to Vallarta from Denver, retired, divorced and widowed, and were reportedly feeling strange that their new home had no cat hair! They contacted me at Pet Heaven and came to visit the shelter.

Sue chose "Bonita" to adopt - an absolutely beautifully marked brown and black kitten rescued from the street quite ill and in dire need of loving attention. Then when I heard that Lane wanted a female "red-head" and that their kittens would always remain indoors, I invited them to my home to meet Julia. It was a match meant to happen.

Sherman will be the next to leave us. A local attorney with Tropicasa Realty, Maria O'Connor, tagged Sherman 2 months ago as "hers" - this of course after having received the green light from her 3 resident adult cats already in her family.

Along with Sherman, Maria is also adopting another Pet Heaven kitten named "Arturito" who is named after the young man, Arturo, who found the solid gray kitten tied in a plastic bag in one of the trash piles we see in the local neighborhoods. I know, I know... who would do these things? Throw kittens away like garbage? Or BURN them?

Cesar still needs a loving INDOOR home. And it would be wonderful for his prospective family to also adopt a little kitten playmate for him since he has grown up in a big "family" with many felines to play with thus far in his 4 months of life. He is quite social and LOVES to romp and play.

He is the biggest size-wise of the 3 and loves to show off pouncing on his brother and sister - pouncing, rough-housing, rocking and rolling! Then he takes long, "deep sleep" naps. What an ANGEL he is! Please contact me if you are interested in giving him his "forever home" and I will then select the home best suited to little Cesar's needs.

So, the end of this magnificent time in my own personal life is drawing near. There are no words in English, Spanish or any other language to express my gratitude at having been the person in the right place at the right time to have had the utter joy of living this experience with these precious living souls... the little burned kittens.

Please consider opening your home to the adoption of a rescue animal... cat, dog, whatever. It is a life enriching experience and you'll be a better person for it. And if you cannot take an animal permanently, we at Pet Heaven are also looking for folks who will "stand by" to foster kittens should the need arise - even if it's just to give the 'runt' of a litter some much needed TLC for a couple of weeks.

So - I bid you farewell my "quemaditos" - my little burned ones. May you be richly blessed with long lives full of fun, adventure and peaceful naps with your new 'forever' families. Your sweet faces will remain forever and ever "burned" into my heart.

Pet Heaven runs solely on donations and is in great need of funds to get us through the summer. For US Dollar donations to Pet Heaven and to receive your tax exempt receipt, mail your check to PET HEAVEN, INC. 7955 E. Chaparral #24, Scottsdale, Arizona 85250, or go to to send via PayPal. For Mexican peso donations or for more information, email me, Julie, at julievallarta(at)

Pet Heaven is a Non-Profit shelter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico that provides homeless cats and kittens a recuperative stay with the ultimate goal to adopt them out to loving homes. All of our residents have been sterilized, vaccinated and are disease free. We accomplish this through our own efforts as well as collaboratively with other animal welfare organizations. Both monetary donations as well as donations of dry cat food are most welcome and much appreciated. For more information, visit or look for Pet Heaven on Facebook.

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