Rescue of the Week: Faith Saves Breadcrumb-Eating Kitten

A Nebraska woman who followed her own intuition and faith in the divine in a mission to save a dying kitten is this week’s feature from The Great Animal Rescue Chase.

I believe everything happens for a reason and even more so now. We had just moved to a new town and had barely gotten settled in when I had to put down my beloved Manx cat of 16 years, Adida. I was heartbroken, but it was time and I knew she would be waiting for me in heaven.

A few months went by and before we knew it, the Fourth of July was here. We were on our deck celebrating with friends when we saw a lady across the street walk to a row of trees. We thought little of it until she walked away and we began hearing mewing sounds from that area. My friend and I are avid animal lovers, so we ran to see what was going on.

There under the trees was a kitten so small and sickly-looking, it just broke our hearts. He was crying and shaking and sitting next to a bowl of breadcrumbs. Really, breadcrumbs for a kitten barely 6 weeks old with obvious medical problems! I was furious, but the focus for now was this poor little kitten.

Shawna Defies Veterinary Advice to Euthanize

I picked him up and he began purring. His shaking stopped and I cried a little because I believe he knew I needed him as much as he needed me. Right then and there I vowed to give him everything he needed to get through his ordeal.

That morning I took him straight to my vet’s office to get him started on the road to recovery. As the vet began checking him over, he started to look worried. He then asked me if I planned on keeping this kitten, and I said yes. He told me that the kitten had two internal parasites: mange and ring worm, and an ear infection from mites and that it would be better to give him to the Humane Society to have him put down. His chance for survival was less than 50 percent. And if he did survive, he would probably only live for five to six years because of the damage from his parasites.

I began to cry and told the vet that I was willing to do whatever it took to give this little guy the best chance at a good life. He deserved at least that much.  The vet agreed to help and we began the six month process of treatments. At that moment, I realized he needed a name and decided to go with a Fourth of July themed name with some spunk. So I began to call him Punky.

Daily Treatments Begin to Show Results

Punky was to be given a bath every day in medicated shampoo and was given three oral medications daily as well as special food. He was to be kept in a quiet room that would be easily cleaned. So every day for the next six months, Punky lived in the basement bathroom with only me as a visitor.

Between the baths, meds, and cuddle time, Punky and I became great friends. Needless to say, he grew to be quite the cat. He is now almost four years old and weighs around 13 pounds. He wants for nothing and knows every day that he is loved. It was rough going for a while, but I would’ve done the same thing again for this little guy. Everything happens for a reason!

Want to See Punky All Grown Up?

The photo of the kitten on this page is a likeness of Punky.  His actual kitten photos were sadly lost during a computer hard drive failure.  But, the full grown Punky is a beautiful sight.  Click here to see what Punky looks like today.

Have You Saved an Animal?

Shawna is a participant in The Great Animal Rescue Chase, a worldwide rescue event with the goal of bringing together one million everyday animal lovers to unleash one of the largest rescue operations of all time.  Every week features one participant from this event with an amazing story to tell.  Next week it could be you.  Please share your stories and photos on our website and in the comments below. You never know who you’ll inspire.  Thank you!


Laura Simpson is the Founder of The Great Animal Rescue Chase and the Harmony Fund international animal rescue charity.

Related Stories:

Rescue of the Week: Igloo Dog Leaps into Warm Car

Rescue of the Week: Knock at the Door Saves Bloodhounds


Photo credit: Shawna Svoboda
By Shawna Svoboda of Nebraska


Alexandra G.
Alexandra G3 years ago

beautiful :):)

Shirley Plowman
Shirley P3 years ago

These stories touch our hearts so much. When we reach out to help and value the lives of all living beings, 2 legged or 4 legged, we receive such a gift as well as those we help. It so much enriches our spirit, and opens us up to so much more compassion and understanding than we ever realized was possible. God Bless all persons with such kindness in their hearts.

Mary Cromley
.3 years ago

Good story.

Henry G.
Henry G4 years ago

Would have done the same. Though we did not find our one seal point Siamese, we did save him from a certain death when he was just a little boy. The cattery that had him knew he had a heart defect at birth and said they would euthanize him because of it. However, the lady that had the cattery knew how much we loved cats so she called us and ask us if we wanted to take him in, knowing he might only live a year. We took him in and he eventually did succumb to his heart defect. But, he lived a good life for seven whole years with his brothers around him loving him. He never had a need that wasn't taken care of. Months before his death we had doctors do a ultrasound on his heart just to be sure there wasn't anything we might have missed that could have spared him his fate. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do and about 7 months after his ultrasound his did pass away. He loved my son (who was away at college) very much. We had him in a nice powder room downstairs so he didn't have to climb any stairs during his sickness. The very last thing though that he did prior to his death is he got up out of his bed and made an effort to go upstairs to my son's room. He just adorned my son, as my son did him. He had the most beautiful blue eyes and longest legs I have ever seen on a Siamese. He was cremated and his picture and ashes sit very prominently in the house along with our 18 year olds ashes and picture that passed away a couple of years ago. He is greatly misse

Susan Duncan
Susan Duncan4 years ago

What a big, beautiful boy. Here's hoping he lives a very long, healthy life. They say kindness is its own reward, but I would say there was a priceless bonus as a result of this kind act!

Kathleen S.
Kathleen S4 years ago

You each saved the other. This is a wonderful story after reading about other animal stories. Thank you.

Patt Tashjian
Patt Tashjian4 years ago

Kudos to Shawna and this is also from Punky! Great job!!!

Terry T.
Terry T4 years ago


Denise Extence
Denise E4 years ago

Punky was just waiting for you to come into his life, he's your little angel and you are most definitely his, he certainly looks big and healthy now and it's all down to your special love and kindness xx

Carole R.
Carole R4 years ago

What a cutie.