ONLINE For video of Adam's road to recovery, visit pressdemo.com.It won't feel any different to Adam the cat, but from this day forward, Adam has a home.
It's the same house where he's spent nights and weekends for months, recuperating under the watchful eye of his nurse, Tina Wright of Animal Hospital of Cotati.
But now, after five months of surgeries and skin grafts, the little black cat is well enough to be officially adopted by his dedicated nurse.
"I gave adopting him a lot of thought because I have other pets, but what I realized is that he has bonded so strongly to me. I just didn't want to break that bond," said Wright, a veterinary nurse.
The kitten was found June 21, burned over 45 percent of his body in a cage on the banks of Paulin Creek in Santa Rosa's Apple Valley neighborhood.
The kitten was about 8 weeks old and was among several feral cats humanely captured by a good Samaritan who intended to deliver the cats to Forgotten Felines to be spayed or neutered.
But the cage was taken, some cats released and one -- later named Adam by caregivers -- was burned alive.
Two teenage girls were arrested in connection with the crime and face charges related to animal cruelty. The case was moving through Juvenile Court, and no further details were available.
"It's been a long journey, but now that Adam has been given a medical release, really all that's left is the paperwork," said Forgotten Felines executive director Jennifer Kirchner.
The little cat that lost his tail, the tops of his ears and most of the muscle mass on his back drew an outpouring of support as his story was picked up by wire services and went out across the country.
To track Adam's celebrity, Animal Hospital of Cotati staffers put up a map of the United States, using a yellow high-lighter to track calls from well-wishers. With those concerned calls came cash donations, nearly $40,000 to pay for care, including any future treatment.
"If a human had similar burns, typically that person would be put into a medically induced coma. They just couldn't take the pain. But Adam, he was eating, he was trying to walk. You couldn't deny it. He deserved a chance," said his surgeon, Dr. Lisa Alexander, who donated her time and skills to treating Adam.
During a series of surgeries, it was not unusual for Wright to take Adam home with her, setting her alarm clock to wake up every three or four hours to render medical treatment. Soon, she was taking Adam along to the grocery store, on errands -- really just about anywhere she needed to go.
Adams' life now moves away from the hospital setting and toward the simple pleasures of being a treasured housecat.
At seven months old, Adam is on the small side, but the folks at Forgotten Felines are expecting him to live a long and happy life.
"He looks little now, but when I look at his paws I can see that he's going to be a big, normal-sized cat. Don't worry, he'll grow into those paws," said Kirchner.
You can reach Staff Writer Rayne Wolfe at 521-5240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.