CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The cat who was badly scalded by boiling water is now recovering but has weeks of therapy and care ahead, according to the head of Ann Edgewater animal shelter.
“It’s going to be a while for this little guy, he’s got a long road,” said Abby Smith, executive director of the Felines and Canines shelter.
“After 14 1/2 years, you feel like you’ve seen everything, BB shots and cutting off ears. This is by far the worst.”
Leon Teague, 18, was formally charged with felony animal torture and a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty after a Facebook video surfaced showing him luring the cat and then pouring boiling water on him, according to police.
The cat ran off but was found last week near Teague’s home in the 6900 block of South King Drive after two women organized a desperate search for him. One of the rescuers, Humboldt Park resident Heather Weidmann, brought the cat to the shelter just this week.
Weidmann named the cat Driver.
“She said it was because he was driving through the pain and driving through the fear and coming out the other end,” Smith said.
A post on the shelter’s Facebook page shows large open wounds where the cat’s fur and skin was severely scalded. She said Driver is comfortable but “highly drugged.”
“He actually walked to use his litter box last night, which is great,” Smith said. “We’re grateful (the boiling water) didn’t get his face or head.”
Driver is currently undergoing some “debriding” procedures, according to Smith.
“You basically cut out all the necrotic and dead tissue,” Smith said. “He’s very close to having an infection. He will undergo this procedure, and we’ll get him started with laser therapy to help the new skin cells grow.
“After this he’ll go to rehab…then we’ll get him adopted,” she said.
Driver is “shockingly” friendly despite his ordeal, Smith said.
“He has every right to be mad at every human being,” she said. “It’s kind of crazy he’s so affectionate and likes to be petted still. We’re all dying to hug him. I want to see how he’ll be like in a home setting.”
The shelter has set up an online fundraising page, with donations covering Driver’s rehab and also the needs of other abused and neglected animals, Smith said.
“We’re confident he’s going to be OK,” she said. “It’s just going to take a long time and a lot of vet care.”
Here is the link to raise funds for Driver: