WARNING: Images at the bottom of this story may disturbing for some viewers
A 3-month-old kitten found in a Chicago suburb with third-degree burns covering most of its body has died, less than a week after rescuers began their efforts to try and save the young animal.
"It is with great sadness that I am writing to tell you that Sprout passed away early this morning," a post on the Facebook page for Felines and Canines in Chicago read Tuesday. "His little body could not fight the trauma anymore. I know that some people disagreed with my decision to try to help him overcome his injuries, but what was most important here is that he knew love and peace in his final days, not pain and abuse."
The kitten, named Sprout by rescuers, was found last Wednesday and shelter officials believe someone may have attached fireworks to it.
Abby Smith, executive director of Felines and Canines, said she received a call Wednesday reporting a severely burned cat found in an alley in Harwood Heights.
“We believe that he was burned, possibly fireworks attached to him, something like that,” Smith said.
The shelter arranged for immediate emergency vet care for the kitten, which had been howing signs it could recover.
“He’s not giving up, which is why we’re doing this for him,” Smith said. “If we thought for a second he was suffering or in pain, we would humanely euthanize him.”
Many were quick to donate to the kitten's medical care, which quickly became costly for the shelter.
“It’s in the thousands already and it’s just been 24 hours,” Smith said.
Most importantly, the shelter hopes situations like this will help raise awareness to fight animal cruelty.
“I would beg people to, please, let everyone know this is not cool, it’s not fun, cruelty is cruelty, no matter what you’re doing it to,” Smith said. “And please, just stop this from happening again."