When a tiny black-and-white kitten was picked up by animal control in Atlanta earlier this summer, the little creature was unwell and unpleasant. Appropriately dubbed Monster, the kitten hissed — and branded with behavioral issues. He was only 5 weeks old and also had serious vision and locomotion problems.

Because summer is kitten season and shelters are overrun with feline inhabitants, health and behavioral traits like this often lead to a fatal outcome. Shelters just don't have the staff to take care of all the abandoned newborn kittens who require bottle feeding and near round-the-clock care. Throw health issues into the mix, and there often just isn't room to save them.

But employees at Best Friends Animal Society decided to take a chance on Monster. They took him out of a local shelter and brought him into their adoption center, hoping to get him on the road to a new family. But first, he needed to get into a foster home where he could get the care he needed.

Hissing and health issues

Monster calmed his feisty behavior not long after entering his foster home. Monster's feisty behavior calmed down not long after entering his foster home. (Photo: Best Friends Animal Society)

Best Friends employee Kim McDaniel stepped up to temporarily care for the itty-bitty feisty feline. The kitten slowly stopped his spitting and hissing and began to allow McDaniel to pet him. But although his personality began to change, his health didn't. His vision was limited and his gait was wobbly.

Tests showed the kitten had feline panleukopenia, a serious and potentially fatal viral infection. Monster required several long weeks of treatment and definitely didn't feel well during his recovery. McDaniel took the opportunity to snuggle and pet the formerly cranky kitten and cuddle him as much as possible. She even set up his bed next to hers and spent lots of time teaching him how to have fun.

"I made sure to play with Monster a lot — with toys and items that weren’t fingers, hands and toes, so hopefully he wouldn’t associate those as playthings," McDaniel said. "When he got sleepy, I would hold him or put him on my lap. Eventually Monster would curl up right next to me and against me on the couch or in the bed, and sometimes even climb up on my lap on his own."

Finding a home

Monster, now Flapjack, cuddles with his canine brother in his new home. Monster, now known as Flapjack, cuddles with his canine brother in his new home. (Photo: Best Friends Animal Society)

Monster's vision and gait began to return to normal as the kitten started to heal. And once Monster's health started to turn around, he morphed into a typical kitten. The tiny terror careened around the house, playing with toys and showing off his adorable charm. McDaniel captured his kitty cuteness on her Instagram account and his antics quickly caught the eye of an adopter.

Monster — who goes by his new name now, Flapjack — has happily found a home with a canine brother and a feline sister and humans who are absolutely smitten with him. The hissing has been replaced by purring thanks to a rescue that took a chance on an angry, sick kitten with hopes for a better life.

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

Blind kitten gets chance at a happier, much-less-angry life
Monster the kitten defies the odds after an Atlanta rescue gives the feisty, sick feline a second chance.