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A Woman Found This Furball Crying In Her Backyard – But He Grew Into A Mighty Panther Cat

Image: Facebook/Pooter’s Page / Facebook/Pooter’s Page
When animal-lover Sandi Zani heard strange noises coming from her backyard, she knew she had to investigate. It was as if the high-pitched sounds were a cry for help. She wondered, then, if it was an injured bird calling for its mom. But any questions were answered when she spotted a tiny fluffball curled up next to the roses.
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Zani lives in Pensacola, Florida, in a house that some might argue has been claimed by her felines. Zani clearly finds them to be purr-fect living companions, though, given the extent to which she’s been outnumbered by them.
Image: Facebook/Pooter’s Page
Zani’s dedication to her posse of kitties started after she rescued a cat named Pooter from her doorstep in 2005. And since then, she has expanded her team of feline friends with additional rescues Sophia, Gilligan and Professor Jackson. But she wasn’t finished with her cat collection there, either.
Image: Facebook/Pooter’s Page
As Pooter’s very own Facebook page reveals, his fur-family experienced both a loss and a gain in 2017. “Jackson passed away fwom renal failure in March of 2017,” it reads. What life took away with one hand, though, it gave back with the other.
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One day in July 2017 Zani heard a strange disturbance coming from the backyard. The shrill noises initially sounded like a baby bird, so she went to investigate. And if the noises had indeed come from a chick, the cats might have seen it as easy prey.
Image: Facebook/Pooter’s Page
“When it kept crying I went out to investigate,” Zani told cat fan site Love Meow in January 2018. But after following the noises, Zani didn’t find a chick. “[I] found a little ball of fluff in my rose bushes next to the catio [an outdoor kitty enclosure or patio],” she recalled.
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The black little bundle was a tiny kitten, and what’s more, its sudden materialization was something of an enigma. Since a fence surrounds the yard, there was no obvious way that it could have entered by itself. Regardless of how it got there, though, the kitten would surely die without its mommy.
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And so there was nothing else Zani felt she could do but put herself at the disposal of yet another cat. She took the little fluffer in, gave it a warm improvised bed and immediately bought it some kitten baby milk. Then she took it to the vets for a health check-up.
Image: Facebook/Pooter’s Page
Zani even hijacked Pooter’s Facebook account to keep followers informed on developments. “Mommy here,” she wrote on June 26, 2017. “Just back from the vet [and] it’s a boy!! Dr. Walt thinks Little Bit is not even two weeks old.”
Image: Facebook/Pooter’s Page
In fact, the kitten was so young that he had to wait four weeks to have his proper tests. Pooter’s expressed opinion was that the kitten was a gift from his passed sibling. “[Jackson] sended mommy a kitten,” his page reported, once he’d apparently wrested back control of his social media account.
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Zani, meanwhile, called the kitten Kieran Von Fluffypaws and dedicated herself to his care. Indeed, she spent the next two weeks bottle-feeding Kieran. And initially the devoted carer roused herself every 120 minutes during the night in order to feed him.
Image: Facebook/Pooter’s Page
Luckily, Zani wasn’t alone, because she had help from her best friend. “I… enlisted my bestie Kimberley to cat-sit while I’m at work, [and Kieran’s] still bottle feeding,” she explained. But little Kieran was growing rapidly with each passing day.
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Soon, the little furball was able to eat solid foods. Not only that, but he was turning into quite the intrepid explorer. Nothing was safe from his inquisitive paws, including his human mommy’s leg!
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Kieran’s adopted siblings seemed happy to have him around, though. Indeed, they didn’t just welcome him into the family; they also guided his development. The older cats in fact taught him everything they knew. They shared everything with their little brother, including dinner time, playtime and nap time.
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Thanks to the nurturing of Zani and the other cats, Kieran grew big and strong. He may have started out as a tiny ball of black fluff, but now he’s hardly recognizable as the same cat. It certainly amazes Kieran’s rescuer just how much he has changed since arriving in her life.
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“I can’t believe how quickly Kieran has grown into a beautiful sleek house panther,” she told Love Meow. What’s more, Zani said she feels like the lucky one. “I may have rescued him, but he saved me in return,” she explained.
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And although Kieran looks like a miniature jungle cat now, in many ways he’s still the same kitten. For example, his love for his mother is just as strong as it ever was; he still loves hugging mommy’s leg, just as he did when he was a kitten.
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He’s also just as mischievous now he’s grown. And given Kieran’s lifelong love of shoelaces, Zani’s house must be a dangerous place to walk in. You never know when a stealthy panther is going to make your shoes his next target.
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If Zani hadn’t rescued Kieran, he wouldn’t have made it on his own, of course. And the amount of love and joy he clearly brings into her household makes a great argument for adopting rescues. Zani’s cats are all rescued kitties, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
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As she told Love Meow, “I joke that I don’t have to go to the shelter to rescue cats… They all seem to find me!” Kieran struck lucky indeed, because black cats are often overlooked in shelters across the USA. But just look at Kieran… Who could ignore that face?

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