Burnie the cat - from agony to angel!


Written by Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager Mdzananda Animal Clinic

‘Burnie’ arrived at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic all by himself. He knew where to find help but was terrified of humans. For three weeks we could hear his call but we just couldn’t get to him. The little ginger cat had crawled under our pharmacy shipping container to hide; no amount of luring could bring him out. We simply left food for him overnight and hoped that soon he would allow us to help him.

A victim of superstition

Promise, one of our Animal Welfare Assistants, had tried to lure the frightened feline out every day. At last Burnie came out and climbed into Promise's arms. It was obvious that Burnie was very frightened of humans – and who could blame him?! He emerged from under the container just skin and bones. We were horrified to see that one side of his body and the top of his head was completely hairless and covered in burn wounds. We believe that he had been a victim of boiling water (something we sadly see all too often).

Unfortunately, there is a deeply ingrained superstition and belief in the Khayelitsha community that cats are the carriers of evil spirits or ancestors coming to haunt them. To get rid of the spirit the belief is to throw boiling water on the cat. We encourage all community members to spread the news about this untrue belief. Pouring boiling water on a cat only produces severe pain for the cat and is animal abuse. 

How his healing began

Burnie – as we nicknamed him - was admitted to our hospital for a week of intensive care and observation. He was given proper food, cleaned up, and his wounds treated. He responded well and was moved to the cat ward to continue his recovery.

Not only did his skin start healing but his soul did too. He soon started loving humans. Whenever someone passed his cage, he would run up and rub himself against the front - he just wanted it to be opened so that he could be stroked and cuddled. This once-scared cat had grown to love attention; he even enjoyed playing and nibbling our hands. We could never take a picture of his wounded side as he wriggled around too much, always rubbing up against people.

Burnie's physical wounds healed very slowly but very well. He was in our cat ward for three months. During this time we tried to find him a home but no one was interested...

Then we got in touch with LEAPS, another welfare organisation who works with many adoptions. Sandy Bremner from LEAPS agreed to help and she found a foster home for Burnie. The good news is that Burnie was in his foster home for only one week when Sofie Koevoets came to meet him. She promptly fell in love, renamed him Lunar Moon and now he has his forever family.

Lunar Moon’s owner, Sofie Koevoets, shares a little about her precious boy…

Lunar Moon is a very happy kitty! I’ve only had him for a short while so he’s still a little skittish but he is extremely affectionate and loves to play. 

The wound on his side is now healing nicely and, although he doesn't like it, he allows me to treat it with the special cream. Thankfully he doesn't seem be in any pain. I shudder when I think of his horror story and can’t believe people can be so cruel, but he’s safe with me now and we are enjoying getting to know one another.