Meet the luckiest kitten in the world.
The tiny cat is being treated for heat burns to her face and body after she was rescued from a garden fire in South Tyneisde.
Now 14 weeks old and nicknamed Phoenix, she has been cared for by the team at RSPCA Felledge in County Durham since she was found cowering under pieces of wood after the fire broke out behind a garden fence in Cleadon on June 5.
A neighbour heard her cries and spotted her paw poking out from underneath the rubble.
After suffering fur loss on her ears, paws, toes, tail and face due to exposure to the extreme heat, Phoenix is now well on her way to recovery. Despite still needing several treatments a day for her injuries and still suffering fur loss while her skin heals, she is now able to play with other kittens and lead a normal life.
Luka Atkinson, reception supervisor at RSPCA Felledge, has fostered Phoenix since she arrived at the animal centre, to make sure she received the round-the-clock care and medical treatment she needed: "When Phoenix arrived she was in a really sorry state.
"She was just six weeks old back then and to see such a tiny kitten that way was really hard for us. The skin on all four of her pads was burnt off and the fur on her face, tummy and legs was singed - she was lucky to be alive," said Luka.
"The vet said the injuries Phoenix had suffered were not direct burns from the flames, but rather heat burns from the blaze. This meant the full extent of her injuries took a few days to come out; initially her fur looked singed and fuzzy but it gradually started to fall out and her skin started to crisp and fall off."
The team at Felledge worked around the clock treating Phoenix’s injuries- bathing and bandaging her, administering painkillers and keeping her skin cool and hydrated - while also continuing to care for more than 40 other rescue cats and kittens at the centre too.
Luka added: "It’s definitely been tough seeing Phoenix go through her recovery and she’s not out of the woods yet, but the whole time we have had her here she has been eating really well, drinking, and has loved cuddles and playing, so we knew we had to keep going with her treatment and give her a chance.
"For a time we were worried she had contracted pneumonia from the smoke inhalation but thankfully she was given the all-clear last week.
"Phoenix looks different because her eyelids are still healing so we are giving her eye drops several times a day. We are extremely grateful to eye specialist vet Iona Mathieson and the team at Eye Vet in Sutton Weaver who will be providing Phoenix with further treatment to her eyes which is fantastic.
"She is such a happy little thing and she eats, plays and loves fuss just like any other kitten, and we hope people won’t be scared by her appearance while she heals. She runs riots with the other kittens at our centre so we are just so happy we gave her a chance and saved her life - she really is the luckiest kitten in Britain.
"RSPCA Sunderland branch very generously covered the cost of Phoenix’s veterinary treatment and it was Insp Cathy Maddison, who rushed out to find Phoenix. Vet Gill Maxwell of Cestria Veterinary Centre in Chester-le-Street has helped treat Phoenix from the start and has been such a great support to us.
"Phoenix really has had an amazing team working so hard to help her recover. We have so many people already asking to rehome her so I’m sure in time she will go to a wonderful loving new home.”
To support the work of the RSPCA and help the charity continue to rescue and rehabilitate animals like little Phoenix, please text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).