WEST VALLEY CITY — The little black and white kitten already has a fitting name, should he find an owner.
"Lucky would be a good name," Autumn Wagner, community cat coordinator for Best Friends Animal Society suggested Saturday. "He is up for adoption, so he is looking for his new home and has quite a story.
The male kitten, who is believed to be between 6 and 7 weeks old, was found last month with his feet glued together. His tail has been glued to his feet, Wagner said.
His sister had either been dipped or submerged in a bucket of cement adhesive near where the pair was found in West Valley City, around 3900 West and 3200 South. She was spotted, but it took nearly a week for those who saw her to capture her, which they did successfully Thursday.
She died on Saturday.
"They tried really hard," Wagner said of those who attempted to save the kitten.
At first she said she thought it was plausible that the glue ended up on the cats by accident, because the male kitten had glue only in patches. But once she saw his sister, she felt it had to be intentional because the all-white kitten was totally submerged in the bucket of adhesive.
Wagner said the female kitten's mouth had been open when she was dunked and that the adhesive may have soaked into her skin. The kitten may also have ingested the adhesive as she tried to clean herself.
"I just thought, "How can anyone take a little creature like this and intentionally inflict them with something so hazardous?'" Wagner said. "I just think we should be taking these guys and trying to help them and not harm them."
Jeanette Gilman found the male kitten in the bushes behind her home on June 19. It was crying and she could immediately tell something was wrong.
"It looked like tar," she explained of the substance coating the kitten. "In fact, I call it 'tar baby.' It was just thick, gooey stuff."
For five hours, she tried to clean the kitchen with soap and water.
"That little thing laid in my hand like this and just let me scrub and scrub and scrub," Gilman said. "I thought for sure it was going to die."
But eventually, the little cat found the energy to lick Gilman's face. "That made it worth it," she said.
With three cats of her own, Gilman opted not to keep the kitten, but she cared for him and nursed him to health, turning him over to West Valley City Animal Services after several days.
A 5-gallon bucket of cement adhesive was found with its lid broken at Gilman's neighbor's home. It was that neighbor who noticed the female kitten and worked for several days to capture it and help it. Gilman said that neighbor has a large yard and that it would be easy for people to enter unnoticed.
Nathan Beckstead, field supervisor for West Valley and Taylorsville Animal Services, said what had happened to the cats left him "sickened" and his agency is investigating.
"We'll start out by getting the vet report, getting statements from anyone who dealt with the cat," he said, noting that, if caught, the person responsible could face felony charges.
Gilman said she hopes something is done about what happened, if it was intentional.
"Nobody should have to have any animal go through that," she said.
The kitten's mother is a feral cat who is fed and cared for by several people in the area. Since this incident she has been fixed and released.
There were two other kittens in the litter who were unharmed. Those two kittens, and their brother who survived the glue incident, are all available for adoption through West Valley City Animal Services, 801-965-5800.