Disabled orange kitten with VERY angry face becomes new internet star


An adorable disabled kitten with an angry face has become a new Internet sensation.

Tater Tot, a rescue cat on a long journey to recovery, has charmed Facebook and TikTok users around the world with his messy hair and mismatched casts on his front paws — which his foster mom calls his ‘bodankabonks.’

The orange kitten was found by Ash Houghton’s border collie outside her Utah home when he was just over a day old.

‘We saw that all four of his legs were malformed,’ Houghton told WKRG. ‘His front legs were stuck at a 90-dgree bend and his back legs were totally curly.’

He was also born with a cleft palate.

Now, thousands of cat lovers worldwide are watching his progress as they create fan art and memes, and donate to his rescue organization, Kitty CrusAIDE.

Tater Tot, a special needs kitten with messy hair and a mean look, has become an Internet sensation

Tater Tot, a special needs kitten with messy hair and a mean look, has become an Internet sensation

The kitten was fitted with mismatched casts and splints for his front legs, which had jutted out at a 90-degree angle

The kitten was fitted with mismatched casts and splints for his front legs, which had jutted out at a 90-degree angle

Once those were fixed, Tater Tot got new yellow casts and splints on his back legs

Once those were fixed, Tater Tot got new yellow casts and splints on his back legs

 When Houghton first met Tater Tot last month, she noticed he still had feeling and motion in his legs.

She tried to feed him with a syringe, she said, but he could not figure out how to drink from it.

‘Normally, when you’re first bottle feeding the kittens, it’s not a natural feeling for them, so they kind of struggle for a minute or two, but eventually they’ll kind of understand what they’re doing, and that instinct will kick in,’ Houghton told Rover

‘But this little dude just wasn’t getting it.’

At that point, she and rescuers from Kitty CrusAIDE decided to look inside Tater Tot’s mouth, and they realized he had a cleft palate.

Fortunately, Houghton knew how to tube feed him.

‘We were just taking it kind of hour by hour, and he has just really, really fought to be here.’

After a short while, the rescuers were able to get casts and splints on his front legs — a pink on on his right leg and a teal on on the left. 

‘From Day One, I could see Tater had a lot of spunk, a lot of motivation,’ Houghton said. ‘And as long as he is fighting to stay alive, we’re going to keep fighting for him.’ 

Ash Houghton's border collie found Tater Tot when he was just over a day old, and she quickly noticed all four of his legs were malformed

Ash Houghton’s border collie found Tater Tot when he was just over a day old, and she quickly noticed all four of his legs were malformed

He also had a cleft palette, so Houghton had to feed him through a tube

He also had a cleft palette, so Houghton had to feed him through a tube

As with all the cats she has rescued over the years, Houghton decided to share his progress on social media.

Eventually, someone tagged on of her photos to the Facebook group THIS CAT IS GROMPY.

‘I was like, “Oh this is funny. He does look really grump in this picture, I’ll post it,”‘ Houghton recounted. ‘Then it got thousands of likes, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve never had this happen before.”‘

Soon, fans started asking for updates about Tater Tot, and Houghton decided to create her own group to share content, Tater Tot and his Spudbuds, which now has more than 20,000 members from the US, Europe, New Zealand and South Africa.

‘The intention behind the group was just to share his updates, and then I really wanted to highlight other animals with special needs, share their stories and see if we can maybe help other creatures that have disabilities get adopted.’

It has since taken off, filled with pictures of people sharing photos of their own rescue cats and memes of Tater Tot.

The young kitten has gained attention around the worldwide. He is pictured here at a local Harley Davidson

The young kitten has gained attention around the worldwide. He is pictured here at a local Harley Davidson

Many online have made memes of the young kitten's many face expressions

Many online have made memes of the young kitten’s many face expressions

A Facebook group dedicated to sharing updates about Tater Tot has more than 20,000 followers from the US, Europe, New Zealand and South Africa.

A Facebook group dedicated to sharing updates about Tater Tot has more than 20,000 followers from the US, Europe, New Zealand and South Africa.

Tater Tot's rise to fame began when Houghton shared one of his pictures to the THIS CAT IS GROMPY Facebook page

Tater Tot’s rise to fame began when Houghton shared one of his pictures to the THIS CAT IS GROMPY Facebook page

Tater Tot has since gotten his front, mismatched casts removed and was filmed recently trying to walk around Houghton’s house.

‘He was like a new kitten when we got those off,’ she told KSL-TV. ‘I think it’s kind of been wearing him out, being able to have as much motion as he’s had and be able to get around as much as he’s been able to because those splints really hindered his ability.

‘Before that, he would walk on the tips of his toes or the front of his paws,’ she explained. ‘He couldn’t put his paw flat to walk, and now he’s doing great.’

Tater Tot is now sporting yellow casts on his back legs, and Houghton says it will be a while before he will be healthy enough to be put up for adoption.

He still has to undergo a number of medical procedures, including one to correct his cleft palette, which cannot be completed for another nine months to a year. 

Tater Tot is now sporting yellow casts on his back legs, and Houghton says it will be a while before he will be healthy enough to be put up for adoption

Tater Tot is now sporting yellow casts on his back legs, and Houghton says it will be a while before he will be healthy enough to be put up for adoption

In the meantime, Houghton says she is amazed by the impact Tater Tot is having.

‘I feel like Tater Tot is really bringing a lot of joy to a lot of people,’ she said. ‘I feel like he’s brought people from all different walks of life together.

‘All of the comments and the posts and the shares have been really positive, and you don’t see that very often anymore.

‘It’s just been amazing… to be able to share something that is having such a positive impact.’ 



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