A reddish-brown female kitten was found Friday afternoon in Washington’s Port Williams neighborhood, reportedly with the two sets of four ears above the head.
The cat’s owner, Nickia O’Connor, said she didn’t know what would have caused the side effects, but wondered if her boyfriend had caused them.
“Either way, that’s really terrifying. Someone can mess up you, literally mess up your whole life,” she said.
O’Connor shared photos of the kitten on Facebook with the caption, “Found this tiny kitten yesterday near Clovers Lane and N. Willow Rd in Port Williams. Not sure what happened here. #fourearedkitten.” The post went viral, and more than 41,000 people had viewed it at time of writing.
The feline’s call for help came from a family who lives in the Glenview neighborhood.
“My mom noticed a strange paw print in her grass and called us. This poor cat had been hit by a car,” the family wrote on Facebook.
O’Connor guessed that the kitten had been hit by a car, too, and handed the 12-month-old animal to a woman she knew to take care of the cat.
The kitten, whose condition had worsened, was taken to a hospital and the community rallied around it, offering to adopt it, volunteers said on Facebook.
“Cats are pretty superstitious, and so we don’t really know what that meant,” O’Connor said.
A couple in nearby Chantilly offered to keep the kitten for O’Connor if she couldn’t keep it. That would require surrendering the kitten to the animal control office. They were agreed, but they weren’t feeling so confident after watching the online reaction, O’Connor said.
Another family from Falls Church offered to care for the kitten at a shelter, but when the process of surrendering the cat to the shelter would have involved giving up the kitten’s two rear ears, she wasn’t so sure, she said.
“I wasn’t sure it would be OK to go that far,” she said.
Fortunately, that family had agreed to adopt the cat after all.
“They offered to give her a home, no matter what,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said she wanted the kitten to find a new home and to recover from the incident. But, she said, “I also want her to have that value-added experience as a four-eared person.”
She said she would like the kitten to get used to hearing and seeing sounds and the voices of people.
“As long as it’s an animal-loving family with some positive interactions with other animals, I think that’s going to be the best thing for her,” she said.
O’Connor and her fiancé Kevin Penatala, also of Port Williams, posted on Facebook that they were checking on the cat and that the hashtag #fourearedkitten had been banned from their Facebook page.
The cat will be staying at the Great Falls Rescue Animal Shelter while its four ears heal, and the community has rallied around it there, she said.
“We have so many people getting involved,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed with emotion.”
O’Connor said she loved her boyfriend, and expected to be reunited with the cat in the near future.
“She’s going to be good,” she said. “She’s going to heal well.”