Cat survived abuse and now wears sweaters to protect severe burn scars

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Cat survived abuse and now wears sweaters to protect severe burn scars
WATCH: It’s an animal abuse case that set records in Alberta. An offender was convicted and sentenced to a year-and-a-half behind bars for the horrific torment of a kitten. As Jill Croteau reports, the cat survived against all odds and was adopted by an incredibly caring Calgary couple. – Nov 14, 2022

His name means strength, and that may not be a coincidence.

An adopted orange tabby called Angus is one tough cat.

Angus relaxing on his ‘throne’. Jill Croteau/Global News

One of the Calgary police officers involved in the animal abuse case said it was the worst he’s ever seen.

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Acting Sgt. Dennis Smithson said Angus was badly injured in July 2020.

“He had come from a house where a domestic incident occurred.

“A young woman had come home and found him injured in his cat bed with all the burns on him.

“Her domestic partner disclosed he tried to give the animal a bath and maybe water was too hot… She noticed bleach and chemical stains on his clothes,” Smithson said.

Angus recovering under veterinary care. Courtesy: Margaret Doyle

Dr. Margaret Doyle is a forensic veterinarian who investigated the case.

“That’s why he is the one hardest on us, emotionally, because it’s hard not to think about what he went through,” Doyle said.

Angus as kitten, in recovery. Courtesy: Margaret Doyle

The offender was sentenced to 18 months in prison for animal cruelty. It was never revealed whether it was scalding liquid or a chemical burn that caused Angus’ injuries.

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“He was burned to over 30 per cent of his body,” Doyle said. “He ended up losing half his back feet and he lost a third of his tail and the tops of both his ears and his front paws are badly scarred.”

“He was in rough shape. It was day-to-day managing his pain.

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“I watched him coming home and not able to move, to learning to walk, to where he is now,” Smithson said.

Dennis and Margaret adopted Angus. Jill Croteau/Global News

Doyle and Smithson adopted Angus after becoming so attached. Doyle cared for him around the clock, taking him home to stay with her after hours.

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“Once he started to recover, he had such a sweet personality,” Doyle said.

“He went through a lot and I hope he doesn’t remember it because he was so young.”

“He came home and never left,” Doyle said. “I don’t want to have to worry whether someone is really taking good care of him.

“I only want him to never have an ache or pain in his life and I want him happy and comfortable forever.”

“In the four-and-a-half years I’ve worked on animal abuse files with the Calgary Police Service, this is the one that gets me the most,” Smithson said.

Part of his recovery resulted in him having to wear custom shirts and sweaters.

Angus’ wardrobe. Jill Croteau/Global News

His fashion comes with function because his skin is still so fragile and he needs to protect his scars.

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Angus wearing one of his sweaters. Courtesy: Dennis Smithson

“He was in baby onesies for the first five months of his life and now he graduated to shirts,” Doyle said.

Angus ‘playing games’ at home. Courtesy: Dennis Smithson

His collection of clothes is designed by a woman based in Quebec. Among the creations, she made him his own stenciled shirts.

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Angus wearing his own personalized shirt. Courtesy: Dennis Smithson

He even owns something a little more formal: a tuxedo.

Angus in his tuxedo. Courtesy: Dennis Smithson

“Now I am a crazy cat wardrobe person,” Doyle said.

“Now I own a cat that wears sweaters,” Smithson said.

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Angus even has his own Instagram account.

The couple is relieved Angus is now thriving.

Angus. Courtesy: Dennis Smithson

“These are tough cases and tough on everyone. We had a lot of tears because it’s not easy on investigators or the vets or the Crown prosecutor,” Smithson said.

“So to have him be as happy as he is, this is a vitally important thing for us to do.”

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