Last week, a building inspector found the stray, hungry and covered with thick tar. She took it to a veterinary hospital for help. The vet and the rescuer say the kitten's experience was not an accident.
Despite her busy schedule as a building inspector, K.T. Tomlinson manages to check in on her new friend at the veterinary hospital almost every day.
"We found her last Monday," Tomlinson said. "She was covered with tar or waterproofing substance and apparently had been on her own since Thursday before.
"But she still likes to be held and she still likes to be loved and she's still purring."
Tomlinson believes the tar came from a home construction site near Four Oaks and, though she can't prove it, she suspects the deed was intentional.
"I immediately believed that somebody else had done it, because it wasn't on her paws or stomach like if the cat had crawled into something," Tomlinson says.
The staff called the vet school at N C State University looking for a safe way to dissolve the tar and save Tar Baby's life.
"So we used vegetable oil. It was non- toxic and it dissolved the tar. It took us about an hour and a half to get it off," said Dr. Robbie McCracken of Willow Run Veterinary Hospital.
"I just can't imagine who would feel like a better person for hurting a little animal," Tomlinson says.
Tomlinson and the vet staff hope the kitten's fractured leg will heal on its own. The hair will grow back. All this stray needs now is a home.
"I have three and they're indoors, and a dog that's indoors, and she wouldn't last very long there," Tomlinson says.
Several people around the Smithfield area have called expressing an interest in adopting the kitten.
And others have donated money to pay for her care.
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