The black kitten dubbed Van, after artist Vincent Van Gogh, who it is said acquired his ear mutilation by his own hand, was found July 9 in the bushes along Vernon Street in Roseville.
A good Samaritan brought the kitten to a veterinary hospital. The tops of each of the cat's ears had been snipped or chopped off.
A reward of $1,200 is offered for the arrest of the person who hurt the kitten. Tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at (916) 783-7867.
Transferred to the Placer Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the animal was placed into the hands of a pet foster veteran volunteer, Yvonne Anderson of Roseville. She reports that Van is working hard on his road to recovery.
At first, he battled a severe upper respiratory infection. Along with ear pain, he had a congested nose, watery eyes and ulcers on his nose, lips and tongue.
Anderson said in an e-mail that his ailments stopped him from eating and he lost weight. The feline had to be hand fed with a syringe four or five times a day.
For a long time, the kitten was weak, lacking in determination. On Wednesday, he seemed to turn the corner.
Van ate on his own for the first time in 12 days, Anderson reported. His energy level soared as he played with other animals in the household, a pit bull named Fiona, a Chihuahua named Molly and a 10-year-old foster cat looking for adoption named Bernadette.
The kitten follows Bernadette around the house, plays with toys and climbs furniture. Once again able to breathe, he can sleep soundly, an art perfected by cats.
"Great leaps and bounds have happened this week," reported Anderson. "We are looking forward to him being off all is medications, eating full meals and being a joyful little boy."
Meanwhile, Placer SPCA chief executive director Leilani Fratis said her blood still boils when she thinks of the pain endured by the kitten.
"I'm glad that he is overcoming something that was tortuous and miserable," said Fratis. "But I'm disappointed that we have not been able to find the people who are responsible for this."
Several potential owners have expressed interest in adopting Van after the kitten's full recovery, Fratis said.