Dutchess Burned Kitty, Healing Updates and a Touching Video

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Dutchess was rescued with 2nd and 3rd degree burns from the Saybrook, IL fire of September 19 that took all of her family’s possessions, their home, and the life of the family dog.

Firefighter Toni Day made the rescue when she picked up the burned kitten who was found hiding under a sofa and handed her out through a window, saving her life.

After first being taken to Central Illinois Small Animal Rescue, where she was provided with care, Dutchess was taken to the University of Illinois’ Small Animal Clinic. Along with smoke inhalation, Dutchess suffered severe burns.

Petmom Jackie Jones’ insurance was not going to cover Dutchess’ care, so the clinic donated money from a special fund, and rescuer Toni Day set up both a Facebook page and a care fund. Donations totaling more than $10,000 came in, which was more than enough to cover her expected medical costs, so the fund was suspended, with the understanding it could be reopened if necessary, to cover additional costs.

Firefighter Toni Day has remained committed to the young cat she rescued. She visits her in the clinic, keeps abreast of her condition and medical care, and shares updates with supporters at the The Dutchess Burn Fund Facebook page.

For more background, see our earlier stories, Dutchess Burned Kitten Recovers, Cheered on by Friends and Supporters, from October 28 and Dutchess Burned Kitten Gets Help and Recovers, from October 9.

Two recent video updates from Toni bring us up to date on Dutchess’ recovery and show how much her fur has grown back in. She looks remarkably better than the poor charred creature who came out of the fire.

November 4 visit and update by Toni Day.


November 11 visit and update by Toni Day.


November 11 update from the Facebook page:

“Here is the Latest: We talked with Dr. Herring and the prognosis on her one back leg is still in the air. Her joint capsule is exposed and the skin is not healing as well as we had hoped. She may need surgery to “cover” the exposed capsule. Her eyes will need the surgery as most of you know, but will not occur until she is fully healed…I am awaiting a call tomorrow on the cost of both surgeries to see where we are at financially. Of the $10,000 in donations we have utilized $6,500. That doesn’t leave much room for BOTH surgeries. I am going to talk with the U of I business office to see if we can open up the donations for a little bit so that both surgeries can be covered should the need arise. I will keep everyone updated as I hear more information. Hopefully we won’t need to ask for further donations, but I shall let you all know if we do. Thank you all for your continued support in her recovery.

“Dutchess’ eye surgery will allow her eyelids to flip back to a more normal position instead of being inside out from the pulling of the scar tissue. She can’t have the surgery until her paws are healed to reduce the chance of infection. Her little body can only handle so much at one time.”


Dutchess the Burned Kitten. This video,  comes with the warning. “This will make you tear up.” It’s a touching look at Dutchess, from her life before the fire, through her recovery process to where she is today. Included are images from her burned out house, and visits from family members.



Finally, in a bonus video from November 4, Dutchess purrs up a storm while cuddling with Toni Day.


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