The Kitten She Had To Have

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Suzanne and Maxx

Suzanne Hoak, of Blasdell, New York, has a soft spot for kitties in need and has had her heart strings tugged on many occasions watching the short Thursday morning segment Yelp For Help on WKBW TV. Yelp for Help is a special program of the SPCA Serving Erie County, NY that provides extra help for injured or ill cats that come to the SPCA with needs that require treatment beyond the usual care.

Suzanne told the Buffalo News, “I have seen that segment probably a thousand times, and I have gotten teary, I have wished I could help that poor animal, but I have never had the urge, ever, to pick up the phone and say ‘I want this animal.’ ” That is, not until the September 27 segment, when her overwhelming reaction was “I have to get him and bring him home,” after seeing the segment with a kitten the SPCA was calling Zipper, for a dark line on his back. The tiny 4 week old kitten had been found on the street 5 days earlier, dehydrated, infested with fleas, lice and worms, with a respiratory infection, and blind from either malformation or damage to his eyes. Overcome with emotion, Suzanne phoned the SPCA, saying ‘I’m in love with that kitten. Is there anything I can do to get that kitten sooner rather than later?’, according to SPCA public relations director Gina Browning.

The SPCA met with Suzanne and determined that she would be a responsible foster and pet parent, and would carefully follow through on any needed medical care for the kitten. When Suzanne met the kitten, she knew she wanted to take him home and help him to recover and thrive. Because the kitten was not ready for adoption, the SPCA arranged for Suzanne to foster-to-adopt. During the foster period, the kitten’s medical costs would be borne by the organization and Suzanne would provide day to day care.

Zipper went home with Suzanne, became Maxx, and quickly settled in to his hew home. Suzanne’s other cat Jaxon, rather than being standoffish or territorial, immediately showered the newcomer with loving attention as soon as the two were allowed to be together. Maxx is doing well in his new environment and compensating for his lack of sight. Suzanne told the paper that while he can find the litterbox, he doesn’t cover his business, and Jaxon comes along after him to cover it up.


Suzanne, Maxx and Jaxon


See Maxx’s Yelp for Help TV appearance from September 27, when he was still being called Zipper. This is the video that compelled Suzanne Hoak to foster-to-adopt her little boy.

The heartwarming full story of Suzanne and Maxx was published in Monday’s Buffalo News.

Photos, John Hickey/Buffalo News

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