Kitty has been bathed, medicated and showered with TLC. The Melendez family cat, who survived a harrowing house fire early Tuesday in Meadow Pointe, is expected to make a full recovery.
Kitty was trapped in the house at 1108 Crimson Clover Lane as flames engulfed the walls and the roof collapsed. A few hours after the blaze was extinguished, a firefighter found Kitty clawing at the screen on the lanai, blackened with soot, whiskers burned to nubs.
He suffered second-degree burns on all four feet, plus his nose and face, said Dr. Mara Ricci, owner of the New Tampa Animal Hospital.
"With pets, as with people, the secondary problems after the burns are the most risky: infection and dehydration," she said. Kitty is being treated with antibiotics, IV fluids and "a lot of pain management" to keep him comfortable, Ricci said.
She expects him to stay at the pet hospital through the weekend.
The fire started about 4 a.m. Tuesday, authorities say, when Deana Melendez decided to burn her husband's rooster painting in the fireplace. Rubely Melendez told the Times his wife had been drinking. There had been an argument earlier that night.
Mrs. Melendez told investigators she forgot to open the chimney flue when she started the fire.
Everyone made it outside except for Kitty. Mrs. Melendez kept trying to run back into the burning house to rescue her cat, and authorities say she hit the firefighters and sheriff's deputy who held her back. She was charged with battery on a firefighter and law enforcement officer, and remained Wednesday at the Land O'Lakes jail.