Hawkeye the Kitten’s Most Excellent Adventure

By: Dan Krosse

No one actually saw Hawkeye soaring across the skies above the Lowcountry, but the folklore at Charleston Animal Society surrounding this kitten continues to grow. He was brought in paralyzed after being found near Ladson Elementary School. The only clues about what caused his paralysis were on his body.

“He had puncture wounds on his neck that resembled talons,” said Charleston Animal Society Foster Coordinator Christina Ellwood. Combine this with a large number of hawks seen in the area he was found—and the pieces of Hawkeye’s story come together.

The running theory is that the kitten was grabbed by a bird of prey (most likely a hawk) and then potentially dropped after Hawkeye fought back.  “Thank God he put up a fight because he was going to be food,” said Charleston Animal Society Kitten Attendant Christine Brockenfelt.

The five-month-old kitten spent the first two weeks of his rescue at the shelter, unable to move his legs. Veterinarians treated the kitten, but no one was sure Hawkeye would survive. “It’s a common part of nature for birds of prey to pick up small animals, including kittens,” said Dr. Angele Bice, Associate Director Veterinary Care at Charleston Animal Society.

On February 12, just before Valentine’s Day, Charleston Animal Society Foster Marybeth Dew made Hawkeye her new Valentine.  “He was still not using his left front leg when I picked him up and vets weren’t sure of the prognosis for that leg,” Dew said. “He would hiss any time someone approached him, but then purr like a baby when you pet his head.”

Dew worked with Hawkeye, giving him physical therapy she had learned from a local veterinarian. “Massage was a big part of it, so was letting him try to walk while I held the base of his tail,” Dew said.

About a week into his foster care, Dew says there was a major breakthrough when she saw Hawkeye chase a ball. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s using all four paws! He’s going to get better!’”

Then in early March, another leap forward (literally), when Hawkeye was spotted jumping onto the sofa. As Dew tells it, “He was trying to jump up on all the furniture. He was so proud of himself. He would turn and look at you and say, ‘Look what I did!’”

Dew, who has fostered 65 cats and kittens for Charleston Animal Society says Hawkeye now spends his days constantly trying to get her foster cat Sora to play. As Hawkeye continues to get better, Dew is posting his progress on Facebook and Instagram.

Despite one of his nine lives used up, this kitten with a fascinating story will eventually be placed for adoption. “It’s always difficult to say goodbye, but I usually become friends with the new adopters and when I see pictures and videos, it makes everything worth it,” Dew says.

Can you make room for a foster pet in your home? Call: 843.329.1543