Vet Saves Tiniest Kitten From Being Put Down And She Ends Up Changing His Life

“She looked like a fighter” ❤️

One day, during the height of kitten season, Kwane Stewart was going cage-by-cage assessing sick and injured kittens with his vet tech — and that’s when he met Sushi.

Working as a vet at an underfunded shelter in Modesto, California, Sushi was just one of the many kittens Stewart saw who needed his help. But something about her was special.

“I came up to Sushi’s cage, this little Siamese mix … her eyes were crusted shut [and] she had a really bad upper respiratory infection,” Stewart told The Dodo. “She could fit in the palm of my hand … she probably weighed about as much as a set of keys.”

Kwane Stewart

Stewart immediately thought the most humane thing to do would be to put her to sleep. But something stopped him.

"I came back to her cage and I just looked at her and I said, ‘Why don’t you put some food in there?’”

Usually, whenever Stewart would do the food test with other kittens in Sushi’s condition, they would just sit in the corner and ignore the meal. Stewart was shocked when Sushi immediately sniffed her way over to the food and started eating.

At that moment, he knew that Sushi deserved a chance to heal, so he decided to take her home and foster her himself.

“She looked like a fighter,” Stewart said.

cute cat
Kwane Stewart

Stewart, his son and his girlfriend cared for Sushi as best they could and gave her all of the love she’d never known before. It took two weeks for her to even open her eyes, and after six weeks, she’d transformed into a healthy, spunky little kitten.

“Every day I just saw how much she wanted to live,” Stewart said. “I started to fall for this little kitten.”

Stewart had always been more of a dog person than a cat person, but Sushi touched him in a big way, and when the day finally came for Sushi to be put up for adoption, Stewart and his family just couldn’t do it. After some discussion, they decided to keep her, and Sushi essentially became her dad’s little shadow.

cute cat
Kwane Stewart

“I would come home from work, and she would immediately run to me and cry,” Stewart said. “When I would sit at my desk and do work, she would jump up on my shoulders, almost like a neck pillow, and wrap around my neck and just purr. We had this really cool bond.”

Sushi seemed to know that her dad was the one who saved her, and she made sure to show him how grateful she was.

The once-tiny cat has since served as the inspiration for all of Stewart’s future projects. He campaigned for his county to build a beautiful new shelter where people are actually excited to go and pick out new family members. The euthanasia rate was one of the worst in the country before, and now it’s practically a no-kill shelter. Sushi influenced all of this and more, including Stewart’s current endeavor, Project Street Vet.

cute cat
Project Street Vet

Project Street Vet, a charity that Fetch by The Dodo is the title sponsor of, came about after Stewart stopped to help an unhoused man whose dog had a flea condition. Everyone else had ignored the pair, but for Stewart, it only took a little time and a few bucks out of his own pocket to get the dog a flea treatment and transform both her and her dad’s life. The man was so incredibly grateful, and Stewart decided he wanted to help other unhoused individuals and their pets get the care they needed.

He held his first pop-up clinic at a soup kitchen, then started driving around to different locations to help the people who couldn’t get to him.

helping animals
Project Street Vet

Stewart has changed the lives of so many pets over the years — and, really, it’s all thanks to Sushi.

“After claiming Sushi as my own, this random cat that almost got euthanized, I realized that these animals are special,” Stewart said. “After her, I opened up my heart a little more.”

Project Street Vet is a non-profit public charity, founded by Dr. Kwane Stewart, that provides free veterinary care, treatment, and support to the pets of individuals experiencing homelessness. Fetch by The Dodo and Project Street Vet share the same values and passion for pet wellness and inclusivity, which is why we are proud to announce that Fetch is the primary sponsor of Project Street Vet. With this partnership, we are able to recruit more street vets across Southern California and eventually, nationwide, to help the people and pets who need it.

Learn more about our partnership here.