It was a shocking discovery: In December, a tiny kitten was found in California stained purple with fabric dye and covered with bite marks, injuries consistent with being used as a "chew toy" for fighting dogs.
"We'll never get that purple dye out of him," veterinarian Monica Rudiger
told The Dodo at the time. "I hope it ends well for him, but he seems to be doing really well."
Sure enough, two months later, the cat named Smurf is finally looking like the happy, healthy kitten he was always meant to be.
Since rescuing the cat last year, the Nine Lives Foundation has been documenting Smurf's recovery on social media. Taken together, the photos tell the story of a resilient kitten slowly growing out of the stains of his tragic past.
But the most important change in the young cat's life has had nothing to do with his fur. Shortly after Smurf arrived at the shelter, he befriended a blind cat named Wanda.
The two have been constant companions ever since.
While the progress made by Smurf and Wanda has been remarkable, officials say it will likely still be several months before they'll be ready to get adopted.
Together, of course.