This story originally appeared at American Web Media.
Cat with painted paws aren’t just cooler than their unadorned counterparts. Nor have they recently strolled through a freshly painted zone.
According to Megan Sorbara from the Naples Cat Alliance, these adorable felines aren’t just victims of fashion; they’ve also survived the trauma of being dangled as bait in a dog-fighting ring. Their paws are colored in various hues so spectators can easily place bets on the order in which these innocent animals will die.
Thankfully, some innocent animal’s manage to escape this horrific “entertainment,” which is what happened to this cool cat, Mr. Purple Paws, since being rescued by Clewiston Animal Control. After seeing his picture, Sorbara immediately fell for the cat who came to sport a colorful hue through no fault of his own.
“Being in animal rescue, you hear and read about a lot of terrible things being done to poor innocent animals,” she wrote on Facebook.
“And then one day, the victim of one of these terrible things shows up at your door. I consider myself pretty hardened to a lot of stuff. I have dealt with a lot of injured, emaciated, neglected and abused animals but this one really got to me.”
Mr. Purple Paws looks like a healthy cat by all the normal measures – he’s of a normal weight and boasts a nice, healthy coat. However, the poor animal’s purple paws tell the hard truth about everything he’s been through.
“Dog fighters use markers to color the white parts of cats and kittens so they can bet on which color will die first,” she continued. “They are ‘color-coded’ and then thrown to packs of dogs, while these sick barbarians place their bets. This is cruelty at its worst.”
Somehow, Mr. Purple Paws managed escaped before entering the ring, which is how he later picked up on the streets by animal control. That same evening, the group transferred the cat to Naples Cat Alliance, which is immediately put the animal up for adoption.
“I can only hope more were able to get away but my real hope is that the perpetrators of this heinous ‘sport’ be found and prosecuted.” Despite everything this animal is been through, Mr. Purple Paws is sweet, gentle, friendly, and surprisingly playful. “He let us pick him up and he is playing with toys,” Sorbara told I Heart Cats. “He is so sweet.”
The color has slightly faded from his paws now that the animal has been bathed, but traces of his former life remain. A week after his arrival at Naples Cat Alliance, this sweet animal found his forever home. Regardless, much of the Internet was rightly furious about this innocent animal’s treatment.
“Anyone involved with any kind of animal fighting needs to be locked up for the rest of their lives,” one user wrote. “They enjoy the blood-sport of watching animals in pain and suffering and being absolutely terrified and struggling for their lives. How dare they hurt these poor innocent animals! This is sick, barbaric, and brutal.”