Cleo was found emaciated and hanging from a tree in December. She's been nursed back to health but is still leery of people.
ADAMS, Mass. — A kitten found hanging from a tree at Specialty Minerals late last year is now well enough to go to good home.
The kitten was found by an employee sometime before 8 a.m. on Dec. 20, emaciated and hanging from a shoestring noose, said Animal Control Officer Carrie Loholdt on Monday.
The cat, Cleo, estimated at 6 to 9 months old now, had been there for about a day and survived because it appears that one of the thin branches had broken enough to allow her feet to just barely touch the ground.
"We had to cut the branches off ... her feet were barely touching the ground," Loholdt said, later adding, "She was severely underweight when we got her."
Loholdt still doesn't know who tied the kitten and the incident is under investigation. The fenced area can be reached by crossing the river and railroad tracks; employees can access the area through a locked gate and over a footbridge.
While workers typically don't go there, a worker who happened to cross through the area heard Cleo's meows and called animal control to free her.
In an email forwarded to iBerkshires, Conservation Commission Chairman Jason Krzanowski said he and Specialty Minerals employee Tim Brown discovered the cat during a site inspection. Krzanowski said there was evidence of other activity on the nearby RR bridge.
He wrote that it "appeared that the animal had been twisting on the ground for a while, judging by dented dirt."
Since then, Cleo's been spayed, vaccinated and nursed back to health. Now she needs someone to adopt her.
"She's up to date with her shots and she just needs her own home," Loholdt said.
But the ordeal has left the kitten with both physical and emotional scars. And the hanging appears to be only the latest of many abuses in her short life.
"She's petrified of hands now," Loholdt said, explaining how the kitten becomes upset after being handled and now mostly "sits around." "She focuses on your hands."
The longhaired tuxedo cat's neck scabbed and then scarred. The hair around her neck has lost pigment and is growing in gray. But, she is slowly warming up to Loholdt and "she's getting fat."
"She's quite large for her age. She's going to be a large cat," she said.
Anyone interested in adopting Cleo can find the information here.
Updated: write-through on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:11 p.m. to clarify who found the cat and that there is no evidence an SMI employee was involved.