Getting a kitten is a big responsibility. Not just because of the new, tiny, life in your home...but because you have to essentially baby-proof your house.
De-clawing cats is the route most people take when they're worried about potential house destruction. This practice is incredibly controversial, however. New Jersey even went so far as to ban the surgery due to its unethical nature.
Unfortunately for little Valentine, his owners were more concerned about their furniture than Valentine's well-being. Valentine was dropped off at a Los Angeles animal shelter with no claws. But it wasn't just the fact that he was de-clawed that caught the shelter's attention, it was how botched the surgery was.
Valentine was left in brutal pain after his surgery. The infections were so bad, staff at the shelter thought he might die.
"He was in so much pain, he was acting out," Jennifer Conrad, a veterinarian and founder of The Paw Project, said. "He was biting. He was terrified."
Valentine was so aggressive because of the pain, he was added to the shelter's euthanasia list.
Lucky for Valentine, Aurelie Vanderhoek of Zoey's Place Rescue saw a photo of him and knew she had to do something.
"I saw the picture and my heart dropped," Vanderhoek says. "The incisions the vet had made were not even stitched. They were left open to bleed. I said, 'I don't care how we're going to do this. He's coming with me.'"
It took some time, but Zoey says that Valentine is healing well. After people heard about Valentine's story, money and supplies poured in to help the little guy recover.
The Paw Project is even covering all of Valentine's medical bills.
"We take animals who were going to lose their lives because they were declawed — and we rehabilitate them," Conrad says. "We've had a 100 percent success rate in finding these animals homes once they've been taken out of pain and the infection in their paws has been taken away."
Vanderhoek says it took some time, but Valentine is adjusting well to living in his new home.
"All I did was sit next to him," Vanderhoek recalls. "I gave him a small room to get control over. And I just let him come to me. And within three days, he was purring and playing."
"He gets startled very easily with loud noises. I think he was abused because he has very, very sharp triggers," she says. "He's playful. All he wants right now is to be held. He just wants to cuddle."