It's been a long and winding road to wellness for Twist the cat. This summer in College Park he was discovered by rescuers in a cardboard box with a note attached.
He was meant to be found.
The box was conspicuously placed in a public place, the attached note both a plea for help and a short biography of the small kitten inside:
Please help. We found this kitten in the street 2 days ago with blood on his face and paws, walking like he was injured. We gave him a bath and cleaned him up.
We've been feeding him liquid formula with an eyedropper because he does not seem to be old enough to feed himself.
We could not leave him in the street like that unable to defend himself as he does not seem old enough to walk.
We are unemployed at the moment or we would help him but we can't even afford any more kitten formula.
We don't want to take him to Animal Control as he'll just be put down probably because he can't take care of himself yet.
He is a sweet kitten that might have a chance at life ... please help.
Rescuers gently removed the kitten from the box and called Mickie Blair, cat rehabilitation manager at LifeLine Animal Project.
"He was missing skin and hair from his feet, head and tail," remembers Blair.
"This is consistent with what we call 'road rash.' The kitten looked like he was either hit by a car, he fell out of a car or he was thrown from a car."
But that wasn't all that was wrong. He couldn't walk. Or, rather, he couldn't walk in a straight line.
He would walk in circles and "alligator roll" over and over. He would sleep with one foot over his head. In order to eat, his food bowl had to be placed behind him because he was so twisted up it was the only way for him to reach it.
That's how he got his name: Twist.
"He was really messed up," Blair says, "But we didn't give up on him."
As it turns out, not giving up was a good idea.
Twist had brain damage, that much was obvious, but no one knew if it was permanent. LifeLine vets worked to get the swelling of the brain down and as that happened, something else happened too.
Twist became un-twisted.
He started to walk normally, eat normally, drink normally and use a litter box. He even began to play and jump, just a little slowly at first.
Now Twist is 3 months old and he's "completely normal," says Blair.
"He's a very special boy," she adds.
Twist is up for adoption through LifeLine. If you'd like this special survivor to grow up in your home, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.