SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A new cat has taken over the internet and he is “bad to da bonkers.”
Tater Tot, a rescue cat on an incredible journey to recovery, has captured hearts nationwide after going viral in a Facebook group called “THIS CAT IS G R O M P Y.” His ferocious looks, messy hair, and mismatched colored casts – usually referred to as ‘bonkers,’ but called ‘badonkabonks’ by his rescuers – tugged at everyone’s heartstrings.
“We saw that all four of his legs were malformed,” said Ash Houghton, Tater Tot’s foster mom and Co-Director of Kitty CrusAIDe, a Salt Lake-based rescue. “His front legs were stuck at a 90-degree bend and his back legs were totally curly.”
On top of the little spud’s disabilities with his leg, Tater Tot was also born with a cleft palate.
As part of his care, Tater Tot was outfitted with his badonkabonks. A pink cast and splint were put on his right leg and teal blue on his left. The oversized casts along with his fiesty appearance inspired fan art, doodles, animations, gifs, glass art, and more among his fans. Once including a spin on a photoshoot of Tater Tot on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle where he is “Bad to da bonkers”
Now he is viral on TikTok and Facebook and helping inspire other special needs animals on their journeys through recovery. Tater currently has his own Facebook group, Tater Tot and the Spudbuds, which has over 33,000 members as of this morning.
“Special needs kitties or special needs animals in general have a much harder time finding humans who are willing to put in the time and sometimes the financial expense of caring for them but they’re everywhere,” said Houghton.
Tater Tot still has a long way to go to adoption. He still has plenty of medical procedures to go through including the cleft palate procedure which won’t be for another nine months to a year.
In the meantime, Tater Tot will continue to be a viral internet sensation and raise awareness for the special needs animals around the world looking for their ‘fur-ever’ homes.