According to local news station KRQE, an eight-week-old kitten is in recovery after being brought into Albequerque Animal Welfare with a crushed jaw. Doctors worked on the kitten, named Mittens, using multiple surgeries and buttons.

Doctors aren’t sure what happened to the kitten but her injuries were extensive. Dr. Nicole Vigil, senior veterinarian with Albuquerque Animal Welfare, said of the stray, “We’re not exactly sure what kind of trauma she had but whatever happened to her, whether it be falling down from a high balcony, being hit by a car or thrown by a car window, which often happens. Her face was actually crushed and so we do see things like that from falls.”

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Her injuries required input from veterinary dentists and oral surgeons. “Because she couldn’t close, she couldn’t eat very well,” said Vigil. “So we found that no matter what we did for the obvious fracture, there was still stuff going on so she couldn’t function correctly. She was in rough shape.” Thanks to help from Dr. Bannon and Dr. Littles at a local specialty center, the kitten had extra attentive care, “The veterinarians and specialists in this area, the way they support the shelter, just lifts your heart and makes you so excited to come to work every day because there’s no one to speak for these little guys.”

Source: KRQE/Youtube

Because of Mittens’ surgeries and some TMJ in her jaw, the doctors used some innovative thinking to get Mittens’ jaw back to normal function. They actually used buttons to hold her jaw together and closed for a bit to allow it to heal,” said Vigil. “The buttons basically worked as stabilizers so some suture could hold her jaw closed.”

Check out the pictures of Mittens:

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Mittens will be available to adopt in 3-4 weeks and for now, she’s still healing at the center. “Even though she had her jaw basically wired shut it was open just enough to allow her to eat and she ate like a champ,” said Vigil. “She’s really growing now and successfully healing.”

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Surgeries for animals like Mittens in New Mexico are handled through Kennel Kompadres. You can donate to that organization here. Read more animal welfare stories in One Green Planet, including the dog who’s living out his bucket list. 

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