SALT LAKE CITY (KTVX/KUCW) – A rescue kitten known as Tater Tot who had recently taken the internet by storm has died suddenly.
The viral kitten from Utah — known for his messy hair and mismatched colored casts — died Wednesday after about a week of various symptoms. His foster mom, Ash Houghton, said his energy had decreased and he was exhibiting signs of pneumonia. Tater Tot was being treated with antibiotics when he passed away.
“Hey Spudbuds, I’m honestly not sure how to start this post, but here it goes,” Houghton wrote in a post. “Today, our tiny spud, passed away suddenly in my hands.”
Houghton said she had thought there might be a possible heart condition, but he was too small to run tests. She believes he had an enlarged heart that “just couldn’t keep up with him,” she wrote.
The kitten, who wore little casts usually referred to as “bonkers,” went viral on social media this summer, raising awareness of animals with special needs and their journeys to recovery.
When Tater Tot was first rescued, he was found with a cleft palate, and all four legs malformed. His front two legs were stuck at a 90-degree bend, and his back legs were curled, according to Houghton.
“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,” Houghton previously said.
While Tater Tot is no longer with us, Houghton says she hopes that his “resilience continues to inspire people.”
The foster mom will be taking a few days offline to grieve, but said she will keep the Facebook page, to keep Tater Tot’s memory alive through the stories of other animals who were built differently.
“I am astounded at the reach Tater Tot’s story had, and I cannot express to you just how incredible it has been to see how he has impacted the world,” Houghton wrote in her post.