Latest: 4:51, 10/10/12, Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN -- A cat burned in a house fire last month is almost well enough to go home. Specialists at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital have been taking care of Dutchess the cat.
They said she's doing much better and could go home as early as this weekend. Those close to the kitten said they plan to keep her in the clinic until she is bandage-free. Volunteers have pitched in more than $5,700 to pay the feline's medical expenses.Update: 6:46, 10/3/12, Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN -- More than $2,000 has been raised for kitten that was burned in a house fire.
That's enough to keep Dutchess the cat in the clinic until about the middle of next week. Donations can be made by contacting the UI Vet Clinic or by going to the website listed below.Original: 5:59 pm, 10/2/12, Tuesday
CHAMPAIGN -- A four-legged fire survivor gets a second chance at life. That's thanks to donations from people in the Farmer City community and complete strangers.
Jackie Jones wasn't there when her Saybrook home caught fire last month. But her heart broke when she saw it was destroyed.
"It was hard to take in," said Jones. "Everything all at once. Just watching your house burn and losing everything inside that you've worked for. It was just numbing."
The flames ruined most everything inside. But Jones is grateful firefighters were able to salvage a precious part of her family: Dutchess the cat.
"It's remarkable that she's even alive, to be honest," said Dr. Jennifer Herring, an emergency and critical care resident at the University of Illinois vet center. "She went through a lot."
The fire scorched the kitten, leaving second and third degree burns all over her tiny body. But now she's in good hands at the UI Vet Center.
"It's amazing to see her progress because before, honestly, I wasn't sure she was going to make it," said Jones.
"She's been a remarkable kitty through the whole thing, considering what she's gone through," said Dr. Herring.
The clinic used money from its emergency fund to help pay some of Dutchess' medical costs, but they needed more. So one of the firefighters who saved Dutchess started a Facebook page where people could donate money to help pay for her treatments.
"I'm so happy that everybody's helped us so much to make her well because without that, we couldn't have afforded to keep her in the hospital as long as she's been there," said Jones.
When Dutchess is ready to go home in a few weeks, her family will be happy to be reunited with her again.Doctors say Dutchess should be able to make a full recovery.
To find out more about the kitten, you can go to the Facebook page at the link below.