Viral Utah kitten ‘Tater Tot’ continues healthy progress

Jul 26, 2023, 11:40 AM | Updated: Dec 12, 2023, 3:29 pm

UPDATE: Tater Tot died on Tuesday after moving hearts of people around the world.

MIDVALE, Utah — It’s a cat whose story captured hearts across Utah and far beyond. Tater Tot, the kitten in splints whose photos have gone viral – and on Tuesday his rescuers said he was making good progress in just a few weeks.

Kitty CrusAIDe, a rescue that focuses largely on assisting cats from feral colonies, took in Tater Tot after a dog found and brought the cat to a neighbor of one of the organization’s volunteers in Fairview.

Foster mom Ash Houghton said the kitten had four deformed legs and a cleft palate and it would have been highly unlikely he ever would have survived for long in the wild.

“He would not have made it because of his cleft palate,” Houghton told KSL TV. “He couldn’t latch onto the bottle, so we started tube feeding him.”

Houghton said the tube feeding has continued for the 5.5-week-old kitten, but he has made good progress to the point where he’s had the iconic splints on his front legs removed.

“He was like a new kitten when we got those off,” Houghton said. “He was very excited. I think it’s kind of been wearing him out being able to have as much motion as he’s had and be able to get around as much as he’s been able to because those splints really hindered his ability. Before that, he would walk on the tips of his toes or the fronts of his paws. He couldn’t put his paw flat to walk and now he’s doing great.”

Houghton said the rescue was working with an orthopedic expert at Granite Veterinary Specialists.

She acknowledged Tater Tot still had a long road ahead in the ultimate goal of getting him adopted into a “forever home” — and he would likely stay with her until he was at least 9 months to 1 year old and until surgeons were able to successfully repair the cat’s cleft palate.

Handlers said Tater Tot would not be at a Kitty CrusAIDe adoption event currently scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Legendarium, 349 E. 900 South in Salt Lake City, but that they would have a number of other rescued kittens looking for new homes.

Houghton said Tater Tot’s determined spirit has been remarkable. His videos on the group’s TikTok page have hundreds of thousands of views, with one passing 6.2 million as of Wednesday.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

IZU, JAPAN - JULY 27: Haley Batten of Team United States rides during the Women's Cross-country rac...

Alex Cabrero

Park City mountain biker training to compete in her second Olympics

Haley Batten who is on the USA Cycling team, competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Now, she's training for Paris.

33 minutes ago

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04:  Sesame Street characters Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Zoe and Cookie M...

Emma Benson

‘Elmo loves you!’ Our favorite red Muppet stars in mental health campaign

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we all deal with stress and different emotions. In January, Elmo asked a simple question online that sparked a huge conversation.

1 hour ago

A psychiatrist at the Huntsman Mental Health is recommending to build a "mental health toolkit."...

Peter Rosen and Emma Benson, KSL TV

Building a mental health toolkit

When life overwhelms you, sometimes there's not just one solution; which is good to have a variety of tools in your "mental health toolkit."

2 hours ago

Photo of Nile Thacker, a tiny tim's toymaker killed in a crash earlier this year....

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Jury finds man guilty of fatal DUI crash that killed toymaker

A man was convicted on Friday of causing a crash that killed a volunteer toymaker while driving under the influence.

2 hours ago

(FILE) Two signs advertising bedrooms for rent....

Daniel Woodruff

Rent costs are up nationally, but what about Utah?

While some aspects of inflation are cooling down, the cost of renting has continued rising.

2 hours ago

handcuffs in front of a gavel...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Sex offender arrested after allegedly trying to open car door with children inside

A registered sex offender, who has already been arrested multiple times this month, was arrested again Friday after police say he tried to open a car door with three children inside.

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Viral Utah kitten ‘Tater Tot’ continues healthy progress