LOCAL NEWS

Viral Utah kitten Tater Tot dies

Aug 3, 2023, 6:41 AM | Updated: 12:32 pm

Viral photo of Tater Tot (Ash Houghton/Kitty CrusAIDe)...

Viral photo of Tater Tot (Ash Houghton/Kitty CrusAIDe)

(Ash Houghton/Kitty CrusAIDe)

SALT LAKE CITY — A small Utah kitten that went viral and captured hearts around the world has died. Tater Tot’s foster mom Ash Houghton said his energy had been slowly decreasing over the last week or so, and at first, they hoped it was an illness that could be treated with antibiotics.

“This tiny little potato has had such a profound impact on my heart, and I am so unbelievably happy I got to share him with the entire world,” Houghton said in an emotional Facebook post. “What started as me sharing some photos of the goofy new foster I had turned into an entire community focused on kindness, humor and compassion. 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.”

@kittycrusaide A message from Ash. We will miss this skunkly little potato. #tatertot #spudbud #bonkers #grompycat #TTbonkers #rescuekitten #specialneedskitten #specialneeds #specialneedscat #utahfosterpets #fosterpetsoftiktok #kittycrusaide #TT #KCtatertot #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #tatertotcat #kitten #catsoftiktok #kittensoftiktok #cat #badonkabonk #badonkabonks ♬ original sound – Kitty CrusAIDe

Tater Tot was known for wearing mismatched splints on his front legs and his photos have gone viral. 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.

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’s Andrew Adams. “He couldn’t latch onto the bottle, so we started tube feeding him.”

@kittycrusaide Tater Tot rides a Harley! 😉 Tater was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of riding a Harley thanks to fan Lucy! @Harley-Davidson #tatertot #spudbud #bonkers #grompycat #TTbonkers #tateronadventure #wherestatertot #rescuekitten #specialneedskitten #specialneeds #specialneedscat #utahfosterpets #fosterpetsoftiktok #kittycrusaide #TT #KCtatertot #motorcycle #harleydavidson #harleydavidsonslc #harleydavidsonlifestyle #tatertotsharleyblanket #harleydavidsonblanket #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #tatertotcat #kitten #catsoftiktok #kittensoftiktok #cat ♬ Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf

“This tiny tot was such a joy to care for, even on the days it was hard as hell,” Houghton said. “Tube-feeding a kitten every day for 6 and a half weeks is no easy task, and I definitely bonded with this guy in a way I’ve never bonded with a foster before. He has left his paw prints on my heart, and I hope he left some tiny paw prints on yours.”

Houghton said Tater Tot’s determined spirit had been remarkable. His videos on the group’s TikTok page have millions of views, with one approaching 10 million as of Thursday morning.

Houghton said she “would love it if all of the Spudbuds could make a donation to their local shelter in Tater Tot’s honor. Please help his life continue to impact other animals in the world.”

“I want to thank every person here who has been in his corner cheering him on. It has been so beautiful to watch millions of people around the world unite over the life of one small little creature,” she said.

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Viral Utah kitten Tater Tot dies