Every day, Tiny Tina gives adopter Denise Folcik a gentle nose-to-nose kiss. The little black kitten started the ritual during the long weeks she was quarantined while recovering from ringworm, when Folcik would don her special quarantine-room clothing and come in to play. Tina still does it now, three months later, when she’s healthy and has the run of Folcik’s home in Wisconsin. “She’s just a sweetheart,” says Folcik.

Tiny Tina the cat before she was rescued from an alleged neglect situation in Texas
Meredith Lee

It’s the same impression HSUS responder Jenn Cherry had when she first saw Tina this past June. The Humane Society of the United States was responding to an alleged neglect situation in Killeen, Texas, and Tina was one of a group of cats who required emergency care. With swollen, oozing eyes and obvious upper respiratory issues, Tina was in rough shape. Despite her discomfort, she didn’t shy away from Cherry. “I was able to kind of scoop her up, and she was just sweet from the second I touched her,” says Cherry. “I looked at her and I was like, ‘Well, we’re gonna fix you, kitten.’”

As a volunteer with the Animal Rescue Team, Folcik deployed to Texas to help care for the 200 animals rescued from the scene and moved to a temporary shelter. She’d been charmed by a video on the HSUS Facebook page, which showed Cherry holding a newly rescued Tina. In Texas, Folcik met Tina and instantly fell in love. Tina was coming home with her.

I was able to kind of scoop her up, and she was just sweet from the second I touched her.

Jenn Cherry, hsus rescue responder

Back in Wisconsin, Tina started to heal. With daily medication, her right eye improved, and the scarring on her cornea—caused by a severe infection—went down, restoring some sight. After six weeks of quarantine, she was finally ready to meet the rest of the family: five other cats and Buttercup, a Great Dane from a 2016 HSUS rescue in New Hampshire. While most of the cats and Buttercup are still a little unsure of the energetic kitten, Tina has found a friend in Rex, Folcik’s 9-year-old cat. She’s also charmed Folcik and her husband, Josh, with her antics. Tina has a particular predilection for socks. “She steals socks out of the laundry basket,” says Folcik. “I’m in my craft room working, and suddenly she carries a sock in and drops it. Another one—and drops it.”

Tiny Tina and her adopter, Denise
Alyssa Schukar
AP Images for the HSUS

Cherry is thrilled to see Tina’s progress, especially after watching Folcik and Tina bond at the temporary shelter. “I just know that Denise is going to dote on her for her entire life,” says Cherry. “It’s about the best scenario possible.”

For anyone considering adopting an animal, even one with daunting health problems, Folcik has a few words of advice. “Do it. That’s the chance this baby’s gonna have—someone taking them in and caring and loving them,” she says. “And they well deserve that.”

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