The Reason a Rescue Cat Has 'Little Ears and a Little Tail' Melts Hearts

A video of a rescue cat who has just lost part of his tail has stunned more than 2.7 million TikTok viewers.

In the video posted by owner Michelle Ashley, Kelvin the Russian blue rescue cat can be seen relaxing on the carpet looking unbothered. Part of his tail lies on the floor a couple of feet away.

Ashley can be heard, saying, "Oh, my god. Kelvin, that's your tail. Oh, my gosh, your tail fell off! Are you OK? Oh, my god! Look at your nub!"

Ashley explains in the caption that it's nothing to worry about: "Kelvin is completely fine and healthy. When we adopted him, we were told he may lose his tail due to it being dead. He had frostbite on his ears and tail when he was found. Poor little guy now has little ears and a little tail."

One user commented, "omg the frostbite gave him teddy bear ears!!!" Another wrote: "I love how unbothered he was by it."

cat in snow
A stock image of a cat in the snow. One pet owner had the shock of her life after her rescue cat's tail fell off because of earlier frostbite. JessAerons/Getty Images

In an update, Ashley said that, after calling the vet, there was no need to take Kelvin in. "We knew this was going to happen, or at least we were told it may happen, although it's still alarming to find your cat's tail on your kitchen rug in the morning."

Ashley added that they just need to keep the wound clean and bring him in to the vet only if there's an issue. However, she described Kelvin as "completely unbothered."

Can Cats Get Frostbite?

Cats can get frostbite just like humans, and it mainly affects their thin, unprotected ears.

Pet nutrition brand Hill's reports that frostbite is a common injury seen in cats that live in areas where the temperature regularly dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you suspect your cat to be suffering with frostbite, there are ways to reduce the damage caused.

What Is Cat Frostbite?

Hill's defines frostbite as "damage to the skin caused by prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures." The website explains that cats' ears are very thin with very little fur. In extremely cold temperatures, it constricts the vessels that supply the blood to the skin. "When this happens," Hill's says, "the warmth, oxygen and nutrients that the blood delivers to the skin are diverted to maintain the body's core temperature.

"As a result, skin freezes, forming ice crystals inside skin cells that cause the cells to rupture and die. While this mechanism preserves the cat's life, cat frostbite can result in irreversible damage to the skin. The skin covering the extremities—including the tail, paws, nose and ears—is at the highest risk for frostbite."


No worries! Kelvin is completely fine and healthy. When we adopted him, we were told he may lose his tail due to it being dead. He had frostbite on his ears and tail when he was found. Poor little guy now has little ears and a little tail. 😩#catsoftiktok #fyp #tiktok #tailfelloff #catlover #whatthehell #cats

♬ original sound - Michelle Ashley

What Are the Signs of Cat Frostbite?

According to animal care advocates VCA Hospitals, the main signs include:

  • discoloration of the affected area of skin—this discoloration is often pale, gray, or bluish.
  • coldness and/or brittleness of the area when touched.
  • pain when you touch the body part(s).
  • swelling of the affected area(s).
  • blisters or skin ulcers.
  • areas of blackened or dead skin.

How Do I Treat Cat Frostbite?

If you think your cat, or one you find, is suffering from frostbite, you need to seek a vet immediately. VCA Hospitals experts suggest, in the interim, while seeking professional help, you should move the cat to a warm dry area as quickly and safely as possible.

You must not rub or massage the affected area, the experts warn, and it is imperative that you gently warm the cat and keep it so.

"If you are outdoors, DO NOT warm a frostbitten area if you cannot keep it warm. Additional cold exposure or refreezing will more severely injure the tissues."

VCA Hospitals experts also advise heating the area with warm, not hot, water. The "recommended water temperature is 104°F to 108°F (40 to 42°C). At this temperature, you should be able to comfortably place your hand in the warm water. If the water is too hot, you may cause more damage." It is not a good idea to use direct heat such as a heating pad or hair-dryer as the temperature may be too hot and you cannot regulate it.

Newsweek has reached out to Michelle Ashley for comment.

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