Kitten recovering after being left to die

Published on May 10, 2014

TRURO - Looking at the little black kitten today, you wouldn’t suspect she was sealed in a bag and left to die just a few days ago.

Mandi Arnold was walking along a section of the Cobequid Trail behind the Nova Scotia Community College with her boyfriend, Paul, last week when she heard the loud meowing of a feline in distress. They followed the sounds down a bank and along a fence, where they found a blue and white backpack.

“The zipper was tied shut with headphone wire and orange twine,” Arnold said. “Paul tried to untie it but couldn’t. He had to cut it with a knife. He opened the backpack while it was on the ground because we didn’t know if it was a feral cat inside, but this little kitten came out and came right up to me.”

Arnold said the black kitten was covered in feces and urine, and was severely malnourished.

“She was shaking so I wrapped her in my jacket. She just wanted to crawl up around my neck and cuddle,” she said.

Arnold then called a veterinarian to have the kitten examined, who was given a clean bill of health.

“She was very dehydrated so she stayed at the animal hospital until Thursday. Penny Richards (the veterinarian) didn’t think she was well cared for before being abandoned.”

The kitten’s nose and paws were raw from her efforts to escape the backpack. Arnold doesn’t know if the experience has given the animal nightmares but it did result in a few nights where she was awoken by frightening dreams.

The morning after finding the kitten, Arnold and Paul returned to the trail to photograph the backpack. She put it on Facebook and asked people to share the photo and accompanying story. Within two days, the information was shared more than 4,000 times. The couple learned the backpack, which has ‘EF’ on the front, was one that was given out to Cobequid Educational Centre students going to Europe. Blue and white was the colour of the packs for the last two years.

“Whoever left the kitten wanted her to suffer,” said Arnold. “They didn’t give her a chance to escape. The experience made me feel very disappointed with humanity but the response from the public healed my heart a bit. Whoever did this was one person and there are a lot of good people out there.”

Since finding the abandoned kitten, Arnold has decided to keep her and has given her the name ‘Dharma,’ which means purpose.

Dharma is about three months old and is completely black. Her eyes shine with curiosity as she looks around her new home, where she has been attempting to make friends with the other feline in residence, seven-year-old Crazy Eyes.

“There’s still hissing going on but Crazy is getting used to her,” said Arnold. “Dharma is very curious now and gets in every drawer I open. She’s very sweet, loving and cuddly and she loves people.”

Anyone with information that can help identify who left Dharma to die is asked to contact the police or the provincial SPCA. A photo of the backpack can be seen on Facebook at