CRESTVIEW— A local woman has taken in a young, injured kitten and nursed it back to health from her home.

Karen McCauley, who works at Two Trees Restaurant at Fort Walton Beach Golf Club, said she found a kitten near her car in the parking lot a few weeks ago. McCauley said she thought it was a bird at first, and wondered why it wasn’t flying away; then she heard it make an awful noise.

McCauley said the kitten had been hit with a golf club and was gasping for air. With assistance from a coworker, McCauley said they fed the kitten some milk and cat food until it was strong enough to bring to the veterinarian.

When she brought it to the emergency veterinary clinic that night, McCauley said the kitten bit both her and the vet tech. The vet tech said that since the cat was feral and it bit them, it was protocol to cut off the animal’s head and send it to be tested for rabies, according to McCauley.

The vet tech said that the kitten was dying, according to McCauley, so they asked that she bring its body back when it dies; however, more than three weeks later, the kitten is still alive and healing in McCauley’s Crestview home.

The kitten, now named Ping after the brand of golf clubs, has doubled in weight from one pound to a little more than two in the time McCauley has had her. McCauley said the doctors believe she is around 10 weeks old.

“I called every vet in Crestview, but none of them would take her,” McCauley said. “I tried Companion [Animal Hospital] in Fort Walton and they told me to bring her right in. They have been phenomenal.

Ping was seen by Katie Maples, a veterinarian at Companion, just a few days after McCauley found the kitten. Maples said she could not comment on the health of the kitten due to confidentiality laws.

As for McCauley’s perception of the cat’s injury, “They asked me how I could tell it was a golf club,” McCauley said. “I said, ‘Because it’s this wide, this long and it’s concaved in.’”

According to McCauley, Ping’s injuries included three broken ribs; a severe hernia, which has caused her intestines to move into her leg; anemia; missing fur where the injury from the golf club was; and malnutrition.

“If Companion hadn’t helped as much as they did, it would be really tight right now,” McCauley said.

According to McCauley, the animal hospital didn’t charge for Ping’s second appointment and only charged a small amount for the shots at her third appointment.

McCauley has a GoFundMe page where she has raised $450 out of her goal of $800 to cover the cost of Ping’s hernia and spay surgery, which will be done once her ribs are completely healed. McCauley said people from the golf course have also donated.

McCauley said that she alerted the employees of the golf course so they could keep an eye out for the person who might have abused Ping.

“I’m surprised she’s as friendly as she is after that; it’s bizarre,” McCauley said. “She never cries or complains about pain; she just has the best attitude.”

To donate toward Ping’s medical care, visit https://www.gofundme.com/brutbrutally-abused-and-left-for-dead.