Woman Saves Dying Cat Outside Walmart and Emotional Rescue Goes Viral

File photo of a maine coon cat.

A woman has been applauded after finding and rescuing a dangerously dehydrated abandoned cat outside Walmart. She had posted on social media that she had found the stray feline laying outside of the supermarket, looking extremely frail and unwell. She decided to take the cat home and care for it, all while sharing the process in a series of viral TikTok videos about the animal’s recovery journey.

The first video captured the cat looking weak on the sidewalk outside Walmart, before cutting to a clip of the animal being washed in a sink at the women’s home. Melissa Rand, the woman who saved the cat, is an experienced feline adopter and fosterer, and her TikTok account is full of posts showing the other animals she has helped.

The video is captioned: “Found a kitty in the Walmart parking lot dying from heat exhaustion and dehydration, upper respiratory issue too I think.”

While the majority of the TikTok users reacting to the post have praised the woman for her heroic actions, a few have urged her to take the cat to a veterinary professional, so that expert support can be provided. There are an estimated 70 million stray cats living in the United States, according to Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital.

Hand strokes a Maine coon. Cat fosterer Melissa Rand rescued a stray animal outside a Walmart.
krblokhin/Getty Images

How to Care for a Dehydrated Cat

Cornell University’s veterinary medicine division says it can be easy to spot dehydration in cats, but it’s crucial to act quickly to prevent an escalation into further health problems.

“Physical indicators of dehydration include dry or tacky mucous membranes, which are usually checked in the gums, and decreased skin elasticity. This can be tested by gently lifting the skin over the shoulders and determining how long it takes to ‘snap back’ to its original position,” Cornell University writes online.

“In normally hydrated cats, this should occur almost immediately, while in dehydrated cats, this may take much longer.”

To encourage cats to increase their water intake, Cornell University says owners should always have fresh water available in places that they can easily access. They must make sure that there are no conflicts among cats or other pets that may result in a particular animal being “banned from the water bowl by other four-legged friends” in the house.

“Some cats increase their intake of water when provided with water fountains, but individual preferences among cats for these varies. Feeding wet food or adding water to food is another good way to increase water intake,” Cornell University adds.

What Do the Comments Say?

Since it was shared to TikTok on August 15 by @melissarand, the TikTok post has been viewed almost 1 million times and received over 70,000 likes. Thousands of TikTok users have left messages of support for Rand and the cat in the comments section.

“If you need help with vet bills please set up a GoFundMe page or somewhere we can help. It needs vet care bad,” one user wrote.

“How could people walk by that sweet baby and not help. Thank you for helping him,” another added.

A third posted: “Please take him to the vet.”

Newsweek reached out to @melissarand for comment via TikTok.

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to [email protected] with some details about your best friend, and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.

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