The Story of Gemma, the Kitten Who Ate Dirt to Survive

Just imagine being a newborn kitten, literally a day old and abandoned for several hours under a shed.  That’s what happened to little Gemma after her mother and siblings were taken to a local humane society.

Her rescuer, Annalise Burke, noticed a cat outside one evening that she hadn’t seen before.  In fact, they didn’t see cats on their property all that often at all.  Because of this, she and her mother decided to look for the cat the next day.

Surprise Kittens

Instead of finding the stray cat, they instead found two newborn kittens!  They ended up taking the kittens and their mother to the humane society, but when they got back home they heard the teeniest of teeny meows coming from under their shed.

Knowing that this was most likely the sibling to the tiny kittens they’d already rescued, they got down to work to dig out this new little gal who was clearly fighting to stay alive.  They knew the kitten had been alone for many hours, and that time was crucial.

Covered in Dirt

When they finally were able to reach the kitten, they discovered that she was literally covered in dirt.  She was even coughing and having trouble breathing because the dirt had also found its way into her throat.  That is when they realized that the kitten was so desperate to feed itself that it had been eating the dirt around her.

©Annalise Burke

Unfortunately by this time, the humane society and all local veterinarians were closed for the day.  They did what they could and stayed up all night to make sure that Gemma stayed warm and comfortable, and cleaned her as best as they could.

Veterinarian Had Dire Hopes

When they were finally able to take Gemma to the veterinarian, they found out the prognosis wasn’t very good.  The vet told them that the kitten most likely wasn’t going to make it, and this was especially sad for them to hear since they’d also learned that one of the kittens they’d taken to the humane society also didn’t make it.

It seemed like the best thing they could do for the kitten was to have her humanely put down, as the veterinarian suggested.  However, they didn’t want to give up hope just yet, and good thing they didn’t!

Burke ended up quitting her summer job so that she could dedicate all of her time to trying to save this tiny kitten’s life.  The time was well spent, as Gemma started to recover fully by the time she reached the age of one month.

©Annalise Burke / Instagram – Princess_Gemma

“Gemma truly had an extreme will to live, after everything,” Burke said. “It was worth putting my life on hold for her. She is truly an angel.”

Now at six weeks old, she seems to be doing better than ever!  This story shows that sometimes even when all hope seems lost, it doesn’t mean you have to give up.  Sometimes there really is a little flower just waiting to grow underneath all of that soil.

©Annalise Burke / Instagram – Princess_Gemma


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