A tiny kitten named Smurf, who was dyed purple and appeared to suffer some abuse, is now recovering at the Nine Lives Foundation in Redwood City, Calif.
Smurf, who is now about 8 weeks old, was just 1.75 pounds when he arrived at Nine Lives on Dec. 28, the foundation said.
He had been found dyed in purple ink and with multiple bite wounds and deep lacerations. He was rescued by the San Jose Animal Care Center and then taken to Nine Lives, the foundation said.
Dr. Monica Rudiger of the Nine Lives Foundation believes Smurf was injured for amusement, as opposed to a professional dog-fighting ring.
"I believe that, for someone's amusement, this kitten was used as a chew toy for their dog," she told ABC News today, citing multiple dog bite wounds.
Smurf suffered injuries to his hind leg and shoulder -- not fatal wounds -- Rudiger said, adding that the kitten would never have survived a dog fight.
"Somebody thought it was funny, I'm assuming, to dye him purple," she added.
This weekend, Smurf's condition started to decline, Rudiger said. "He was becoming very withdrawn."
So she and another doctor took him into surgery Saturday, and since then, he's "feeling so much better."
"He's very active, he's eating," she said. Smurf will continue to receive any necessary medical care until he has fully recovered, the foundation said.
Smurf will not be available for adoption until all of his purple color is gone, Rudiger said, explaining that she does not "want him to be known as the purple kitten." It could take months for the dye to go away, she said.
While Rudiger hopes the person who harmed Smurf comes forward, she doesn't believe "this is an act of a criminal."
While Rudiger said "what happened to Smurf is really sad," she also considers him "a very lucky guy."
"A lot of them aren't as lucky," she said.
Sr. Vice President Lisa Lange of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) told ABC News in a statement, "While we're grateful that this cat is in good hands now, countless others aren't so lucky, as PETA's national cruelty response team knows all too well."
"PETA is calling on caring people everywhere to turn their anger into support for local open-door shelters that accept abused cats and dogs like Smurf 24/7—most of whom never make the news," Lange said.