MSPCA Rescues Street Kitten Whose Collar had Embedded Into Her Skin

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Nickie rests in the adoption center after surgery to remove her embedded collar (credit MSPCA-Angell)

A social and outgoing kitten now named “Nickie” is breathing a sigh of relief at the MSPCA-Angell after shelter veterinarians surgically removed a collar last Thursday that had embedded itself so deeply into her neck that her skin had grown around it.

Nickie rests in the adoption center after surgery to remove her embedded collar (credit MSPCA-Angell)

Nickie was spotted several times in Dorchester by an anonymous good Samaritan who ultimately came to her aid, plucking her from the street and bringing her to the shelter on Nov. 1.

Dr. Cynthia Cox, director of shelter medicine for the MSPCA, was first to examine Nickie, who remained friendly and gentle throughout despite the pain associated with the collar growing into her skin.

“This unfortunately is an injury we’ve seen before,” said Dr. Cox, who surgically removes collars from one or two cats every year—even as dozens more arrive at the shelter with “severely constricted” collars. “This was a very serious case: the skin had grown around the collar and we had to cut all the way around her neck to free her.”

Dr. Cox also believes it is possible that the collar was so tightly wound that eating became difficult if not impossible. “That may explain why she was so skinny when she was brought to us.”

Dr. Cox also spayed Nickie while she was under anesthesia to ensure she could quickly transition into an adoptive home once she heals.

Despite the gruesome nature of the surgery, adoption center manager Alyssa Krieger expects Nickie to recover fully. “She’s a trooper and in time her fur will grow back and this will be a distant memory for her. And now our focus turns to finding her a wonderful new home.”

Adopters interested in taking Nickie home can email for more info or visit her during open hours. The veterinary team aims to have Nickie ready to go within the week.

Mystery: Who Owned Nickie?
According to Krieger, no one has stepped forward to claim Nickie, making it impossible to know if she even had a home. One thing is for sure, however: what happened to her is against the law.

“It’s inexcusable for any animal to suffer so unnecessarily and if an owner could be identified, that person could be facing felony animal cruelty charges,” added Krieger.

If you're interested in adopting Nickie or other animals at the MSPCA-Angell, please visit for more information and for hours and directions.