Kitten Dyed Purple and Given to Fighting Dogs as a 'Chew Toy' Makes Heartwarming Recovery

News - Inside Edition Staff

When rescuers at a Northern California feline shelter found an abused kitten that had been dipped in fabric dye and likely given to fighting dogs as bait, they worried he'd never pull through from his injuries.

When the little fighter managed to cling to life despite the odds, the folks at the Nine Lives Foundation in Redwood City thought they'd never get the purple dye from his fur.

Now they've been happily proven wrong on both counts and the kitten is now an unbelievably transformed cat with gorgeous gray fur.

Read: Tiny Kitten Rescued From Inside Wall of Abandoned Hospital

Meet Smurf: once a so-called "chew toy" for dogs, he's now a bouncing ball of energy who gets happier every day.

"We call his color Glorious Gray!" reads a Facebook page created for Smurf and his best friend and fellow rescue, a blind cat named Wanda.

"Although it is hard to tell through pictures, he is mostly this beautiful, unique gray. White speckles here, white racing stripe there, and only very faint patches of purple remain around his neck area, and the insides of his hind legs."

Smurf was found alongside a road late last year. At 8-weeks-old, he'd been almost entirely dipped in indigo fabric dye and had suffered big, life-threatening wounds.

Watch: Vet Cradles Scared and Crying Rescue Puppy Just Like a Baby After Surgery

"I've seen a lot of animals used as bait for other animals; it looks to me like he was used as a chew toy," Nine Lives founder Monica Rudiger told the Mercury News after his rescue. "He obviously wasn't killed by the dog or whatever animal it was, but he was pretty badly injured."

Barely over a pound at the time of his rescue, Nine Lives' efforts soon had Smurf growing bigger and stronger by the day.

Fast forward a few months and Smurf is the picture of health.

"He is one strong boy, and nothing will stop him from letting his true colors shine!" reads his Facebook.

Watch: Service Dog Cuddles 9-Year-Old Boy with Autism While Lying in Hospital