How a Toothless Nugget Stole the Hearts of His Humans and the Internet

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What can you say about Nugget the toothless cat other than OMG I love him!!!!!! Nugget, a 9-year-old rescue with a strong social media presence, has captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, where he can be seen coveting potatoes and generally being the love of his humans’ lives.

His mom, Anshu, filled us in on his backstory. Three years ago, when Nugget was 6 and his humans were living in Virginia, they happened to be at an eatery near The Cats at Longstreet in Sterling. Anshu had been trying to convince her husband for some time that they should get a pet. However, he’d inevitably say no whenever the subject would arise.

rescue cat
Photo: Instagram/@toothless.nugget

Adopting Shelter Pets

Neither of them had grown up with pets, and early on in their relationship, they didn’t feel that they’d have the time to care for one. Pet ownership is a lot of responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Recognizing this, they remained pet-free, but then the pandemic came along, and Anshu felt the desire to adopt a pet growing inside her.

She convinced her husband to go inside the shelter just to take a look around. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened next. Nugget’s personality shown through even in a shelter setting where so many animals are reticent about expressing themselves. Apparently, that wasn’t Nugget’s deal because he had no problem stealing both of their hearts immediately.

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rescue cat
Photo: Instagram/@toothless.nugget

Rescues Rock

With a weekend trip coming up, they decided to step back and take a few days to think about it. They quickly determined that there was no way they could leave Nugget behind and decided that upon their return, they would make him a part of their family. So, that’s exactly what they did.

Nugget entered the shelter after his previous owner, who was living in what amounted to a hoarder situation, was no longer able to care for him. One of 10 cats at the residence, he was originally brought in for euthanasia, but shelter staff recognized that other than suffering from dental issues that required the removal of his remaining teeth, there was no reason to put him down.

rescue cat
Photo: Instagram/@toothless.nugget

Mr. Potato Head

And thank goodness for that because Nugget has brought so much joy to not only his pet parents, but to his social media followers, who check in regularly to catch up on his antics. One of Nugget’s most endearing quirks — besides the fact his tongue often plops out from lack of teeth — is his fascination with potatoes.

In fact, he’s almost obsessed with them. It all started when Anshu found him in her vegetable pantry, and the adorable silliness has grown from there. We had to ask if he had any preferences — like goldens vs. reds — and were told he seems to be partial to Idaho spuds.

Noting his anxiety issues, Anshu even placed a few of them in his carrier when they moved to Texas not long ago, and they worked like a charm for keeping him on an even keel throughout the long drive.

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rescue kitty
Photo: Instagram/@toothless.nugget

Osteosarcoma in Pets

While Nugget has brought so much love into their lives, he also provided them with quite the scare when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma approximately 15 months ago. More common in dogs, it usually affects the limbs and can lead to amputation. But in Nugget’s case, it was his nose that was impacted.

Since surgery was not an option, the doctors said he’d only live 3-4 months if the cancer was left untreated and maybe 6-7 months with radiation. After receiving the grim diagnosis, they decided to try radiation, and now, almost 16 months later, he’s miraculously still around. While he’s beaten it for now, Anshu pointed out that it can still return.

rescue kitty Nugget
Photo: Instagram/@toothless.nugget

Accentuate the Positive

Preferring to focus on the positive and the here and now rather than what might be, she says Nugget’s very active, and he absolutely adores his humans and any time he gets to spend with them. Like most people during COVID, the couple worked from home for roughly two years. But since they’ve been transitioning to more and more office time, Nugget’s been bummed about their absence.

He still suffers from some complications from his previous illness, like a stuffy nose due to a lack of nasal bone, and he’s prone to infection, but the cancer is undetectable at this point. Anshu wonders if the terrible oral health he suffered from might not have been the catalyst for cancer forming in his nasal cavity.

rescue kitty with their human
Photo: Instagram/@toothless.nugget

Due to this, she stresses the importance of good dental health in pets and is adamant about educating the public about the benefits of adopting older cats rather than only considering kittens. They have every bit as much love to give and don’t require nearly as much time initially. Check out adorable Nugget’s videos below.

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