Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert Rushed Their Rescue Kitten to the Hospital: ‘This Dude Is a Fighter’

Derek Hough's stray cat falling ill and then beating the odds
Derek Hough attends the 33rd Annual Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular Gala on July 15, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Leon Bennett/WireImage/Getty Images

The tiniest things can take up the biggest spaces in your heart. Derek Hough and girlfriend Hayley Erbert are breathing a sigh of relief now that Palo, the stray kitten they took in, is on the mend after falling ill.

The Dancing With the Stars alum, 33, took to Instagram on Tuesday, October 23, to share two videos of the pair at an animal hospital eagerly awaiting being reunited with their beloved pet. “We’re picking up Palo. He’s been in really bad shape,” Hough explains about the orange Tabby in the video.

“He’s been hospitalized for like, the past three, four days,” Ebert, 24, adds.

“It’s been pretty touch and go, and we actually thought he wasn’t going to make it — but we’re bringing him home,” Hough continues before breaking into a grin. The video goes on to show the couple showering the adorable kitty with love.

“In the MRI, his brain was swelling and it was trying to find space and the brain was laying on the spinal cord, so he was going into paralysis, essentially,” Erbert tells the camera. “He was paralyzed.”

In the second clip, the pro dancer shows off Palo’s shaved fur from the medical procedures, and shares footage of the little feline walking jauntily on the kitchen counter and playing. Gushes Hough, “This cat, man, he’s the man!”

Derek Hough's stray cat falling ill and then beating the odds
Courtesy Derek Hough/Instagram

Hough further elaborated on Palo’s condition, which resulted in his hospitalization, in the caption. “A couple of days ago we woke up to find Palo limp. We rushed him to the vet at 3:30 a.m., where they told us it wasn’t looking good for him. We told them to try anything and everything. It’s amazing how fast we got attached to this little stray,” Hough wrote. “Accepting the possibility that he might not pull through, we got a call saying he miraculously woke up with no symptoms. This dude is a fighter.”

Hough and Erbert — who started dating in July 2015 — came across a flea-covered Palo on their way home from an Emmy pre-party in September and decided to rescue him. “Definitely a turn of events but I truly believe we were meant to save his life,” Erbert wrote in a social media post, “even if that means in a sparkly dress and heels.”

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