PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A cat rescuer and police want to honor a 14-year-old boy who chased off a group of children torturing a cat in Paterson and then brought the feline home in an effort to save him.

The elementary school-aged children severely beat the cat with rocks May 7, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported. Although the incident was off-campus, they have been suspended from school, Putney reported.

The 14-year-old stepped in to stop the beating and then kept the cat at home for two days until a teacher at his school overheard him talking about him. The teacher then contacted Renee Olan, who runs the Chance at Life Cat Rescue in Hackensack.

“When I got the call, I didn’t know what to expect,” Olan said. “Of course, when I saw him, it was something I’ll never forget.”

Olan brought the cat, nicknamed Quattro, to a veterinarian. He suffered severe head damage and two broken legs and had to have an eye removed. Olan said the cat died, but he almost pulled through thanks to the teen.

The children responsible for the abuse “are a horrific part of the story, but there’s also a hero,” Olan said. “And I want to get that out so kids his age, or any age for that matter, know what to do.”

A criminal investigation into the abuse is underway, Putney reported. Children and Family Services is also taking a closer look at the households of those children responsible, Olan said.

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