Cuddles didn't make it.

Saturday night, hopes were high for the 6-week-old male kitten - after it survived being stoned and set on fire in Chester.

"The initial assessment was he wasn't even burned badly enough to have the fleas burned off his body," said Tabitha Gordon, assistant operations manager for the Delaware County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Late Saturday afternoon, a group of youths allegedly threw rocks at the cat and doused him with some sort of flammable liquid, which was set on fire.

The attack happened about 5:30 p.m. in the 700 block of East 5th Street, according to Chester animal-control officer Dave Schlott.

Cuddles was scorched, his whiskers were singed, and some fur was burnt from his ears.

"He was lucky in that the accelerant didn't work nearly as well as the folks that put it on him had intended," Gordon said.

After the attack, the kitten was affectionate enough to earn the nickname "Cuddles" from Schlott.

"It climbed up my T-shirt and sat on my shoulder and cuddled against my neck," he said. "It was so affectionate, almost like grateful that somebody came to its rescue."

But Cuddles started declining yesterday, and when a vet checked on him shortly after midnight, the cat had taken its last breath.

The vet confirmed the cause of kitten's demise. "It was from complications sustained from the abuse he had received," Gordon said.

"It's a very sad story," she added. ". . . Everyone who found this out has been very upset."

Anyone with information about this case should contact the Delaware County SPCA at 610-566-1370.