This post includes photos some people may find upsetting.
When Luisa Girón saw an Instagram post from Soplo de Vida — an animal rescue based in her adopted hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina — about Effy, a badly injured black kitten they had recently rescued, she immediately felt a strong connection with the little feline. “She was a baby — just two months old — and she was found in the middle of a highway nearly dead,” says Luisa.
When she was discovered in the street in February 2020, Effy wasn’t moving and she had serious facial injuries, so the women from Soplo de Vida immediately rushed her to the vet.
An examination revealed Effy had probably been attacked by a dog, and the doctor suggested putting her to sleep due to the severity of her injuries. “The girls decided to take her to another vet and to try to save her until she decided to stop fighting,” remembers Luisa.
Even though the kitten’s future was very uncertain, Luisa felt as though she and Effy were destined to be together, so she immediately texted her friend — and one of the owners of the rescue — that she wanted to adopt the tiny black cat if she survived.
“At first she didn’t believe me because I want all cats,” says Luisa, but once her friend realized she was serious, she agreed to let her adopt Effy if she pulled through. “Suddenly against all odds Effy started eating and purring. She was hospitalized, but she started to get better.”
While Effy was in the hospital, the women from the rescue visited her every day, and they even took her on walks to enjoy the sunshine. Eventually, Effy was healthy enough to leave the hospital for a foster home, but she still needed to have multiple surgeries to repair all of the trauma she’d sustained.
“They had to remove her ear and tail because they were severely infected and she had a broken leg,” explains Luisa. “Her whole face had to be stitched back to her head and skull which left her with half her mouth uncovered because some skin had to be removed.”
Thankfully, Effy’s foster mom took excellent care of her before and after every procedure, providing the little cat with the love and attention she needed to recover. After two months in foster care, Effy was finally ready to go to her forever home on March 26, 2020.
“Effy came home, and as soon as I saw her I started crying because she was so little,” remembers Luisa. “She looked like a kitten but she was already five months old and she was the most curious cat I have ever met.”
As soon as Effy arrived at Luisa’s home, she hopped out of her carrier and immediately began exploring. Within five minutes, the five-month-old black cat was happily playing, but she wouldn’t allow Luisa to hold or pet her. “She was a bit afraid,” explains Luisa, “but she wouldn’t stop playing. After a few days she became the most loving cat ever and she would fall asleep on top of my chest and would be so still when I put her in my hoodie’s pocket.”
Nearly a year later, Effy is doing great, but she does have a few lasting issues caused by the trauma she experienced as a tiny kitten. Not only is she missing her tail and one of her ears, Effy is unable to retract her claws on the leg that was broken, and she can’t completely close her mouth. “We have to be really careful with her teeth because them being exposed can cause them to accumulate a lot of tartar and that could result in her maybe losing her teeth when she’s older, or maybe some difficulties when eating, so we have to brush them regularly,” says Luisa.
Effy is also slow to trust new people, which can often be misinterpreted as rudeness or aggressiveness by Luisa’s friends and family. “She wouldn’t hurt anyone,” says Luisa. “She’s just afraid because of what she’s been through.”
Luisa has also found people often assume Effy is more difficult to care for because of the injuries she suffered when she was a little kitten, but aside from needing to have her teeth regularly brushed, she doesn’t require more time or attention than a typical feline. “I wish more people knew that cats who have survived injuries usually turn out to be the most loving and grateful cats,” says Luisa. “They are super loyal and will forever show you how thankful they are once they realize they’re safe.”