A beaten cat receives care, an adoption in Playa


Two women found her lying on the sidewalk.

She was an adult female cat, unmoving and severely injured. Her face was so swollen that it seemed that her left eye was missing.

She had been badly beaten up.

Leia, as she was later named, was very calm when her rescuers took her in their arms and brought her to our partner clinic, Coco´s Animal Welfare in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. She stayed under the critical care of the staff for days, all the while being given fluids and pain medication. The staff discovered she had a brain edema, an accumulation of fluid in the brain, so we immediately began treating her for that as well. Her spirit wanted to live but her body was very damaged. We took her the next day for an x-ray, to examine the damage to her head. The x-rays didn´t show any skull fractures— some good news for our brave girl.

The women who rescued her started asking around in the area where they found her, looking for the owners of this sweet, brave cat to find out what had happened to her. They were shocked to learn that after the cat had been injured, someone had left her on the street to die. We were very upset that when she most needed care, Leia had simply been left behind.

In Playa del Carmen, IFAW is partnering with Coco’s to provide low-cost veterinary services for rescued animals and conduct outreach in communities like the one where Leia was found. We aim to improve not only peoples’ access to veterinary care, but also their knowledge about how to care for an animal, and build networks so that people know who they can call when their animal needs help. Our goal is that one day, no animal will be left behind like Leia was when they’re in need of veterinary care.

Once she began to improve, we moved Leia to IFAW´s office in Playa, where she could fully recover. While at the office, I became her caregiver, giving her medications twice a day, offering savory wet food as she was having trouble chewing hard kibble. Her face slowly started to heal, the inflammation decreasing until her left eye was back to normal.

One morning after wound cleaning, we had a bit of a scare. The scar tissue on her forehead had torn, leaving a portion of her skull exposed. I took her immediately to Coco´s, put her under anesthesia and stitched her up. Her skin and head were so delicate, we knew it would be another couple of weeks until she was fully recovered.

But we wished her a speedy recovery, because she already had a family waiting to take her home! The family had come to meet her – they had two young kids who were very respectful toward her. She was so nice to them – we could tell that it was a perfect match.  Every day they asked us how she was doing, and they chose her a name, Leia.

The day I dropped her off, I had the chance to see where she was going to live. They already had food and water waiting for her, two lovely bowls were set up in the kitchen, and a fancy litterbox was ready and waiting. They had a spacious living room, and a lovely house, and I had the pleasure of watching Leia explore it for the first time. She was so happy – everyone was enchanted by her.

This adoption made me feel particular joy. Most times, people look to adopt the youngest kittens available. Adult cats often take months, sometimes years, to find a family, for the sole reason that they aren’t kittens.  But in my experience, when people give themselves a chance to look for an older cat, they seldom regret it.

If you want to adopt a cat, please have a look to older cats and give them a much deserved chance to steal your heart.

For Leia, it was a lucky and happy end to her story. She had stolen the hearts of her new family.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy