When Muffin the cat was found cowering under a car in a Sydney street, he was too near death to put up any resistance from the hand that reached out and gently took hold of him.
One of his hind legs had gone completely “dead” because the whipper snipper cord that was tied in multiple knots around the limb had long since cut off the circulation of blood.
While on the young cat’s stomach were burns that vets suspected were from cigarettes.
The Good Samaritan who found Muffin, Alexus De Latora, was in no doubt the cat had been deliberately tortured.
“This was a serial killer or sociopath in the making,” Mr De Latora told Yahoo News Australia at the time.
“[It was] evil beyond evil”.
After the limp animal was rushed to a vet in western Sydney, photographs of his injuries and the story of his ordeal were shared widely across social media and received coverage in several news outlets.
After having his leg amputated, Muffin was released to Sydney-based cat rescue and charity, Cat Rescue 901, who covered his vet bills with help from donors.
Despite being sore, traumatised and reduced to three legs, from early on it was obvious to Cat Rescue 901’s co-founder Jenny Storaker that Muffin miraculously still had an affectionate, sweet nature.
“Muffin is absolutely divine and such a perfect pet,” she told Yahoo News Australia shortly after taking the cat into her own home.
“[He’s] super-duper affectionate. [All he wants is] to sleep in someone’s arms.”
As he slowly recuperated under Ms Storaker’s watchful gaze, she posted regular updates to the charity’s Facebook page showing his progress.
Unsurprisingly, the rescue began to receive enquiries from people wanting to adopt the three-legged cat.
The first expression of interest came from Kirsty Dingwall. The British expat had recently been granted permanent residency in Australia, and after three years of pet-sitting other people’s cats, was desperate for a companion of her own.
“I started looking at pet rescue and adoption sites and started following CatRescue 901 on Facebook which is where i first saw Muffin,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
“He struck me straight away as a gorgeous beautiful soul so resilient and affectionate after what had been done to him.”
Ms Dingwall added that after caring for rescue cats herself while she was growing up, she didn’t hesitate in adopting a cat who had experienced trauma.
“I thought my quiet home (and an owner that will spoil him silly) would be a nice forever home for him,” she said.
Cat Rescue 901 and Ms Storaker thought so too, and after performing a routine house-check, and Muffin had fully recovered, his foster mum personally delivered him to his new home on Saturday.
To everyone’s delight, he very quickly settled into his new home. He was renamed ‘Louie’ because the name means “renowned warrior”, Ms Dingwall explained.
“He is incredibly affectionate and very demanding of head rubs,” Louie’s new mum said.
“He has also adapted very quickly to the loss of his leg and gets around really well, hopping up on to my bed and zooming around the apartment at 5am.”
It was slightly bittersweet for Ms Storaker. It had been nearly two months since she began nursing him through the aftermath of his ordeal, watching him learn how to walk again and trying to keep him warm through freezing winter nights as his fur slowly grew back.
“[There’s] so much heartbreak involved in these rescues so knowing he went to such a nice home helps heal me too,” she explained.
“Whilst it is emotionally and financially challenging to rescue these desperate cases, we love doing it. Watching these cats heal with love and care and then go to a lovely home is incredibly rewarding.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.