On a warm evening in June of 2016, little Fizzgig, a one year old cat hanging onto the thin thread of life came into Animal Care and Control in Philadelphia.  The large injury to her leg paled in comparison to the significant portions of her nose and face which had been chopped off, exposing her sinus cavity.  Her bottom jaw was mostly intact, but some of her teeth suffered damage.  To the trained eyes of doctors and staff, these injuries triggered frightening suspicions.  Knowing how cats are famous for finding unique places to hide, they suspected she had sustained these injuries while under the hood of a car, near the running motor, causing the fan blade to strike her humerous and face. 

Euthanasia seemed the most humane treatment, but her happy and caring demeanor led them to contact Kaitlin at The Philly Kitty Rescue in Philadelphia.  The same evening, they rescued Fizzgig, literally giving her a second chance at life.  After being stabilized and administered a shot for pain, she was placed in a safe home with her foster family.  Little Fizzgig behaved as any normal, happy cat would.  Despite her major facial impairment, she would eat and drink as best she could and groom herself daily.  Standing on her hind legs, she would stretch herself as far up her foster’s leg as possible just to get close.  She wasn’t shy about showing affection either, rubbing her face and body on everyone who came in contact with her.  However, The Philly Kitty Rescue still knew injuries this extensive would require specialized and costly surgery.  They then reached out to The Ian Somerhalder Foundation for help with the financial burden.

August 15, 2016 marked a turning point for Fizzgig.  She was placed under the care of Dr. Johnson at Ark Animal Hospital in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.  Facial revision surgery was challenging, since she didn’t have any firm upper lip. The skilled hands of this surgeon corrected the flap of skin which was dangling and removed other tissue to prevent infection and encourage healing.  Dr. Johnson was cautiously optimistic, not sure if the procedure would bring success, but was delighted to find it did.  Fizzgig now has a reconstructed half-mouth, is finally able to hold food in her mouth and drink normally.  Given the severity of her injuries, this was indeed an astounding success.  She continues to heal with no evidence of infection.

Like many creatures living with disabilities, Fizzgig has adapted well.  She’s a chatty, happy cat and very vocal when she wants attention.  When requests for her adoption began coming in, The Philly Kitty Rescue carefully screened each applicant to ensure a perfect match.  Her new family reports she is doing remarkably well.  She had a clear checkup at their vet and appears to be at no increased risk of URI.

It takes exceptional individuals to see past injuries otherwise looked upon as untreatable, yet Dr. Johnson, the staff at Ark Animal Hospital and the folks at The Philly Kitty Rescue did just that.  They helped transform Fizzgig into the regal cat you see in these photographs.  Her disfigurement doesn’t outshine her beauty or prevent her from enjoying every precious minute of life.

To ISF, The Philly Kitty Rescue sent their heartfelt gratitude saying, “Thank you so much for your help toward her surgery.  Without your grant, Fizzgig would not have been able to receive timely, veterinary care.  We wouldn’t have found her a forever home without you.”

Now Fizzgig’s beauty truly shows, inside and out.  

Written by Judith Paolercio

Edited by Bob Stone