@@ Argentinian Woman Thought She Rescued a Kitten, but She Was Surprised to See What It Grew Up to be

 

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

There are so many stray animals in the world who are desperate to be adopted and given a second chance at life. However, the human will to adopt is far less than the supply. This is largely because choosing to adopt an animal is not a decision to be made lightly. 

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When you adopt an animal, you agree to love them despite the abuse and hardships that they have endured. When you choose to take home an animal from the side of the road, these uncertainties are even more of a reality. For Florencia Lobo, adopting a stray kitten didn’t quite go as she thought it would.

Florencia Lobo Was Prompted by an Act of Kindness

What started out as a normal day fishing with her brother in Tucumán, in the northwest of Argentina, turned into a life-changing event for 18-year-old Florencia Lobo. The teen was expecting to take home a big fish, but she took home something very different. 

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Already having finished school, Florencia spends her days studying social work which has a strong focus on helping others. This makes what happens next all the more understandable - and shocking at the same time.

The Siblings Never Expected to Find What They Did

On the morning of the fateful discovery, Florencia headed off to Santa Rosa de Leales, a settlement in Tucumán in the northwest of Argentina. She had plans with her brother to go fishing, but they were distracted when they heard a light cry. 

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With their interest piqued, they put down their rods and went to investigate. At first, they thought that the sound was that of a fallen bird, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. What they found next would change their lives.

Their Discovery Is Not What They Expected

Together, the brother and sister left their fishing gear where it was and went to find out what the noise was. Walking over to a tree, they discovered the source of the sound and raised their eyebrows in surprise. 

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There, under the tree, were two ginger kittens lying next to their dead mother. Without a mother to care for the newborn cats, Florencia was certain that they wouldn’t survive. So, she decided that she had to rescue the poor animals.

There Were A Lot of Missing Puzzle Pieces

Florencia’s day had developed dramatically. It started as a normal fishing trip and ended with her as the adopted mother of two ginger cats. How did she get to this point? Her instinct to care for others had kicked in, and she realized that she couldn’t leave the two ginger kittens to die. 

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She shares, “We thought that it was an abandoned cat who had given birth.” And while her thoughts appeared to be correct, she couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Looking at the tragic scene, Florencia’s heart broke for the two small cats. They appeared to be barely one week old and looked helpless and hungry. Their mother was missing part of her loin, leading Florencia to believe that she had been attacked by a larger animal.  

 

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After finding the desperate kittens meowing alongside their deceased mother, Florencia was left with no option but to take both of them home with her. She scooped up the kittens and took them both under her wing, making them a part of her family from the very first minute.

A Tragic Turn of Events

For the first few days, Florencia doted on the two ginger kittens. She even gave them names to make them feel more like family. The female was named Dani, and the male was named Tito. However, one week after welcoming the kittens into her home, something awful happened. 

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Dani failed to recover her strength, and after a week of staying with Florencia she passed away. Florencia was incredibly sad, but invested all of her extra energy into her new faithful companion - Tito.

Tito Was Seemingly Healthy

After Dani passed away, Florencia and Tito became closer than ever. The little kitten would follow her around, and respond to her whistle-call. The pair were two peas in a pod, and Florencia couldn’t imagine how she’d feel if anything happened to Tito. So, she decided to take precautions. 

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Although Tito seemed to be in great health, Florencia decided to take him for a check-up when he was two months old. Little did she know what she would find out.

The Highly Anticipated Visit to the Vet

You’d think that Florencia would have taken Tito to the vet earlier. After finding him hungry and helpless on the side of the road, and after his sister’s failed attempt at recovery, it’s surprising that Tito wasn’t taken for a check-up before. 

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However, Tito appeared to be in great health and there didn’t seem to be any cause for concern or action. Until one day, something happened to the ginger kitten that forced a visit to the veterinarian.

A Normal Injury Leads to a Suspicious Discovery

Florencia admits that Tito is one small animal wrapped into a huge bundle of energy. He constantly plays and jumps around. It was only a matter of time until the young cat stumbled into some trouble and hurt one of his legs. 

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Seeing her kitten in pain, Florencia didn’t know what to do other than to take him to the vet - so that’s exactly what she did. She never could have imagined that the visit would be so mind-blowing, though.

Tito’s Health Becomes Florencia’s Priority

After taking the two ginger kittens under her wing, and having one of them pass away under her care, Florencia was adamant about keeping Tito healthy and in tip-top shape. When he hurt one of his legs, she decided that going to the vet would be the best option. 

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Gathering Tito into her arms, Florencia prepared to make her way to the vet and get his leg looked at by a professional. With all of her concerns focused on Tito, she didn’t think to prepare herself for what the vet might say.

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Arriving at the Vet - and the Moment of Truth

The young woman arrived at the vet with Tito carefully cradled in her arms. She opened the doors of the clinic, proudly doting on her new kitten, and prepared to have him tended to. She had come to love Tito and his mischievous nature more than anything and wanted to make sure that he had the best care. 

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Although Florencia was concerned enough to take the kitten to the vet, she didn’t have any serious expectations about severe damage. As a result, she expected this trip to the vet to be rather standard. But she couldn’t have been more wrong.

Florencia’s Expectations Were Turned on Their Head

Up until this point, Florencia thought that she was taking her rescued ginger kitten to the vet to have his leg checked out. But by the time that she would leave, her whole world would be turned upside down. 

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Releasing the furry kitten to the veterinarian, Florencia expected to be told that the leg would be put in a cast and that Tito would have to tone down his hyperactivity. But that’s not all that she was told.

All That It Took Was One Quick Look

As a student studying social work, Florencia was on a tight budget. She had found this particular veterinary clinic that was close to her house and decided that she could both afford them and trust them in their diagnosis. 

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However, when Florencia gently handed over her bundle of joy, she was met with a rather unexpected and shocking surprise. The veterinarian turned to Florencia and told her that Tito was not a normal house cat - leaving her completely baffled. What did this mean?

If Not a Domestic House Cat, Then What?

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Florencia stood in the veterinary rooms with her mouth on the floor. The vet had taken one quick look at Tito and rather than speak about his injured leg, he spoke about how Tito was actually a different species altogether.

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The only problem was that the vet couldn’t tell what species Tito is. Florencia shares, “The vet didn’t know what it was but said it was not a normal cat and gave me the number of the reserve.”

Florencia Left the Vet More Confused Than Ever

If the little bundle of loving ginger fluff that Florencia had brought back to her home wasn’t really a cat, then what could he possibly be? If a professional vet couldn’t answer the question, then who could?

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Florencia was incredibly confused, especially because Tito resembled a house cat so beautifully. Nobody seemed to have the answers that Florencia needed, so she decided that she would pick up the phone and call the number that the vet had given her.

The Veterinarian Passed the Baton to Someone More Specialized

You would think that a veterinarian who dealt with animals all day, every day, would know the answer to Florencia’s conundrum, but the vet had no idea. Sure, Tito looked like a ginger cat at a glance, but if you look closer, there is something very different about the feline. 

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Florencia hoped that by calling the number that the vet had given to her, that she would get the answers to her desperate question. So, she picked up her phone and waited for an answer with bated breath.

A Suspense-Filled Phone Call

Florencia decided that she had to get to the bottom of the mystery. When she picked Tito up from the side of the road, she didn’t think much further than how cute and helpless he looked. The last thing that she ever expected was to be told that he wasn’t as he appeared. 

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Picking up her phone, Florencia began to punch in the phone number given to her by the vet. At the back of her mind, a simple question kept replaying over and over again - if Tito wasn’t a cat, then what could he possibly be?

If Not a Cat, Then What?

As far as Florencia was concerned, Tito looked like a baby kitten. And as they say, “if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck - then it must be a duck!” But the vet had a different idea, and Florencia trusted that the vet knew more than she did. 

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As the teen waited for someone to pick up on the other phone line, her mind began to fill with all sorts of concerns and details that she had missed.

Florencia’s Mind Flashed Back to Tito’s “Abnormal” Behavior

While still uncertain about what type of animal she had brought home, Florencia began replaying situations that should have acted as red flags. 

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For example, she shares that she noticed that he was a bit too active, but thought nothing of it. Florencia admits, “He likes to play, bite, and run pretty fast. He liked to get on the table and jump from there, he thought it was normal.” In fact, it was this sort of activity that led Tito to the vet in the first place.

The More That She Thought About It, the Stranger Tito’s Behavior Was

Suddenly, small details started coming together to paint a larger picture. Although Tito looked like a ginger cat, certain features were slightly different and made him stand out from the norm.

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His hyperactive behavior was also concerning, especially considering that he was a weak, abandoned kitten not that long ago. So, while Florencia admits that there were a few signs of things being amiss, she was still uncertain about what type of animal Tito was. But she was about to find out.

Regardless of What Species Tito Was, One Thing Was Certain

Although nobody could pinpoint exactly what species of animal Tito was, it was certain that he wasn’t a domestic house cat. This fact alone made Florencia a little bit concerned about how he would handle being put back in the wild. 

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She began to fear that he wouldn’t be able to fend for himself after being fed meat and milk on demand. Florencia shares,  “I worry that he will be released and that he does not know how to do his usual things because he is already domesticated.”

The Domestic Home Is No Place for a Wild Cat

Florencia had come to terms with the fact that Tito was not a domestic cat, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to keep him in her home. But before she could do anything about fixing the situation, she needed to find out what type of animal he was. 

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After being fed by Florencia, Tito had grown in size and his energy was indicative of that of a wild cat, but no one was certain what type of cat he was.

Argentine Animal Rescue Foundation to the Rescue

Eventually, Florencia managed to solve the lingering mystery. Using the number that the vet had given her, she was finally put through to the Argentine Animal Rescue Foundation. The group then transferred Florencia to Horco Molle Nature Reserve. 

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The staff at the reserve took not more than one look at the young cat and immediately confirmed what type of animal Tito was. Instead of being a domestic ginger cat, Tito turned out to be none other than a Jaguarundi Puma.

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Tito Finally Knew What Type of Animal He Is

With the help of the vet, the Argentine Animal Rescue Foundation and Horco Molle Nature Reserve, Florencia was able to confirm that Tito was a Jaguarundi Puma. Her looming suspicions of Tito being a wild cat were officially confirmed. 

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The Jaguarundi Puma is a small wild cat that is native to American territories reaching all the way from Arizona to Argentina. Simply by luck, Florencia just happened to stumble across the orphaned cub and give it the help that it needed to survive.

What Exactly Is a Jaguarundi Puma?

Now that Florencia and all those involved knew what type of animal Tito is, they could decide how best to improve his living conditions. The wild cat can weigh up to 9 kilograms as an adult, which is significantly more than regular house cats, and would quickly outgrow Florencia's small home. 

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The animals, which are sometimes referred to as “otter-cats” are elusive creatures and are native to southern North America, and South America - explaining how Florencia came to find Tito when his mother died.

Interesting Facts About the Jaguarundi Puma

The wild cats have a short, uniform coat with three color phases. The cats with a lighter colored coat, such as Tito, tend to spend their time in drier habitats where their coloring can provide better camouflage. 

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In addition, these cats prefer to spend more time on the ground than other big cat species, but they can still jump as high as two meters in the air and hunt small mammals and birds. These habits make up a very different lifestyle from the one that Tito had while living with Florencia.

A Small Home Is No Place For A Wild Animal

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Knowing these details about Tito, Florencia was faced with a very difficult situation. She had to give up Tito so that he could have a better life. She understands why Tito can’t live with her anymore, but she still has concerns about how he’ll fare in the wild after being domesticated as a cub.

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In the meantime, Tito is being carefully cared for by the reserve in order to prepare him for the return to his natural habitat.

Florencia Took the High Road

During the past two months, Florencia had developed a deep bond with Tito. The pair were inseparable and she loved the kitten more than anything. She could never have predicted that a trip to the vet would lead to the unveiling of such a shocking truth. 

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But knowing the truth about what type of animal Tito is, she had to hand him over to the reserve. Florencia had to trust that the reserve would look after him and bridge the gap between being a domesticated cat to a wild cat.

That Didn’t Stop Florencia from Missing Tito

Although she made the right decision, Florencia admits that she misses Tito terribly. She shares, “I miss him a lot, he was waiting for me when I arrived from school.” Now, Tito is being conditioned in the reserve to survive in the wild. 

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At the end of the day, fate brought Florencia and Tito together. Without her help, who knows whether or not Tito would have survived. We hope that Tito gets strong quickly and adapts easily to his new environment.

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