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Originally published December 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 10, 2008 at 12:47 AM

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Veterinarians reattach injured cat's face

Veterinarians in Boston on Tuesday performed an unusual surgery to reattach the face of a cat they think was injured by a car's fan belt, probably because she tried to stay warm under the hood.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — Veterinarians in Boston on Tuesday performed an unusual surgery to reattach the face of a cat they think was injured by a car's fan belt, probably because she tried to stay warm under the hood.

Edgar, a 4-year-old long-haired feline, disappeared from her home in Winthrop for three days last week. When she came home, her owner found her in her litter box, with part of her face dangling from her head.

"When her owner saw her face, she passed out," said Elizabeth Kendrick, a surgical technician at Angell Animal Medical Center.

The owner, who asked not to be identified, recovered from the shock and took Edgar to an animal hospital.

And, yes, Edgar is female.

Remarkably, Edgar suffered no major blood loss or any permanent nerve damage in the accident.

She just needed to have her facial skin stitched back on during an hourlong surgery, veterinary surgeon Michael Pavletic said.

"And she should be fine after this," he added.

Besides the skin hanging from Edgar's face, Edgar seemed normal, Kendrick said.

"She was purring and sticking her head up so we could pet her," Kendrick said.

"She even tried to chew at her skin. I'd never seen anything like it."

Pavletic reattached Edgar's face using about 35 stitches. She came through the surgery with no problems, though she looks as though someone punched her in the eye.

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"She'll need to take some medicine, but I don't anticipate her having any problems," Pavletic said.

Bonnie Beaver, a professor of small-animal clinical services at Texas A&M University, said such animal injuries are rare because cats are usually killed instantly from car fan belts.

"She may have problems later, but the cat was saying, 'I may have lost this life but, by golly, I have eight more.' "

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