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Newton animal activist rescues cat in Iran, brings it to Boston for reconstructive surgery

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  August 30, 2013 11:05 AM

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(Yasie Saadat)

A photo taken this month of Yasie Saadat with Nafas the cat, who Saadat rescued him from the streets of Iran and brought to Boston for a special reconstructive surgery.

An animal welfare activist from Newton is trying to find a permanent home for a cat that she rescued from the streets of Iran and brought some 6,000 miles to Boston for a delicate surgery to reconstruct the animal’s nose and upper lip.

Yasie Saadat, an Iranian-American, rescued Nafas, a one-year-old cat, last October after she found him curled up underneath a car on a busy street in Tehran.

“Nafas was filthy, his face and eyes were covered in an infectious mass and he was emaciated,” said a statement from the MSPCA Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain. “X-rays would later show he had been eating pebbles and sticks in a desperate bid to survive.”

A veterinarian in Iran was forced to amputate the cat’s nose and upper lip to remove infected tissue. The operation left the cat permanently scarred with his nasal cavity fully exposed, which left the cat in pain and it became increasingly difficult for Nafas to eat and breathe.

In January, Saadat brought the cat to Mike Pavletic, head of the Angell Animal Medical Center’s surgery department.

Two month later, after careful evaluation and planning, Pavletic performed a three-hour surgery to reconstruct the cat’s face.

“Nafas was a particularly difficult case given how little tissue there was to work with,” he said. “Ultimately we were able to build a new nose and upper lip using a technique I developed several years ago to use unaffected facial tissue to perform the reconstruction.”

“I’m very pleased with the outcome and am confident Nafas will enjoy a long and healthy life,” he added. “He certainly deserves that after all he’s undergone.”

The cat has spent the past five months recovering and veterinarians say his condition has improved dramatically.

Saadat, with help from local veterinarians, is now searching for a permanent home for Nafas, who has his own Facebok page.

“I’m grateful to Angell and to Dr. Pavletic for everything he has done to help Nafas to live as normal a life as possible,” said Saadat. “And I know Nafas is going to make one individual or family very happy once he’s adopted.”

Anyone who is interested in adopting Nafas can fill out an application online here or can e-mail

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