I have two cats, Meow and Tiri, both rescures, both horribly abused. Meow, the older cat, is about 6 and a beautiful calico. She was orally abused pretty badly, and we're guessing (from her reaction to certain objects) beaten. Tiri, about 5, is all black, and has only 3 legs. Her back leg is missing. It was cut off, almost certainly while she was awake for it, and then...well, I won't go into it here. Suffice it to say if I ever find out who did what they did to her, there'd be a shovel involved and my DH would probably be here trying to raise donations for my legal defense fund. We found her mostly dead, and our vet (and old country vet who I loved dearly and miss a lot since our move) wasn't sure she could be saved. 4+ years later, she's still with us, hale and healthy. Both of them are really well-adjusted, friendly, loving cats.
It's amazing how much love animals have to give. They follow me from room to room, the snuggle to me. As weird as this sounds, they know what I am saying, and not just how I say it. They'll do things when I ask, even fairly complicated things sometimes. I am sure there's some other explanation, but I tend to believe they've got greater comprehension than we give them credit for.
Oh, and they're spoiled. Rotten. Fortunately, they're also really well behaved (no jumping on tables, scratching furniture even though they have their claws, etc.).
"This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett