An injured stray cat rescued in Accrington, whose story touched the hearts of thousands of animal-lovers around the world, is on the road to recovery.
Ollie, whose story was shared by over 16,000 people on Facebook, has taken his first steps during life-saving treatment from a top veterinary hospital.
The ginger tom faced being put down last month, after he was found shivering, covered in oil and dragging his back legs at the side of the road in Radcliffe, near Bury.
He is believed to have been hit by a car.
Vets at the Salford’s RSPCA Greater Manchester Veterinary Hospital found he had suffered severe nerve damage and needed complicated treatment.
He was then taken in by Accrington charity East Lancashire Cats and founder Andy Richards, 54, of Canal Street, Church, posted Ollie’s story on his personal Facebook page.
His post ended up attracting over £4,000 in donations, from as far away as Australia, the USA and Canada.
The viral campaign even attracted an offer of treatment from TV supervet Noel Fitzpatrick. However, Andy and colleagues decided to take Ollie to Liverpool’s Small Animal Teaching Hospital instead, as they were concerned he would find the journey to Noel’s surgery in Sussex too stressful. Following an MRI scan, initial investigations in Liverpool found that Ollie would not have to undergo surgery, but will need a period of treatment and physiotherapy.
Andy said: “The vets are very pleased with his walking progress, but there are still concerns about his bladder, and they don’t want to discharge him until that’s been sorted. They say he’s very cheerful, and doesn’t seem to be in any pain.”
Well-wishers from all over the country have been sending cards and care packages of treats, blankets and cat toys.
Andy said: “There are so many people who care. If love could heel, he’d be back on his feet in no time. We’ve already had people in touch to ask about adopting him, but we don’t want to make any promises until he’s well.”
He added: “The donations have gone a long way, but the initial treatment in Accrington cost over £900, and our bill for Liverpool will be around £6500.”
Any donations can be made via Paypal, through firstname.lastname@example.org, or by cheque, payable to East Lancashire Cats, sent to 8 Blackburn Road, Accrington, Lancashire, BB5 1HD.