Paralysed cat's miraculous recovery documented in heartwarming videos

·Environment Editor
·3-min read

A Victorian stray cat’s amazing three-week-recovery has been documented in a series of heartwarming videos.

Frightened, lost and paralysed, Willis the Siamese cat was set to be euthanised until an animal rescuer insisted on giving him a second chance.

He was first seen dragging himself across a stranger’s backyard in the central Victorian town of Hamilton on January 28.

Three images showing Willis the cat walking again.
A Victorian animal carer documented a paralysed cat's amazing recovery. Source: Hamilton Wildlife Shelter

The angry animal was trying to hide and when wildlife carer Shelly Burrowes attended the scene, his behaviour led to think he could be feral.

Now weeks into his care, she thinks he's the most affectionate cat in the world.

Vet suggests euthanising stray cat

As a wildlife volunteer, helping domestic animals is not something Ms Burrowes normally agrees to, but unable to ignore a creature in need, she caught the cat and drove him to the vet.

Unfortunately Willis wasn’t microchipped, and with his back legs flopping on the ground, the medical advice was to put him to sleep.

“He couldn’t move his back legs at all and he had no pain response,” Ms Burrowes told Yahoo News Australia.

“Because he had such a severe injury and there was no way of contacting the owner, they wanted to put him down.”

Tiny twitch in cat's leg first sign of recovery

Despite his bleak prognosis, there was one small glimmer of hope.

It came in the form of a tiny twitch in one of Willis’ back legs, and the vet agreed to X-ray him.

“I wanted to know if he had a broken spine or not, because I’ve raised animals who have come in with nerve damage that have made a full recovery,” Ms Burrowes said.

“If I was prepared to put in the time, energy and love, why not give him that chance to recover?”

Close up of two bite marks were found on Willis's body.
Two bite marks were found on Willis's body. Source: Hamilton Wildlife Shelter

Luckily for Willis, there were no signs of a break.

Once he began to trust his carer, she was able to give him a thorough examination for injuries.

Ms Burrowes' initial belief was that he had likely been hit by a car, but two tiny puncture marks on his spine suggested he had most likely been paralysed by a dog bite.

Stray cat learns to walk again

Through January and into February, Ms Burrowes documented Willis’ miraculous recovery.

With little more than pain relief, massage and good will, the determined cat learnt to stand up and walk again.

Left - Willis with a young girl. Close up of Willis with his food and water dishes.
While he's quickly become part of the family, Willis will be returned this week. Source: Hamilton Wildlife Shelter

“He was in my living room and I accidentally made a loud noise and he just got up and ran across my living room and then sat down again,” Ms Burrowes said.

“My daughter and I just looked at each other and we were like: Did we just see that?”

Willis to go home after he's spotted on social media

While Ms Burrowes regularly conducts fundraisers to help care for the wildlife she rescues, she did not want to use that money to care for Willis.

Instead she put up a seperate call for help, and that’s how his owner managed to find him.

“Through that post it got shared that this was a lost cat, (and) did anybody know who the owner was?” Ms Burrowes said.

“It was a friend of the owner (who) saw that post and messaged me and said: I think that is my friend’s cat.”

With Willis going from strength to strength, Ms Burrowes hopes to return him this week.

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