A PET cat survived a 40ft fall on to a concrete pavement after high winds blasted it off the balcony of a third floor flat.
Tigger suffered some of the worst injuries ever seen by vets and needed surgery worth £8,000 to have a chance of survival.
But the nine-year-old ginger tom is springing back to life after an animal charity stepped in to foot the bill.
The cat fell victim to the storms that swept Scotland in the week before Christmas, bringing gusts of up to 70mph to his home city of Edinburgh.
Owner Alexis Lennie believes Tigger smacked off at least one balcony on the way down, slowing him enough to make the fall survivable.
The 27-year-old mother of one returned from work on December 19 to find no sign of Tigger. Neighbours told her he had been found in a pool of blood below the balcony and to “prepare for the worst”.
When Alexis called the vet she was asked to come down to “identify” her pet and feared he was already dead.
Vets told Alexis that Tigger was still alive but had smashed both back legs – with bones sticking through the skin – and had a pint of fluid on his lungs.
She said: “I was hysterically crying. He’s not just a pet, he’s family. I’ve had him since he was six weeks old and my daughter has known him her whole life.
“They said the costs for his care were continually rising and if I couldn’t pay them the £8,000 it was going to cost for his specialist care they would have to put him down.”
The cat lover contacted the PDSA, who agreed to step in and fund the treatment.
Tigger was transferred to their Edinburgh centre where metal scaffolding was used to rebuild the totally shattered right leg and another two casts fitted.
“When I look up at the balcony I can’t stop but think how on earth he survived that fall,” said Alexis.
“I think on his way down he must have hit the balcony below, which sounds awful, but in reality it probably saved his life by slowing down the fall.
“If it wasn’t for the PDSA I would have lost my pet. Although the care he is getting is really specialised, they’re trying the best they can and I’m so thankful for all their help.”
Tigger is now recovering at home and being pampered by Alexis and her 10-year-old daughter Billie-Lee.
Alexis added: “The wonderful thing about Tigger is he is a brilliant wee cat who is so affectionate, has such a character and everyone who meets him says they think he is a human trapped in a cat’s body.”
Andrew Hogg, the PDSA vet who operated on Tigger, said: “Tigger’s leg injuries are among the worst I have seen.
“But our first priority was to drain the fluid from his chest and make sure he would be strong enough for us to operate and repair his legs.
“The breaks to his right leg required complex surgery because a large piece of bone had completely broken away. An external fixator is currently holding the bone fragments in place to allow them to knit back together.
“It will be some time yet before we can be sure both his legs will mend, though the injuries to his left leg are less severe.
“Tigger is very fortunate to have been found alive and well after such a fall.”