A CAT that was almost eaten to death by fleas has made a remarkable recovery following months of treatment.
Shadow was a “walking scab” and close to dying after his owners tried to save money by using over-the-counter flea treatment rather than going to a vet.
More than half his fur fell out and he was in so much pain from open wounds no-one could get near him.
But after four months of intensive treatment at a cat rescue centre in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, the puss is almost fully recovered and has been given a new home by the worker who cared for him.
Animals lovers are appealing to cat owners to treat their pets properly for fleas, including using vet-approved treatments.
Shadow, whose age is unknown, was taken to Lothian Cat Rescue in September last year by his previous owners, who admitted the flea infestation had got out of control.
Janette Cooper, an animal lover who has worked at the centre for more than six years, said: “He was on death’s door to be honest and was basically a walking scab and must’ve been in a world of pain.
“He was really really scared and in an awful lot of pain.
“He picked up a virus too because of the medication stops the antihistamine working. It’s pretty much a miracle he’s survived.”
She added: “It’s quite shocking for a cat to come home in that state. When he was dropped off the owners didn’t hang about long I think they were quite embarrassed.
“He was in Lothian Cat rescue for three to four months. He had less than half his fur and the fur that was there had to be taken off. Now he’s got more than 75% coverage but it’s something that will constantly have to be looked at.”
In the run up to Christmas, Shadow moved into his new home with Janette and her other fellow rescue cat, Watson.
She said: “He was really interested in everything and was even going up to the animals and giving them kisses. It’s nice to see he’s had a new lease of life. It’s just lovely.
“He will always have a flea allergy but he’s got a long and happy life ahead of him.”
She added: “Certain products at vets can be expensive but loads have programmes and charities do their best to help and can sometimes provide financial assistance.
“People need to question if they can afford pets before getting them.”
Posting upsetting images of Shadow when he first arrived at the centre, Lothian Cat Rescue issued a warning to anyone looking to buy a pet.
They said: “Our hearts broke when Shadow arrived with us. He was infested with fleas and had a severe allergy to his unwelcome guests.
“His owners explained that they had tried to get the situation under control, but couldn’t.
“This is a picture of Shadow taken after he had been to our vets. At the vets along with the usual MOT type bits and pieces, Shadow was sedated to allow his open wounds – some self-inflicted through scratching and some simply the result of his allergy – to be fully cleaned.
“He was also fully treated for fleas (and other parasites) using vet approved products.
“We are sharing Shadow’s story not to upset people or to provoke outrage, but rather to educate. Please please please treat your cat for fleas (and their best friends, worms).
“And please use vet approved treatments designed specifically for cats – not dogs.”