A cat which disappeared for 11 months was reunited with his family – after being found on the brink of death by two strangers.
Purcy, named after his loud purring, had been missing from his worried family for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in a stranger’s garden.
Helen Campion and her family had spent 10 months looking for Purcy, going to door to door and plastering their neighbourhood with missing posters.
But they’d finally abandoned hope and had to go through the heartbreaking task of taking down all the posters they’d put up.
Ryan Fogarty and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.
Ryan and Tony took Purcy in, wrapped him in a blanket, spooned water into his mouth and then rushed him barely breathing to Vets Now’s pet emergency hospital in Manchester.
The hospital’s medical team put Purcy in an incubator and worked on him for 24 hours to give him painkillers and fluids and remove the ticks and oil from his skin.
The Vets Now team discovered Purcy was micro-chipped – and rang his owner Helen Campion to tell her the amazing news that he was alive.
Helen, 39, said: “Purcy’s story is proof that Christmas miracles really do happen – and that a much-loved family pet like Purcy can come back from the dead.
“I just want to thank Ryan and Tony and everyone at Vets Now for all they did for him.
“Purcy was so far gone that when Vets Now rang to say he’d been brought in they warned me he may well not make it.
“But somehow he pulled through and to look him now he’s totally unrecognisable from the cat Ryan and Tony found.
“People say cats don’t remember their owners after a while – but I can tell you that’s rubbish because when I walked into the Vets Now hospital Purcy tried to stand up in his incubator even though his legs were too weak to let him manage it.
“I was in floods of tears, so was my son Owen, who was 13 then and 14 now. Purcy is actually Owen’s cat and I can’t tell you how much it means to Owen to have Purcy home.”
Ryan and Tony live five miles from Helen’s home in Offerton, Stockport, and it remains a mystery how he ended up so far away.
Helen, a full-time mother-of-four, said: “We just don’t know what happened. We think he may have been hit by a car but we’ll never really know.
“We originally got Purcy from the Millstream Animal Rescue centre in Manchester.
“He was in a litter of kittens abandoned under a garden shed, so he’s definitely used up a couple of his nine lives.
“We called him Purcy because the minute we saw him in the shelter he started purring so loudly.
“He was in Vets Now for 24 hours – then when he came home he had to wear a special vest to keep him warm because he was so weak.
“We had to have the heating on full-blast for a month so everyone in the house was sweltering – but no-one was complaining about it!
“He was so weak and his muscles were so wasted away that he was only allowed a little bit of food each day to start with in case too much food led to liver failure.
“So Vets Now drew up a feeding chart for us showing how much to give him each day and how to gradually build it up.
“The oil he was covered in was so thick that they couldn’t wash it all out – so they had to shave off what was left of his fur.”
Ryan, 33, described the moment they found the emaciated cat.
He said: “It was 9.30pm when we heard the noise. We looked out the back and there was our cat Ronnie and next to Ronnie was poor Purcy.
“Purcy was in a pitiful state. It was incredibly upsetting to see a cat in such pain.”
Ryan, who runs a hair products business, said he didn’t believe Purcy would have lasted another day outside.
He said: “We rang the RSPCA and they told us to take him to Vets Now straight away – and I’m so glad we did because I honestly don’t think he would have lasted another night outside.”
Dr Louise Abuzet, advanced practitioner in emergency and critical care at the Vets Now hospital in Manchester, said: “Ryan and Tony did absolutely the right thing bringing him in.
“It’s no exaggeration to say they saved his life.
“We gave Purcy painkillers and fluids, checked his blood, removed the ticks and bathed him before monitoring him closely overnight.
“It was touch and go at the time but we’re all so pleased to hear how well he’s doing a year on and to see the pictures of him back to full health. Stories like this make our job so worthwhile.
“Purcy’s case highlights how important it is owners microchip their cats.”
And Helen added: “Purcy was well enough to start going outside again in the summer and we’ve cat-proofed the garden specially so he can’t wander off.
“I still can’t quite believe he’s back. I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s true.”