A pet cat which was nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver has made a full recovery – after learning to SWIM.
Two-year-old Tootsie suffered a shattered right leg after he was left for dead in May.
Vets warned owner Sue Wilson that he might have to be put down after his injuries drastically weakened his muscles.
But the mighty moggy has made a remarkable recovery thanks to regular sessions in a pet hydrotherapy pool which was designed for dogs.
The black feline swam at the 2ft-deep pool every day for six weeks and is now able to doggy-paddle unaided.
Sue, 45, of Hampton Dene, Hereford, said: ”When the vet suggested hydrotherapy my initial thought was cats can’t swim but I was assured it would do him good.
”I am so glad I took the vets advice.
”Tootsie has got his strength back and is now as happy as ever running around outside.”
Tootsie has completed a six week rehabilitation programme at Hereford Canine Hydrocare and is now back to full fitness just four months after the smash.
The initial training sessions involved two-and-a-half minute dips where Tootsie was attached to a harness and lowered into the pool.
Regular gentle exercise gradually built up the strength in Tootsie’s shoulder and leg muscles.
The buoyancy of the water meant he did not put too much pressure on his fragile limbs which could have jeopardised his recovery.
By the end of the training, Tootsie was able to swim freely without his safety rope or harness for 20 minutes at a time.
Helen White, a partner at Hereford Canine Hydrocare, said Tootsie is the first cat to ever use the facility.
”He swam naturally from the moment he entered the pool, which breaks the myth that cats can’t swim,” she said.
”For example tigers in the wild are more than capable of swimming.
”They are not as natural as dogs although there is the Turkish Van Cat, which is a swimming cat.
”Each animal has an individual slot so although they might cross in the doorway there is no chance of a cat meeting a dog in the pool.”