^ Moggy paddle! Cat left paralysed after car crash learns to walk again by taking SWIMMING lessons
[Mail, 25 June]
Worse for wear: Mog the grey tabby after the car accident which left him with no feeling in his front two legs. Owner Veronica Ashworth was told he would never walk again BUT
Mog is slowly learning to use them again in a hydrotherapy pool normally used by more enthusiastic dogs. He can now bear his own weight on his front two legs after ten lessons in the pool.
Owner Veronica Ashworth said Mog initially looked 'horrified' when he was brought to the hydrotherapy centre in St Issey, Cornwall. But he soon leapt in with a bit of encouragement by Mrs Ashworth, from Lostwithiel, Cornwall. She said: 'I know it's quite unusual for cats to swim but he's such a character. Most cats do anything to avoid water, but he seems to really like swimming in the pool. He takes it quite seriously.
'Now he can do circuits of the pool, he makes a lot of noise about it but he does it. He does a sort of funny doggy paddle, it's hilarious to watch as he swims as he makes gurgling noises and meows loudly. I think he realises it is doing him good. He has always liked water, and used to hang round the bath and wash basin.'
'He's such an extrovert that when there were some students in watching him swim he was really showing off. The therapy is working and there's definitely improvement.' Mog sustained horrific injuries and spent six weeks on a drip after a car smashed into him in a hit-and-run incident in February. The one-year-old did not break any bones in the smash - but suffered nerve damage which left his two front legs completely paralysed. Mrs Ashworth, 62, was told her pet would never walk again and watched as he slowly learned to move by pushing himself along with his back legs. He could also only sit up on his hind legs - like a Meerkat - as he could not put any weight on his damaged front legs. A local vet suggested that hydrotherapy classes could help.
He has now been attending the £30 sessions for ten weeks and has made has made a 'vast improvement', according to Mrs Ashworth. Trainer Ros Boisseau said Mog was the first cat she had ever treated at the centre and she was 'amazed' with by his progress. She said: 'The first time I put him in the water he looked at me in horror but I told Veronica to call him and then he meowed at her and struck out across the pool to her. By using and stretching out his legs he is slowly regaining the strength in them. He really is amazing. I've never treated a cat with hydrotherapy before - cats don't tend to like swimming, so I doubt there'll be a rush of cats coming in for swimming therapy.'
Mog undertakes his treatment at Hawksland Canine Hydrotherapy centre in St Issey, Cornwall. He swims in a specially designed 13ft long pool - usually reserved for dogs - in 3ft deep water for 15 minutes.
The grandmother-of-two said: 'There is still a significant amount of nerve damage but he has already improved. His left leg is still bent but a few weeks ago he started to put weight on his right leg, which was amazing. It really is a huge improvement. I'm really happy that it's this which has improved his quality of life.'
She added that it was 'no surprise' Mog had got himself into trouble as he was always disappearing and turning up in strange places. The adventurous moggy survived severe flooding last November and moved with his owner into temporary accommodation, for three months. Mrs Ashworth also found out that he had been wandering about through the day, and had been bought back from shops, band practice, an auction room and even a dentist.