Readers rally round to save the life of remarkable cat who's best friend of little girl with learning difficulties in Milton Keynes
A cat called Fluff can now have life-saving surgery, thanks to Citizen readers.
Fluff is owned by 10-year-old Rose Kellett from Great Linford and the pair have such a powerful bond that they cannot bear to be parted.
The cat goes on a lead to accompany Rose on walks and even goes on trips to the shops in a special backpack carrier.
Sadly, last weekend the Fluff was hit by a car and has lost the use of her back legs. A vet had diagnosed a broken pelvis and given painkillers, but the damage will cost £1,000 to fix. Meanwhile, Fluff has been dosed up with painkillers.
Rose's hard-up mum Tracey, who lost her job during lockdown, simply cannot scrape together the cash for the surgery.
"The vet says we mustn't give up on Fluff and there is a strong change she will recover. But poor Rose is in a bad state. She's hasn't stopped crying and she spent most of the night lying on the floor next to Fluff," she told the Citizen on Monday.
"If I can't find the money, then the only other option is to have Fluff put to sleep. But Rose would never recover from that."
Tracey set up a fundraising page called 'Help Save a Best Friend' and by Wednesday Citizen readers had donated an incredible £1.061.
"I want to thank them all," said Tracey. "I'm shocked and delighted about how many nice people there are out there in the world... It's just overwhelming."
Fluff is now due to have her surgery this week and it is hoped she will make a full recovery.
Rose, who has learning difficulties and struggles with everyday life and anxiety, spends every spare moment with Fluff.
Before she had the little cat, Rose was so anxious that she lost all her hair. Thanks to Fluff, she is far more confident and her hair has grown back, says her mum
"Fluff and Rose are best friends", said Tracey. "The cat follows her everywhere she goes, sleeping with her on her bed and perching on the side of the tub when she has a bath. Rose sits and talks to Fluff for hours, telling her everything. If she's upset about something, she'll go straight to Fluff and tell her. After a while she announces that she feels better.
"They are inseparable and the bond has just grown and grown. It's so lovely to see."
Tracey added: "Rose finds day to day life and school very, very hard because of her learning difficulties.The lockdown did not helped at all and she did not want to do home schooling or even get out of bed at first. But the love and friendship between her and her cat was so strong that it saw her through."
The girl and cat attracted so much attention when they were out that Tracey set up an Instagram account called RoseandFluff. Documenting the pair's adventures in photographs and videos. It has more than thousands of people following.
"I have never know a girl and a cat to be so close. It's just magical. People are amazed when they see them together," said Tracey.
"When the first lockdown started last year there were signs that it was happening again. But luckily, Fluff came to the rescue and Rose's hair has grown back beautifully.. It's really thick and lovely now," said Tracey.