UK
22/12/2013 09:39 GMT | Updated 22/12/2013 09:39 GMT

Robbie The Cat Took Refuge In A Sofa, Which Then Caught Fire Now He's Survivor Of The Year

To look at him, one-year-old Robbie's cheerful demeanour does not demonstrate the full extent of the life-threatening injuries that left him with severe burns to his face, head and paws.

But after six months of skin grafts and surgery, the cat has made a fine recovery and, for the first time, is enjoying the love and attention of his new owner.

Robbie, a former stray from Croydon in south London, has been named PDSA Pet Survivor of the Year after being nominated by his new owner, retired police officer Gill Smith.

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Robbie the cat who has won PDSA's Pet Survivor Award 2013 after suffering terrible burns in a fire

She said: "Robbie is a unique character and he still bears the physical scars from his fiery ordeal.

"The tips of his ears are missing, he has a Mohican due to the skin graft on his head, and the toes on his remaining back leg were 'melted' together into a stump.

"But despite this he runs around the house like a rocket. He is a little hero, and his bravery and fortitude have inspired many people in the community."

Robbie was just six months old and thought to be a stray when he took shelter in an abandoned sofa in Ash, Kent, in May this year. But this nearly proved his undoing when it was somehow set alight and consumed by flames, with Robbie still inside.

He was found and taken to nearby Broadway Vets with severe burns to his face, head, legs and paws.

Principal vet Sarah Platt said: "Robbie was in shock when he arrived and needed intensive care.

"He stayed with us for six months during which time he had two skin grafts and daily dressing changes.

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Robbie the cat, in bandages after he first arrived at the vets

"One of his back legs also had to be amputated. But Robbie always loved attention even when he was critically ill - very few animals could have coped the way he did."

Robbie received thousands of pounds of treatment - much of it being paid for by the community after the vet practice published appeals in the local paper.

PDSA vet Elaine Pendlebury said: "Robbie is a truly inspiring story for us all. He coped so well with his pain and suffering and fought back against severe injuries that not all pets would have overcome. He really is a true survivor."

The panel of judges included Atomic Kitten star Liz McClarnon, vet and TV presenter Steve Leonard, and PDSA vets.