He must have been in agony. With sores around his neck and lessions on his leg, Baloo was in a sorry state when he arrived at our doors.
The stray cat had been hiding in a garden for two weeks before being brought to our animal hospital in Victoria, central London, in November last year.
Vets suspected that his sore skin was down to an old but severe and untreated burn. It was so painful for the poor tabby that our veterinary team had to put him under general anaesthetic to clean and inspect the wounds.
Baloo, four, was also prescribed anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and creams to help his skin heal.
And, once he was stable, the sweet boy was transferred to our Southampton rehoming centre for his recovery to continue in a special foster home for some much-needed respite care.
Megan Baverstock, Southampton Supervisor, said: “It was important for us to keep Baloo’s sore skin clean, and prevent him from hurting himself, so he had to wear a t-shirt to cover the skin, as well as a collar to prevent him from licking himself and making it worse.
“After being on his treatment for a few weeks and being given lots of love and affection, Baloo’s skin started to heal and was much clearer and less itchy.”
It was a longer road to recovery for Baloo than first expected, as his damaged skin started flaring up when his medication was eased. But the team kept it under control and, after 131 days, he found a loving home where his care could continue.
And he is now an integral member of the Frost family in Hampshire, where he lives with Joanne, her husband Ian and their two daughters Georgia, 16 and Maia, 12.
Arriving home at the very start of the coronavirus lockdown, he settled in fantastically and Joanne said that it feels like he’s been a part of their family for years, rather than months.
While he continues to have skin issues, the condition is easily managed with medication – which he has no problem taking if hidden in a bit of cheese.
Joanne said: “Baloo has brought great joy into our lives. He has been a perfect distraction to our children during this strange time and they love playing with him and getting to know his character. He has proved to be a great addition to our family, and we have fallen in love with him.
“He is a great little character. He loves playing with his toys and chasing round a laser pen. He also loves playfully attacking the girls’ feet! He is very affectionate too and enjoys spending time with us, especially when we are in the garden.”
She added: “He is not a lap cat, yet! But, thankfully, we have not seen any lasting effects from the horrendous treatment he went through before he was rescued. I think he knows he's going to be ok now and his horrible past is well and truly a distant memory.”