Nelson lying on the sofa looking to camera

Life-saving surgery for poorly stray cat

Had poor Nelson not been found on the streets when he was, the outcome could have been very different.

The stray cat was picked up in Lincolnshire with an enormous abscess on his neck that needed urgent vet treatment, as a potentially deadly infection could have entered his bloodstream at any time.

You may have caught the toe-curling moment on ITV’s Inside Animal A&E when vets at our Grimsby animal hospital drained the painful lump, which we think was caused by a bite from another cat.

After that, Nelson – then called Kenny – was looked after by our team and given all the treatment he needed to put him on the road to recovery. This included regular cleaning and dressing of the wound and medication.

And 10 days later, the chirpy chap was on the mend, ready to start the next pain-free chapter of his life.

Nelson sitting down next to David looking to camera
Nelson may not have made it had he not been found when he was

He was transferred to our Southampton rehoming centre in Hampshire to find a loving home, and while he was waiting, his affectionate nature quickly stole the hearts of the team there.

Dani Smith, Animal Welfare Assistant, said: “Nelson was a pleasure to look after when he was in Blue Cross care. He was always very easy-going, and it wouldn’t take long for him to start purring away whenever anyone spent time with him. If you stopped stroking him, he would give you little headbutts to make you carry on, and if you were lucky enough, he would give you little licks as well!” 

Dani added: “Nelson is a very special cat, and after his difficult time as a stray it was important that we found him a wonderful home where he would be spoiled rotten.”

And soon enough, the team found six-year-old Nelson exactly that with David and Elizabeth St John.

A cat had always made a house a home for the couple, even more so after their five children flew the nest. And they were on the lookout for a new pet having recently lost their beloved cat, Jethro.

“Elizabeth liked Nelson because he was so friendly, and so he has turned out to be,” said David.

Nelson lying on the sofa getting a fuss

Nelson went home with David and Elizabeth in Hampshire, just before Christmas 2018, and wasted no time in settling in. He quickly found his favourite spot on the sofa and spent the evenings purring away contently beside them.

“He was very shy but he took to us straight away,” said David.

Heartbreakingly, though, Elizabeth was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer just a few months later.

She passed away in May 2019, and it was the comfort that Nelson brought Elizabeth and the companionship that he has given David since that really showed what a truly special cat he is.

David said: “He did a great job with Elizabeth. He would go and lie on the bed next to her and purr away. She ended up in a hospice, which was a smashing place, but while she was at home Nelson was always up there sleeping next to her. It’s a very cosy feeling when a cat is around. He’s a mega purrer; he purrs very loud.”

Nelson sniffing catnip in his garden
Nelson enjoying his garden in his new home

“Since losing Elizabeth, he’s been a great companion,” David continued. “He likes being with people; if I’m having breakfast, he’s always there beside me at the table sitting on the chair next to me. And he always sits with me in the evenings. So he’s been good company.”

And although nervous of youngsters at first, Nelson is now a hit with the grandchildren.

David said: “To start with, Nelson would go and hide behind the cupboard but now, he’ll come and sit next to them. One of them is allergic, which is a shame, but apart from that, they really like him.”

When Nelson isn’t lounging around indoors, he can often be found exploring his beautiful garden. Lovingly created by Elizabeth, she even planted catnip in the flowerbed for Nelson to sniff when outside.

He also has an unusual companion in the form of George the tortoise, who he inquisitively watches as he sluggishly explores the garden too.

And on the day Blue Cross visited for a catch up, Nelson was continuously purring away at full volume, simply for being in David’s presence. It’s a sure sign that he couldn’t be happier in his new home.

David added: “Elizabeth and I always had cats. When we were both young we had cats at home too. We moved around the world a lot and I always said: ‘home is where Elizabeth and the cat are’.

“And Nelson is definitely one of the friendliest cats I’ve known.”

Nelson lying in a beam of sunlight on the carpet
— Page last updated 08/02/2021