A cat has miraculously survived after it was run over by a bus and went missing for 16 days with severe injuries to its head.
Horrified witnesses tried to help the distressed and frightened cat, called Trudie, but she “darted off” when they approached her in a street in Luton, Bedfordshire.
Local residents and the RSPCA scoured the neighbourhood and put up leaflets, and as the days passed by they feared Trudie would be found dead.
An RSPCA volunteer told HertsLive she didn’t expect her to survive so long after the collision on March 14, but just over two weeks after the incident she was spotted alive in a yard.
She has since undergone surgery to remove her left eye and she had to have her jaw wired shut.
Trudie, a tortoiseshell cat, is being cared for by volunteer Katie Duncan and animal care assistant Amy Hearne, who are based at the RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.
Katie said: “Two lovely ladies moved Trudie out of the road but, before they could confine her and take her for care, she darted off.
“It was awful to think of her in pain somewhere in need of urgent veterinary treatment.
“We never expected her to survive so long on her own as we tried our best to find her but she was nowhere to be seen.
“We put up posters in the area, put out appeals on social media and contacted all of the local vets but there was no news. Every day that passed, the chances of finding her alive reduced. We were so worried about her.
“We dropped leaflets off at local homes and businesses and asked people if they’d seen her, contacted local charities and rescue centres and worked with Cat Welfare Luton to try and track her down.”
A business owner called the RSPCA after spotting Trudie in his yard on March 30.
Katie said: “It wasn’t until 16 days later when there was finally a sighting of her and she was caught and rushed to Wood Street Veterinary Hospital, in Barnet, London, for life-saving treatment.
“She was exhausted, frail and clearly struggling. Her facial injuries meant she’d been unable to eat and she was extremely underweight and weak.”
Trudie spent a week at the animal hospital, where she had surgery to remove her eye and had her jaw wired.
She was fed via a tube, but is now able to eat on her own.
Trudie continues to recover at Southridge’s cattery following her brush with death.
Amy said: “Trudie is a true miracle so we felt she deserved a special name, and she’s been named after St Gertrude, the patron saint of cats.
“It’s incredible that she survived and she’s a very sweet lady, despite everything she’s been through. She’s settling in really well and loves the fuss she’s getting from all of our staff and volunteers.
“So far her vet bill has totalled more than £2,000 so we’ve launched a special online fundraising appeal to help cover some of the costs.”
The RSPCA said Trudie is not yet available for rehoming.