A woman who lost the use of her hand after being playfully nipped by her pet cat has insisted: “I still love him and I’d never get rid of him.”
Unlucky Vicky Williams endured 16 operations and three months in hospital after rescue puss Smidge gave her a tiny mischievous bite.
Bacteria in the wound made her hand swell and eventually Vicky ended up so scarred she looked like she had been “bitten by a lion”.
But the 27-year-old retail worker, who barely even noticed the injury at the time, declared: “It wasn’t Smidge’s fault. He’s not an aggressive cat.
“Despite what happened I still love him as much as ever.
“When people see my hand they are shocked and immediately ask if I have got rid of him. But we’ve had him from a kitten and he is part of our family.”
The nightmare began in March 2017 as Vicky watched TV at home in Fyfield, Oxfordshire, with her family’s other cat Oscar on her lap.
She said: “Smidge was obviously jealous of Oscar having all the attention because he jumped up and lashed out at him.
“Unfortunately he accidentally caught my right hand with one of his teeth. It punctured the skin between my thumb and finger.”
Vicky, who lives with her parents Nicola, 53, and Paul, 54, and sister Hannah, 25, washed the injury which was just a few millimetres long.
She said: “It was a tiny wound and not terribly painful so I thought nothing more about it.
“However the next day my hand began to throb and swell alarmingly. I was so shocked I went to A&E.”
Doctors washed the wound and gave Vicky drugs but they did not work.
Five days later she was admitted to hospital and had surgery to deep-clean the injury before being put on intravenous antibiotics.
She said: “Doctors explained that cats have very sharp canine teeth and their bites push any bacteria particularly deep into the skin.
“The bacteria were multiplying deep inside and I was terrified I’d lose my hand or worse.”
Vicky’s hand slowly improved and she was discharged.
But in days her injury swelled up again, worse than before.
She had to go back into hospital for more surgery and over the next year spent a total of three months in and out having treatment.
Vicky said: “I’ve had 16 operations to clean my hand. Doctors are at a loss to what else they can do but the infection keeps returning.
“I can hardly move it and am in such pain I’ve had to give up work. My hand’s so scarred that I cover it in a special glove. It looks as if I’ve been bitten by a lion.”
Vicky, who is telling her story to warn other cat owners of the dangers of bites, added: “I wish now I’d gone to hospital immediately.
“Then the infection might not have got hold.”
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