THE plight of a cat in Portobello with cancer has led to donations from around the world.
People have been sending money to help pay for Rocky, an eight-year-old ginger tabby, to undergo chemotherapy after his owners launched a desperate appeal.
And already more than £860 has been raised.
The story of Rocky – who survived being mown down by a car as a kitten and rescued from a burning house last year, has tugged heart strings around the globe.
His owner Saffire Stephens, from Portobello, said more than £2000 was needed and the battle to raise the money was a race against time, with vets giving him just weeks to live without treatment.
Saffire, a reality TV star who has appeared in Britain’s Got Talent and Coach Trip among others, has been given hope after being inundated with a flurry of donations.
The 50-year-old said: “It’s just amazing.
“I’ve had donations from England, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Spain, the US – all over the world.
“We are talking about just weeks left to live if he does not get his chemotherapy.
“But I don’t want to think about that – it makes me sad.
“I’m appealing to everybody out there that can help to raise money for Rocky’s surgery and his chemotherapy.
“It frightens me, I don’t want to lose him.”
Saffire rescued Rocky from the side of a road when he was just a kitten, after finding him crawling underneath a bush with a broken jaw following a collision with a car. The two quickly bonded, with Rocky soon moving in with Saffire and her other cat, Ying Yang, at her house in Portobello.
Last year, both cats had to be rescued by firefighters after a stairwell fire got out of hand and threatened to rip through the building.
But two weeks ago a trip to the vet over Rocky’s loss of appetite confirmed the worst when a tumour was found in his leg.
The cancer spread to the cat’s lymph node before amputation could take place and now Rocky faces a daily cocktail of painkillers to hold off the worst effects of the disease.
As in humans, cancer is a leading form of death among older cats and accounts for almost half of feline deaths every year.
Saffire said: “Rocky has to be fed through a syringe, he can’t eat his food normally. He’s getting used to it now, but he didn’t like it at first. I have to do it to keep him alive.
“He was big cat, but he’s a shadow of his former self now.
“He was like a big tiger and he’s got a big personality.””
A spokeswoman for veterinary charity PDSA said owners looking to put their pets through chemotherapy would need to be referred to a specialist vet, such as the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies in the Capital.
Cats can be put through a course of chemotherapy drugs or undergo surgery to attempt a partial or complete removal of the tumour, with effective treatment capable of adding months or even years to the life of a pet.