A cat is lucky to be alive after suffering horrendous injuries when he was struck by a car.

Little Rosco somehow managed to get back to his home in Brinsley near Nottingham despite injuries that included broken ribs, a split in his abdominal muscles and a large swelling on his side. Only the expert medical treatment – and lifesaving surgery – he received at Vets Now in Alfreton kept the 10-month-old alive.

Owner Verity Whaley-Norton had been worried sick about Rosco after he went missing on a Friday morning. He eventually appeared home at 9pm that night but was clearly in a lot of pain.

She explained: “I thought ‘here he is’ and then noticed a lump the size of a tennis ball on his side. We rushed him to Vets Now in Alfreton and found that not only had he broken his ribs, but split his abdominal muscles and damaged his diaphragm too.

“After undergoing surgery, he looked very sorry for himself, but I’m not sure if that was because he didn’t like having the cone on his head to protect his stitches. He didn’t get home until the Monday night as the vets kept him in for observation over the weekend and were worried about his blood count. Since then Rosco has been sleeping a lot and we’ve had to have all the windows shut during the heatwave to keep him indoors – it’s been torture.”

An image of Rosco, the cat injured in a road traffic accident for Vets Now article on cats and busy roads
Rosco was saved by emergency vets and vet nurses at Vets Now

Cats and busy roads do not mix. Many of the emergencies we see at Vets Now are caused by road traffic accidents. Typically, younger cats are the victims, which is probably because they haven’t yet become street-wise.

According to one study, the likelihood of a cat being involved in a road traffic accident goes down by 16% for every year increase in the cat’s age.

The same study showed that almost half of cats killed or seriously injured by a car are between the ages of seven months and two years old. If they manage to avoid a road traffic accident, most cats will go on to live into old age.

Under UK law, motorists are legally required to report an incident with a dog, but that’s not the case for cats and, tragically, many hit by vehicles are left for dead.

Emergency vet Claire Desmond performed surgery on Rosco while senior nurse Rachel Chambers provided nursing care. Both said his injuries were consistent with either being hit by a car or being aggressively kicked by someone.

Rachel, who is principal nurse manager at Vets Now in Alfreton, explained: “Rosco was in a serious condition when he was admitted and needed a lot of pain relief. Our first step was to stabilise him before assessing the extent of his injuries.

“He then underwent surgery the following morning and our vet Claire discovered a tear in his abdomen wall and a tear in his diaphragm as well as considerable bruising.

“Thankfully though he pulled through and we enjoyed looking after him for the weekend. He liked getting lots of cuddles and is a very affectionate cat.”

An image of Rosco, the cat injured in a road traffic accident for Vets Now article on cat in car accident
Our vets often treat cats and kittens, like Rosco, who have been involved in road traffic accidents

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Owner Verity is delighted to have Rosco back to his normal self after having his stitches out but hopes her cat has learned to take more care around roads.

“We live in a fairly quiet area, but there is always a risk. My mum lived in a cul-de-sac and still lost her cat when it was run over. It can happen anywhere and you just hope they can learn to be careful,” she said.

The Vets Now clinic in Alfreton – where Rosco received treatment – was recently rated as “outstanding” in the delivery of emergency and critical care by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

It’s one of 60 Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals across the UK that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s premises have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.