An adopted stray cat who was hit by a car and left on the brink of death has made an amazing full recovery – despite being left with just three legs.

Brave little Appa was found at the side of a road gasping for breath with a fractured pelvis, hip and femur as well as severe nerve damage.

Heartbreakingly, the accident came just when once-feral Appa was settling in well to a secure new life with kind Adam Forshaw who agreed to adopt him.

Appa was rushed into surgery at the Vets Now 24-hour pet emergency hospital in Manchester and had a metal plate inserted to repair his crushed pelvis.

Sadly, it wasn’t possible to save his left-hind leg, which had to be amputated, leaving Appa’s long-term mobility prospects greatly in doubt.

But now, much to the astonishment of Adam and the Vets Now clinical team, irrepressible Appa is back running and climbing as fast on three legs as he did before on four.

Adam said: “It’s a total miracle. After the accident, which was back in March, I genuinely thought we had lost Appa.

“Then when they had to amputate, I just assumed that Appa would be virtually immobile for the rest of his life.

“But he’s proved me wrong at every turn.

“For the first eight weeks after we got him home, he had to be on cage rest to help him recuperate.

“Then for the first couple of weeks after he came out of the cage it was really distressing to see: he was slipping every time he tried to move on the three legs.

“But after another couple of weeks something just clicked, and he started sprinting round the place and jumping off the sofa like he did before.

“Looking at him today it’s almost like he was born to exist on three legs!”

Meanwhile, two-year-old Appa has become a mini-celebrity in Billinge, Merseyside, where Adam lives and regularly takes Appa out for walks in his feline safety harness.

Many of his local fans are people who gave generously to a crowdfunding appeal which Adam set up to help with the costs of Appa’s surgery, treatment and week-long hospital stay.

Adam said: “Appa’s part of my family – I was distraught when I thought he was going to die and every day that we have him feels like a blessing.

“People were so kind – and now it’s great that he’s got his own little fan club every time we go out of the house.

“The vets were very honest with me at the beginning that his chances of survival were minimal, that it might well necessary for him to be put down and that I should consider very carefully what to do.

“But I felt like I couldn’t let him down by at least not giving him the chance he deserved, regardless of the cost.

“The thing with Appa and me is we bonded straightaway.

“I saw his picture on the PDSA website and he looked like a real street cat – ugly in a cute way with a smudge on his face and a right character.

“I just thought ‘I have to give him a home’ so that’s what I did.

“When you take in a rescued stray it’s never going to easy, you have to put a lot of effort in to help the cat adapt.

“And it was just when I thought we had it cracked that we let him out for his evening pee and prowl – and then he just vanished.

“I looked everywhere for him then the next day my neighbour rang to say she’d seen on Facebook that he’d been hit by a car.

“Luckily the person who found him was the sister of someone who worked at a local vet – so she got her sister to take Appa to her work.

“Then he was transferred to Vets Now because he was in such a serious condition.

“And if it hadn’t been for their kindness there’s no way he would have survived and I’m so grateful to them for what they did.”

Specialist surgeon Andrew Murdoch led Appa’s round-the-clock care.

Andrew said: “Appa’s injuries were very extensive and the prognosis for him was very bleak.

“His pelvis had separated from his spine in the collision, he had a large skin wound and transection of the sciatic nerve leaving him with no feeling beneath the wound in his left hindleg, which is why it needed to be amputated.

“Although we could treat the right-sided hip and pelvic fractures we were concerned that even if we could get him mobile again he still might not regain the nerve function needed for his bladder to work again.

“We removed the damaged portion of the hip and put a metal plate in where the right hip would have joined the pelvis, but we couldn’t be at all certain that his right hind leg would be strong enough to weight bear given it was going to have to do the work of the amputated left leg too.

“It was clear from talking to Adam just how much Appa meant to him and even though there were no guarantees, he put his faith in us to try everything we could, which involved a lot of trust, courage, emotional turmoil and financial commitment on his part.

“So all credit to Adam – and we’re all so delighted to see Appa’s recovery and how much it means to Adam and his family.”

Adam said: “The last part of the jigsaw was the nerve damage and whether Appa would be able to use his bladder.

“We had an anxious time with that but the good news is that’s back to normal now and he really is fully recovered from the whole accident.

“What Andrew and his team have managed to do for Appa is honestly out of this world.

“I’ve just got no words for how kind they are and how skilled they are and I’ll be forever indebted for saving Appa’s life.

“When I was weighing up what to do after the accident, my girlfriend Shannon played a big part in supporting me to make the decision to go ahead with the treatment – and so did my sister Kerry and her partner Heather.

“They all reassured me to concentrate on giving Appa the best chance we could, and not to focus on the low chance of success, or the costs involved.

“We named him Appa after a character in the Nickleoden TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender who flies through the sky with magic powers. I thought their faces looked a bit similar!

“And what I can’t believe is how apt that name has turned out to be. So, we named him after a fictional hero – and now he’s turned into one in real-life!”