Do you know the mystery man who gave up his coat to save Tilly the cat on Valentine’s Day?
06:30 20 February 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
It was just another adventure for 18-month-old Tilly when she decided to climb a tree.
But what started as playful antics left her desperately fighting for one of her nine lives.
For tiny Tilly the unexpected fall left her struggling with a perforated lung and waiting for help off a busy road in Hellesdon, under a bush.
Now, thanks to the quick-thinking actions of workmen who found her and the generosity of a stranger, the tortoiseshell cat lives to tell the tale and its owner is trying to find the man who helped.
Lyn Clarkson, of Hamond Road, Hellesdon, has had Tilly from seven weeks old and when she woke up on Valentine’s Day she soon noticed that her prized pet was missing.
“Tilly did not come home that morning,” she said. “I was worried because she is normally here before I go to work.”
Assuming she would return soon, Mrs Clarkson headed off as a nursery nurse at Arden Grove Infant School, Hellesdon, unaware of the battle Tilly was then facing.
A team of engineers from BT Open Reach were setting up traffic lights on nearby Hospital Lane when they found the tiny cat. Assuming she was asleep they continued their work and expected her to dart off once they started the generator up.
“But when Tilly didn’t move they realised she was injured,” Mrs Clarkson said. “Her little eyelids had come open but they saw she was not right. The engineers then called the RSPCA and Cat Rescue, but both were more than two hours away.”
Then one of the workman stopped a passing car and asked the driver where the nearest vet was.
“The man, concerned for Tilly, took his coat off and wrapped her in it. He told the engineers where the nearest vets was and, late for an appointment, went on his way leaving Tilly with the engineers and his coat.
“They then took her to Willow Vets Norwich, where they immediately x-rayed her and found she had a perforated lung. The workman even stayed with her until they found us.”
Because she was chipped the vets were able to contact Mrs Clarkson straight away. From there, Tilly was taken to her registered vet - Taverham Vets - for treatment.
She said: “She is so adventurous. Already she has got stuck inside the piano, up a tree, in a chimney and fell in a bath of hot water.
“I was not sure if she was going to make it but I left her in their care.
“I went back to work and saw the BT men on the way. I told them she would be okay and thanked them for their help but I forgot to get their names.”
During the day Tilly’s condition became critical and her lung collapsed. She had to have an operation to remove excess air, which involved inserting a needle into her chest cavity.
On Saturday she started to improve but on Sunday the same thing happened again.
“They said she might not survive that - but she did. They had talked about taking her to Newmarket for another operation if it happened again but thankfully it didn’t and we were able to bring her home.”
Tilly returned to the warmth of her bed on Tuesday and although in “a bit of a bad temper” she is well on the way to a speedy recovery.
Mrs Clarkson added: “We were so amazed with the kindness of everyone; the engineers for spending a lot of time with her and getting her to the vet, the driver who wrapped her up in his coat and left it with the engineers, and the care and dedication she got from the staff at Taverham Vets.
“We do not know who these people are - the engineers or the car driver - but would love to thank them for their kindness.”
• Are you the mystery man who gave up his coat to save Tilly the cat? Contact reporter Donna-Louise Bishop on 01603 693892, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @donnaloubishop.