A Canterbury cat could make history this year as the first feline in the country with prosthetic legs.
Ginger tom Pascoe, named affectionately after Kiwi paralympic swimmer Sophie Pascoe, had his rear legs cut off in a horrific act of abuse in his first 12 weeks of life. When the Blair family stumbled across Pascoe, he was frightened and severely malnourished.
"When we found him, he was very scared and very malnourished. We took him to the vet, who said he had no muscle on him whatsoever," Pascoe's new owner, Sophie Blair, told The AM Show on Thursday morning.
"It was a bit of a shock and very sad. It's [caused] a number of tears in our family, that's for sure."
But Pascoe, now 15 weeks old, is beginning to thrive under the care of a loving family - and the kitten could be getting a new lease on one of his nine lives this year. Blair says veterinarians are monitoring Pascoe's healing and will assess his suitability for prosthetic legs when he reaches eight months.
The feline would become the first in New Zealand to be fitted with the prosthetic limbs.
One leg is healing well, Blair said, and he should be fitted with "little boots" soon.
"We'll see how his legs progress... it's all a waiting game. We're taking it day-by-day."
The Blair family has set up a Givealittle page to raise funds for Pascoe's vet bills and associated expenses, which has raised more than $3700 at the time of writing.
Watch the video above.