Christmas kindness in Calne has saved the legs of a local cat when his owner lacked the money to pay for emergency surgery after he was savagely attacked.

Claire Caygill was distraught and in tears after Goose, her five-year-old cat, came home late last Sunday night covered in blood and clearly in agony.

Claire, a gym instructor at the Calne leisure centre, knew that he needed to urgently see a vet but that would cost hundreds of pounds and her pet insurance had expired and, after buying all the Christmas presents for her three daughters and family, she had no money left.

In her panic, Claire turned to her only option; to desperately beg for help from strangers. She set up an appeal on GoFundMe, explaining that she needed £500 to cover the cost of vets saving Goose’s legs – and the money poured in.

Within a day £565 had been donated and Goose was treated and saved.

“Goose came home around 11.30 on Sunday night covered in blood, he had been attacked by a dog or a fox. Both of his back legs were injured and he had lost his claws,” said Claire, 43.

“I didn’t know what to do. The next morning I was sobbing in the car on the way to the vet, he was in danger of losing his legs and I hadn’t renewed his insurance last month. I had no money left, I even had to borrow some for the petrol to get him to the vet. So I made the appeal.”

Claire posted: “I know it’s a tough time of year and it’s a massive ask, but if you do have just a pound to spare to help me fix Goose. All my Christmas money has gone. So I’m very sorry if this does seem cheeky but I’ll do anything to make sure I can still have my cat.

“I’m doubly guilty for asking because I know it’s all my fault for not being insured. But that’s not the cat’s fault. I really, really hate to wave the single mum flag, but they always say to ask for help if you really need it – and this is it.”

Claire, who has three daughters aged 17, 12 and 11, said she was overwhelmed by the kindness of the community who immediately responded to her plea and paid for the surgery that saved Goose.

“It’s hugely heart-warming,” she said, “I am so very grateful for the kindness of everyone.”

She added: “I teach at the leisure centre as a gym instructor and Goose is well known in Calne because when I had to do classes online during Lockdown he would always walk into the shot and so many know him from that. I have been inundated with messages from people asking how he is.

“It’s a tough time of year for everyone so, as I say, I felt really quite cheeky to ask for help. Now I don’t know quite how I can thank everyone. The vet’s bill is now covered and Christmas is not cancelled for my family, I can now sleep at night because of everybody’s kindness.

“Goose is now home and a bit drugged up, but he’s happy and most still I’ve seen him ever. He has had antibiotics and painkillers intravenously because he’s one of those little tykes that will take a tablet and you will find it an hour later in your cup of tea or under the Christmas tree. Now begins the four times a day syringing liquid in his mouth, which is going to be fun!”