THOMAS the cat might have just lost one of his nine lives but he owes his other eight to the Ballarat Veterinary Practice.
The practice's animal rescue fund saved the badly injured stray from being euthanased after he was brought in by a kind-hearted Gordon woman.
Veterinarian Dr Horace Tang said Thomas arrived at the practice in mid-June with damage to his left front leg.
"We took an X-ray and found at least three lead pellets," Dr Tang said.
"He had been shot but they were in the joint in the leg, and between the bones too, so it was quite nasty.
"He didn't mind us touching it but he couldn't walk around on it."
Dr Tang said he had to choose between amputating the cat's leg because of where the pellets were located, or euthanasing him. He opted for surgery after the fund raised nearly $600 in two weeks to save him.
"The nurses have set up the animal rescue fund and they were telling all the clients about Thomas and asking for donations."
Dr Tang said Thomas stole everyone's hearts from the moment he caRme through the practice doors.
"He just loves people, he's not like other stray cats. He just smooches everyone and he's really lovely with his big eyes. Everyone just loves him.
"He's now recovering really well and has been rehoused.
"I just want to make people aware of the fund too, so people can donate and help save other animals."