Belfast family shock after cat has boiling water thrown over him
An animal lover has spoken of her shock after someone threw boiling water over her granddaughter's cat.
Carol McCauley (67), who owns nine rescue dogs including three-legged black Labrador Peggy, lives just off the Cregagh Road with her 23-year-old granddaughter Amy.
The pair were left horrified when someone inflicted third degree burns on George - one of Amy's four cats.
"I have lived here for 50 years and never had an animal harmed," Carol said.
"I just don't understand people. God forgive them is all I can say."
The pensioner is more sickened by the shocking attack because of how shy and timid George is, meaning she fears the culprit is not far from her doorstep.
"He's not a wee cat that wanders, he stays close to the house and spends most of his time indoors," Carol explained.
"George is pampered, there's no doubt about that, so he isn't very streetwise - to be burnt like this is absolutely horrendous."
The 18-month-old feline, who Amy brought in from the cold after he was found by a family friend, sustained the horrific injury two weeks ago.
"He crawled home on his belly because he couldn't walk properly," Amy said.
"We thought he had been hit by a car because he couldn't jump through the cat flap."
At first the family struggled to establish what was causing George's pain because the wound was hidden underneath his fur.
"We had pain relief medication so we were able to give him that until we got him to a vet," Amy said.
X-rays left his distraught owner and her grandmother baffled as it failed to reveal the cause of George's agony.
After this, he was showing no signs of recovery and had turned into a recluse.
"He wouldn't come out of the garage at all and every time we touched him he yelled," Amy said.
"We went back to the vet and got him pain relief and an antibiotic injection, but they still didn't know what was wrong."
The source of George's pain only became clear when a chunk of skin came off his back.
"I had been playing with him before I got in the shower and he was fine, when I got out five minutes later he had layers of skin missing," Amy recalled.
"There was a big patch of raw pink flesh so I knew we had to return to the vet."
The retail worker's grandmother thought someone had taken scissors to him.
They were both appalled by the extent of the horrific burn when the vet removed George's fur and it is now suspected that someone poured a cup of boiling water over the "gentle" cat.
"The burn is like a splash on his back," Carol said.
"The only thing I can think is someone had boiled the kettle and threw a cup of boiling water over him, but I don't know."
Amy said the vet has ruled out other possibilities due to the fact that George's fur was not singed or damaged.
"There was no residue found on his coat and no other obvious cause," Amy said.
"The vet said it was most likely boiling liquid.
"It's disturbing because George doesn't go too far."
Carol and Amy have both been spending extra time with George as he continues his course of antibiotics.
"His back is as hard as plastic and the wound is infected, but he's doing okay," Amy said.
They hope George will continue his recovery after his upcoming sedation on Monday when he is due to have skin taken off to help clear up the infection.
The vet bills have already soared to over £400, but Amy said it is a small price to pay to restore George to his healthy and playful self.