Meet Simon the ginger cat: He has lost two legs, used quite a few of his nine lives and racked up an eye-watering $22,000 in vet bills.

Super Simon - as he is now known - was adopted three years ago by Auckland couple Robert and Madeline McCarthy as a three-legged cat.

"When we first met him at the SPCA we didn't even realise he was missing his back left leg," Robert McCarthy said.

"He moved around just like any other cat, it didn't affect him at all."


All was going well for Simon but last June the McCarthy's received a phone call from their local vet.

Their much-loved feline had been attacked by a neighbour's dog, leaving an open wound and fractures to his front left leg.

The cat was rushed to Veterinary Specialist Group, an animal hospital in Mt Albert, and had complex surgery to save his leg.

The operation went well, but an infection post-surgery left vets with no option but to remove the limb.

Because Simon had coped well with his front leg in a cast, the couple were confident he would get by without left legs.

"When his leg was in a cast he would tuck it up and not even use it, or he would use it like a crutch, so we knew he would cope okay," McCarthy said.

It wasn't long before Simon was moving around the couple's Auckland home, flying up stairs and rolling around with his fur-siblings, Olive the cat and Barry the dog.

Simon the two legged cat of Paremoremo owned by Robert McCarthy. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Simon the two legged cat of Paremoremo owned by Robert McCarthy. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"He races around with them, chases skinks and runs after our chickens," McCarthy said.

"He bounced back in no time and was tackling everything from stairs to jumping on the couch and the beds."

The operations have cost the couple upwards of $22,000 - but they have no regrets and would do it all again for the cat they consider a family member.

"I stopped counting at $22,000," McCarthy said.

"It sure is a lot of money but putting Simon down wasn't an option, he's part of our family."

The first operation to try and save the leg was $7,000 - which the couple's pet insurance paid $3,500 toward.

Thousands of dollars went on a stay in intensive care, medication to fight infections and other treatments, check ups and dressing changes before the leg was eventually removed.

Mt Albert vet surgeon Kyle Clark was amazed with how quickly Simon recovered after surgery.

She said Simon was taking his first steps the day after surgery and was back to his usual self a few weeks later.

Clark said although Simon had defied the odds, cats were known for coping remarkably well after major surgery.

Cats were resilient and weren't emotionally affected like humans, she said.

"Simon didn't mourn the loss of a second limb and reminisce about the days when he had three legs," she said.

"He simply got up on two legs and got on with life. We see this all the time in the animals that come to us."

"I think people can learn a lot from them".