A kind-hearted woman says she is lucky to be alive, after trying to help a badly injured cat.

As she tried to get the cat into a pet basket to take it for emergency vet help, the animal bit her.

The bite infection, just hours before Scharrowne Farmer's birthday meal, caused havoc.

By 7.30pm, the swelling on her bitten hand had reached her elbow.

Medical staff had to cut her ring off and Scharrowne needed four operations, two under local anaesthetic and two under general anaesthetic.

She spent seven nights in Addenbrooke's Hospital on intravenous antibiotics.

She is due to have further medical attention this week.

Scharrowne, who runs horse grooming business Hooves and Paws, had spotted a plea for help on Facebook about a cat hiding under a bush.

She explained: "The cat had a shattered pelvis, he had been hit by a car.

"He found salvation underneath the bush.

Saffron Walden Reporter: The injured cat which bit Scharrowne Farmer, landing her in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge with an infectionThe injured cat which bit Scharrowne Farmer, landing her in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge with an infection (Image: supplied by Scharrowne Farmer)

"I took a cat carrier with me. He bit through the knuckle of my middle finger on my right hand.

"It was one bite that did the damage."

She added: "The infection could have killed me."

Scharrowne took the cat to the nearest vet which was open, Bishop's Stortford Veterinary Hospital, but the cat had been too badly injured and sadly died. The cat had no microchip and is presumed to have been feral.

Scharrowne said the cat's injuries were probably caused by a speeding vehicle, though she said that cats do dart out unexpectedly in front of traffic.

Scharrowne's friend looked after her daughter, and her animals while she was in the hospital.

She added: "I'm just glad I'm alive. My temperature went to 39.7 because of the infection. That's when they whisked me back into surgery to cut it open again."

Vet guidance

A practice member at Bishop's Stortford Veterinary Hospital said: "I'm sorry for the lady that got bitten. I applaud her for trying to help."

They have urged extreme caution when trying to help any animal in pain.

If the RSPCA cannot help, they suggest the rescuer could cover the animal's head with a towel, jumper or coat to calm the animal and protect the rescuer against sharp teeth. In the event an injured animal is on the road, they suggest calling the police for assistance.

They said that animal bites need to be washed quickly with antiseptic and referred for medical attention promptly if any swelling happens.

Cat charity

Drivers who travel at high speed on relatively straight stretches of road are the cause of cats being injured and dying, the charity Toe Beans Cat Rescue fears.

They are asking drivers to slow down, and for people to join speed awareness groups.

They keep records of cats involved in accidents across Uttlesford, and they have microchip scanners to check for owners' details.