Driving home from work one evening in the pouring rain, my headlights illuminated two eyes on the side of the road. I stopping to investigate, finding a very wet, bedraggled-looking cat looking up at me, meowing pitifully. A car must have hit it and it now lay in the gutter, unable to move. I checked for a collar and ID but there was none. I flattened a cardboard box from the boot and slid the cat onto it, covering it in a rug.
At the nearest veterinary clinic, the vet gently examined it. "He's about eight months old and has a broken front and hind leg, but I would need X-rays to know the extent of the damage," he told me. "As he's not your cat, I don't know if you want to go ahead with this. It could be rather expensive."
I knew it would cost me hundreds of dollars, but the alternative was the cat being put to sleep. The following morning the vet rang to say the X-rays confirmed a broken front leg and two badly splintered breaks in the hind leg. "I'll put a metal pin in his back leg to keep it immobilized until it's healed," he told me. "He'll have slightly shorter hind legs but it won't affect his movements at all."
I contacted the RSPCA to no avail, so all day I looked forward to picking up my little friend. Carrying the cat, the vet smiled, "He's a happy little fellow - he hasn't stopped purring since he woke up. The staff are quite taken with him!" I hardly recognized him. His previously matted, dirty fur was now a beautiful silver grey, with a dark charcoal mask around his eyes and nose, like a bandit. His front leg was in a cast and the hind leg was taped, with the pin protruding at each end. He lay there looking at me, purring loudly.
I thanked the doctor and went out to the receptionist to pay the bill. "I think you've given me the wrong account," I said. "This is only $85. He's had X-rays and an operation on his legs." "No, that's right," she replied. "The vet has only charged you for the drugs and medication. There's a message on the bottom." Written underneath the total were the words "SPECIAL RATE FOR ADOPTIONS." I was speechless at his kind and generous gesture. It was obvious he would be embarrassed if I made a fuss, so I paid the account and underneath his message I wrote "WITH GRATEFUL THANKS, BANDIT AND MUM."