He may be named after the Egyptian god of the sun, but rare cat Ra is also a natural in the water as his hydrotherapy sessions at a Chipperfield animal clinic are proving.
The striking Egyptian Mau is a regular at the Dacorum village’s Theravet, run by Emma Vigor Craigie Halkett who has lived in the area most of her life.
The marvellous moggy did himself a mischief while playing with a cardboard box at home in Watford, with owners Pam and Barry Peterson, and injured one of his back legs so severely there were fears it may have to be amputated.
It would have spelled disaster for showcat Ra, if it wasn’t for the clinic which opened just last August.
Barry said: “If it wasn’t for the swimming, he would not be at this stage of recovery – I can say that categorically. It has done wonders.
“When our vet referred him here, he was crying with laughter, saying we would be clawed to death trying to get Ra in the water.”
But recovering Ra, aged just 11 months, took to the specially-built pool like a duck to water, and according to Emma, swims as well as any dog.
And that’s not the only way he resembles his canine counterparts. At home he sits – and even ‘squats’ as part of his physiotherapy routine – on command, and is walked on a lead.
Emma, who works alongside colleague Becky Maffia in providing the hydrotherapy and physiotherapy sessions through veterinary referrals, said: “By taking the weight off the limb in the water it helps animals to get a better range of movement, rather than on land where they would feel more pain.
“Ra is the first cat we have had in the hydrotherapy pool, and although he is very vocal, this is not a sign of distress. Ra quite enjoys his sessions and is a good swimmer.”