A woman was almost forced to have her hand amputated after she was bitten - by a cat.
Fatima El-Tawil, 57, caught a life-threatening bacterial infection from trying to pick up her neighbour's missing cat Jimmy.
The feline dug its teeth into mother-of-one Mrs El-Tawil outside their home in Purley, Surrey, and then refused to let go.
Hours later Mrs El-Tawil found herself in agony and was warned by doctors warned her hand might need amputated if the infection could not be halted.
Mrs El-Tawil spent the next four weeks in hospital where, being in so much pain, she asked doctors to amputate her fingers.
"The pain was unimaginable. It was like being stabbed with a knife", she said.
"At first I thought it was just a scratch, but when my husband pulled him off there was blood everywhere.
"I was in shock. I didn't want to let him go as he's a house cat and shouldn't have been outside in the first place.
"My hand was so swollen it had doubled in size. Before they operated, I was begging them to chop off my fingers".
Mrs El-Tawil was treated at Croydon University Hospital where she was given medicine to flush the infection from her blood.
After a week in hospital, the infection had spread into her blood stream, joints and bones of her hand and she was at risk of developing septicaemia.
She was then forced to undergo a two-hour operation as medics cleaned the infection from her hand.
As she continues her recovery, the mother has been left with an eight-stitch wound and skin that is shedding from powerful antibiotics.