A MUCH-loved cat has cheated death and is back to his "playful, chatty self" thanks to pioneering treatment at an animal hospital near Wellington.

One-year-old Atlas became lethargic and lost his appetite over a two-week period before he was referred to Linnaeus-owned Cave Veterinary Specialists.

When Atlas arrived at Cave, he was immediately started on fluid therapy and tests were carried out to confirm a suspected diagnosis of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a condition which is almost always fatal.

The team also carried out an ultrasound of the abdomen, where fluid was building, to rule out other causes.

Once FIP was confirmed, the team at Cave began lifesaving treatment with the revolutionary medication remdesivir, while Atlas was also fitted with a feeding tube as he was not eating.

Following his ground-breaking treatment at Cave, Atlas’ owner, Naomi Smith said: “Atlas is doing very well. He’s over the 4kg mark and back to his playful, chatty self.

“He is once again super playful with his brother and super affectionate with people, if not a bit mischievous.”

While using up one of his nine lives, Atlas was treated by internal medicine specialist Nele Van den Steen, who said: “It was by the fourth day that Atlas showed considerable improvement and had regained his appetite.

“After his discharge from Cave, Atlas took a once daily oral tablet for three months, together with two other treatments.

“He has recovered well and it’s fantastic news that we can now offer this potentially lifesaving treatment to cats suffering from FIP.”

Cave is recognised as a silver level cat-friendly clinic by the International Society of Feline Medicine.

Steps the hospital has taken to be a cat-friendly clinic include being trained to handle cats in a manner that minimises stress, fear and anxiety, as well as advising clients on the best way to safely and comfortably transport their cats to us.

Cave, located just minutes from Junction 26 on the M5, offers comprehensive, specialist-led services in anaesthesia, cardiology, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, orthopaedic surgery and soft tissue surgery.