A FREE-spirited Nimbin cat is alive and limping thanks to the generous actions of shop owner Lesley Clere.
Shoppy is a black cat who has hung around Lesley's clothing store OzKat since it opened two years ago, and in the neighbouring newsagent for the past five years.
His owners run the hardware store up the road, but Lesley said the other cats "bashed him up", so he hung around her shop.
Recently, Lesley found Shoppy at her door with one of his legs "red raw".
"He'd obviously been run over and had been licking it."
Lesley took the unlucky black cat to a Lismore vet, who said the only options were to amputate or put him down.
They called the owners, who said they couldn't afford the $800 operation.
"I couldn't put him down. He's such a lovely person. I couldn't afford it either so I just put it on my credit card," Lesley said.
"The vet assured me cats are fine on three legs and there are already a couple of three-legged dogs in Nimbin."
Lesley has two cats of her own and is a Leo and said she was "definitely a cat person".
Since the amputation she has decided to give Shoppy a new name: Hoppy.
"He's still getting used to it," she said. "He hangs out here during the day and hobbles back at night."
Lesley is hoping the community can help with part of the cost of the operation. There are collection jars at OzKat, the newsagent and hardware store in Nimbin. So far $200 has been donated.
"People will give back bit by bit," Lesley said.
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