She explained: ‘We knew Irwin needed urgent treatment, but finances were tight and we were worried we wouldn’t be able to afford the veterinary fees.

‘Then I had a lightbulb moment and thought of PDSA. My mother had taken her cat there when she was struggling financially, so I contacted them and discovered I was eligible too’.

When Charlene called her local PDSA Pet Hospital in Gillingham, and informed them of Irwin’s condition, the team advised her to bring him in immediately

Hairbands removed from Irwin’s stomach PICS: PDSA

PDSA Vet, Rebecca Lewis, said: “X-rays revealed that there were lots of hairbands in Irwin’s stomach and we were concerned they were causing an obstruction to his guts.

“This can be a life-threatening condition so he needed emergency surgery to remove them right away.

“After an intense operation, the hairbands were successfully removed, and Irwin was kept at the hospital to closely monitor his recovery.”

Irwin was not out of the wood yet however as he had developed a liver condition that cats are prone to if they suddenly stop eating.

After a week of intensive treatment he was allowed home to recover, and the Pet Hospital staff provided special training to his owners to allow them to feed Irwin through his feeding tube.

Charlene said: “We couldn’t believe Irwin had eaten my hairbands! It was the last thing I expected to be the problem when he was ill.”

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