A MOTHER has spent four nights in hospital after being bitten by a cat she was trying to rescue.
Janine Clarke, 33, of Lower Cumberworth, contracted cellulitis, a serious infection, from the wound.
And she was told by doctors at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary that she could have lost her hand if it had gone untreated.
"I thought it was ridiculous," said Janine.
"I did not expect to spend four days in hospital because I was bitten by a cat."
Janine's two children, Oliver, 11, and Gemma, 12, are being looked after by relatives and friends.
And she may not be able to work as a home help for the next two weeks, because she will not be able to use her hand.
"The bite hurt at the time, but I did not think anything of it," she said.
"I went to the doctor for some antibiotics straight afterwards and just carried on as normal."
Janine, a single mother, went to help a cat she saw being run over as she drove down Cumberworth Lane.
"I thought it was a neighbour's cat and stopped the car," she said.
"It had hurt its back legs and I thought it would end up dying. So I went to get it - and it turned round and bit me."
Janine is left-handed and the cat bit her right hand.
Another woman helped her to catch the cat with a coat and they took it to a vet.
Janine said: "The vet put iodine on my hand and told me to go to my doctor for some antibiotics, which I did."
In spite of this, her hand swelled to twice the normal size.
But it was only when a friend suggested she visited accident and emergency that she went to the infirmary last Thursday.
"I said it's only a cat bite, it will go down. But as soon as the doctor saw it he said I would have to stay in. I thought he was having a laugh."
Janine is being treated with three types of antibiotics, given intravenously, and hopes to be out of hospital later today.
"Everyone has had a few giggles," she commented. "My arm is held up and it looks like I am directing traffic.
"I have not done any Christmas shopping and have no food in the house.
"I would do the same again, but I would use my brain next time and use something to catch the cat with, not my bare hands," she added.