A 22-year-old British woman backpacking across Australia has been left fighting for her life after contracting blood poisoning from a stray kitten.
Scarlet Goodrich's family and friends have started a desperate crowdfunding page to raise the much needed money to fly her home to Devon, England, after she picked up meningitis.
However, Scarlet may have to spend Christmas in her Melbourne hospital bed, where her mother Alethea has flown to be by her side.
The young woman required emergency surgery and is still under constant care, with her brain being closely monitored for swelling - a severe side effect of the blood poisoning.
Scarlet's uncle said, 'This has come as such a shock to the family. It's a very rare and unusual scenario which has baffled the doctors and specialists.
'The doctors think she might have picked up this very rare and unusual toxin from a stray kitten she came into contact with while fruit picking on a farm.
'This week she is doing somewhat better, and making small steps to recovery. She has battled through the meningitis and the toxin, so it is mainly the ADEM [brain swelling] which doctors are trying to address.'
Scarlet's rehibilitation is believed to take between six months and two years, and a nurse will have to accompany her flight home.
A JustGiving page has been set up to raise funds for the family to pay for the extensive medical and travel bills.
The page has raised just over £2,000.