Topsey the Cat charmed thousands of fans nationwide on February 8 when she burst onto the pitch at Hillsborough stadium in the 94th minute, and had to be carried off by Wigan Athletic's Jason Kerr.
A microchip check at a local vets confirmed she belonged to Alison Jubb, from Sheffield, who had reported her missing in June 2020, but further tests also revealed Topsey needed expert veterinary care.
She was referred to Linnaeus-owned Paragon Veterinary Referrals, in Wakefield, Yorkshire, where neurology resident Michal Mol uncovered the extent of her injuries.
Michal said: “Topsey underwent CT and MRI scans and was diagnosed with a fracture of a vertebrae in her neck, severe ligament damage and spinal cord compression.
“In this case surgery didn’t seem necessary at this point, and we treated Topsey with strict cage rest and pain management.
“She was with us for 10 days and gradually got better every day. Towards the end of her stay in hospital she was walking with confidence, with a good range of movement in the head and neck.
“Finally, she was allowed home with her owner to administer a course of antibiotics.
“We are very optimistic about Topsey and her recovery. We think she is going to do well."
Supporters had raised over £11,000 to pay the vet bills of Topsey, who needed approximately £10,000 worth of surgery.
‘She is just happy to be home’
Owner Alison said she was delighted to welcome her home and bring Topsey’s incredible ordeal to an end.
Alison said: “She went missing last June. We were going away and I was taking her to a cattery and she escaped out of the cat box and we never heard anything again.
“Then my daughter-in-law rang me as they were watching the match and said there was a cat on the football pitch. I sort of laughed it off.
“She ran on the pitch and one of the Wigan players picked her up and passed her to a steward. A vet in the crowd came forward, I think he knew she was injured and took her to the vets.
“It was at this point they scanned her for a microchip and called me to say they'd found my cat. That was the first time I realised it really was her.
“She'd got some bites on her neck, like a dog may have grabbed her and shook her, so she was a bit scared. Now I think she is just happy to be home, I really do!”
Topsey went missing near Worrall, about 2.5 miles (4km) away from Hillsborough but where she’d been and what she’d been doing for the previous eight months remains a mystery.
For more information on Paragon Veterinary Referrals, visit www.paragonreferrals.co.uk or search for Paragon Veterinary Referrals on social media.
Cash to help with the veterinary fees for Topsy flooded in after an online fundraising pitch was set up.