Maximus has had a hard life (Picture: Stray Cat Rescue Team WM / SWNS)

Phoebe Buffay’s Smelly Cat was a song that touched the hearts of many, with us all rooting for the poor little pet who’d been left outside alone.

Now, a real life Smelly Cat has come along and done the same thing, with his story inspiring £6,000 in donations to help him get better.

12-year-old Maximus was picked up by the Stray Cat Rescue Team West Midlands. who posted heartbreaking pictures of the poorly puss after he was found close to death in a gutter.

The pictures showed Maximum in a sorry state, with matted fur and cuts all over him.

When we was brought to the vet, it was found that he has FIV, which is the feline version of HIV, and his claws were also so long they were embedded in his paws and he could barely walk and vets said he was hours from death.

What he looked like before (Picture: Stray Cat Rescue Team WM / SWNS)

Charity spokesperson and founder of the rescue team Lucy Strickland said: ‘We didn’t hold out much hope for Maximus but he’s a fighter.

‘He was in a terrible condition when we found him.

‘Maximus was ignored for many years, too many people thought they were doing enough by feeding him and walking on by, but sometimes, these strays need so much more.’

People thought that leaving food for Maximus was enough (Picture: Stray Cat Rescue Team WM / SWNS)

Finally, however, little Maximus is getting the care he deserves, thanks to the deluge of donations that came in from the public for him.

Just days after the appeal was launched more than £6,000 was raised to pay for his treatment with donations coming from around the world.

But Maximus’s FIV meant he needed extra care (Picture: Stray Cat Rescue Team WM / SWNS)

Writing on Facebook Jake Burch said: ‘What a hero. Smelly Cat from Friends is real and needs our help!’

Lisa Franks added: ‘I literally cried when I saw his little face. What a fighter. Someone needs to give him a home for Christmas.’

He’s slowly learning to trust humans again (Picture: Stray Cat Rescue Team WM / SWNS)

Lucy says that they now have ‘cutting edge vets working mainly on Maximus, and that ‘the nurses and staff have all been incredible.’

All the funds that have been raised through the crowdfunder will be going to help Maximus, and special drugs are planned to be shipped from the US that should hopefully help him.

The charity is determined that he will spend his last months or years in comfort (Picture: Stray Cat Rescue Team WM / SWNS)

He is being cared for at White Cross Vets in Wolverhampton and is undergoing multiple treatments, including AZT, which is normally used to treat HIV in humans.

Lucy added: ‘Even if he only has a couple of weeks, or a couple of months, of happiness, we’ve done our job.

Plenty of people want him to be happy (Picture: Stray Cat Rescue Team WM / SWNS)

‘Maximus was severely dehydrated and underweight when he was brought in and had no trust in humans. He would hiss and spit. He was terrified.

‘A week after being rescued he realised that not all humans are bad. When he hears you, he starts purring.

‘We’ve had more applications [to foster] him than any other cat. He’s touched quite a few people.’

If you’d like to donate to Maximus’s recovery fund, you can do so here.

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