I am, and always have been an animal lover. I don’t like all animals – I don’t like slugs, not crazy about snails, and would really prefer not to be close to wild rats. Aside from that, I like animals. So when I found an injured stray cat in my garden a couple of weeks ago, I was in a bit of a flap.
Regular readers will know that I have four cats, all female, all beautiful, so it’s no surprise that the local boys like to come for a visit, but my girls are not very friendly. (They are to me, but they know me.). They don’t like these male interlopers staring in through the windows at them. I’ve even see Artemis “fighting” through the window because she doesn’t think they should be there.
This little stray – I knew he was male because of his behaviour – had been hanging around in my garden for some weeks but I still didn’t know his distress call, and anyway, he didn’t make a noise until he saw me. I don’t generally feed the strays because my girls don’t like it. (Very jealous.). He had taken to sitting in Telesto’s favourite spot under one of the trees, which didn’t go down too well.
So it wasn’t until I got up to let my girls go outside that I realised that he was injured. He did his usual thing when he saw me and got up to move away from me so I could see he was limping, holding his right back leg at an angle and not putting any weight on it.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to just catch him, so what to do? I rang the RSPCA.
“Feed him at the same time every day, try to catch him. When you do, give us a ring and we’ll give you a reference number so you can take him to a vet to get him treated.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.”
“We’ll get one of the inspectors to give you a ring.”
Sure enough, one of their inspectors did give me a ring, a few days later, and came round. Of course, the cat had disappeared by the time Michael turned up. He told me that he didn’t think the leg was broken as the cat would have been dragging it rather than holding it up. My plan to try to get the little cat in one of my pet carriers had failed miserably – I’d bought some cheap food that little boy cats could have, put a bowl in the carrier but when the lovely Oceana went outside, she went into the carrier, ate the food and pushed the door “to” behind her. Well, she can open cupboard doors, provided the spring is not too strong, and very nearly open drawers, so why was I surprised?
Michael told me that they use humane traps to catch cats but they didn’t have any spare at the time so he suggested I try Celia Hammond or the PDSA. I did, but they couldn’t help me. A few days later, Michael called me back,
“I’ve got a trap. I can be round in fifteen minutes.”
“Great, thank you.”
The little stray cat had been injured for a week now, and although by now he was able to jump, he still wasn’t putting his full weight on his back leg.
Michael showed me how to operate the trap. I didn’t try to catch him straight away, I really wanted it to be a day when I didn’t have to go out, but I was also conscious that the poor little boy was still in pain. Oh the best laid plans…
To cut a long story short, I did manage to trap him – it was actually much easier than I thought, but due to a break down in communication, he was in the trap for 24 hours, which upset me and him.
Joe, another inspector, came round the following day and took him. He told me that he could see by looking at him that the cat was not neutered, which probably meant that he wasn’t micro chipped. He also told me that only about one in 20 of the cats they collect has a micro chip. This little stray cat has gone off, and hopefully will be neutered and found a good home.
No-one knows exactly how many cats there are in the UK at the moment, but between July and September 2012, there were over 24,000 calls to the RSPCA and Cats Protection alone reporting strays or unwanted cats. As a nation of so-called animal lovers, we really aren’t doing very well.
If you do have a pet (cat or dog), unless you are a serious breeder, please get it spayed or neutered. It’s better for the animal, and it will help to reduce the number of strays. Some of the following charities are able to help with neutering if you are in financial difficulty:
© Susan Shirley 2016