Saturday, 8 July 2017

Cat-astrophe strikes for trapped cats

From intrepid moggies and fearless felines the RSPCA is on hand to rescue cats who have got themselves into a tight spot! 

It is a well known fact that cats can get themselves stuck… a lot!

Whether scaling a 50ft tree with no escape route, squeezing themselves into tiny gaps, or falling down a hole they can’t get out of, some cats can get themselves into some very tight squeezes. They are naturally curious and inquisitive animals but some cats are better than others at navigating the hazards that may pop up along the way.

On average the RSPCA receives a call to its National Control Centre about a cat every three minutes and receives more calls about cats than any other animal. New figures reveal that since the start of this year the RSPCA has been called to 2,819 trapped cats. May and June had the most rescues with 606 and 611 respectively. These figures include cats that have become entangled, ‘trapped up’, ‘trapped down’ or stuck in water. The largest amount of rescues were cats ‘trapped up’ something with 1,488 in total from January to June. Rescues can be a tricky business and requires specialist equipment to be able to safely free an animal from a tight spot without injury as well as avoiding a nasty nip or bite in the process. 

RSPCA superintendent Tim Minty said: “There is a range of equipment needed for these particular rescues. The animal in itself will be frightened and its behaviour is most likely to be unpredictable because of the situation it’s in and the fact they don’t know the person trying to rescue them.
 “Some standard equipment such as bitemaster gloves, eye protection and a grasper and restraining basket can all help with a cat rescue. 
 “Cats like height and so it’s very possible that our officers will need to reach heights themselves. 
 "Some of our officers have extendable ladders and nets which can reach to a first floor window and really helps in these situations - but sometimes we do need to ask the fire brigade for help if they are available."

For more difficult rescues there are also water and rope rescue teams available who use a variety of equipment, for example extendable poles, pulleys, harnesses, and three types of inflatable rescue boats. Some of the challenges cat’s face can leave some owners understandably concerned or worried about their safety.

However, for most cats going outside is important for keeping them happy and healthy, explains Alice Potter, the RSPCA’s cat welfare expert. She said: “Unfortunately we can't always be there to supervise our cats when they are out and about to make sure they are safe but there are some steps we can take.
 “Make sure your cat is microchipped and registered with your current contact details. Remember if you've moved home or changed your phone number you will need to update your details. 
 “Microchipping your cat is the most reliable way to identify them and gives you the best chances of being reunited if they become lost. If you decide to put a collar and ID tag on your cat it's important to ensure the collar is correctly fitted and is a quick release type collar with a snap-safe buckle - other collars can get caught and cause nasty injuries.
 “It can be helpful to have a consistent routine with your cat and to feed them their meals around the same time each day. This way your cat will know when to come home for food and can give you a chance to check in with them and make sure they are okay.”

There are also a few things that everyone can do to ensure there are less cat rescues needed. Alice Potter added: “Cats can fit into small spaces and like hiding and sleeping in warm quiet spots. This means it's important to always check that there are no cats in your garage, shed or conservatory before you lock it up. 
 “Likewise it’s important to be cautious with any bins or other places that cats might get in and become stuck.

“If you have any concerns or find a cat in distress, please contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.”

Our pick of the top cat rescues in June:


1. Albus, the three year old tabby cat, had become tightly stuck between an office building and an external wall in Coleridge Road, Hove, on Thursday (June 1). The owner of the building called the RSPCA and animal collection officer (ACO) Julie Parsons attended to try and free the cat.

She said: “Poor Albus was stuck very tightly between two walls with about a four inch gap. No one knew how he managed to fit in there in the first place.
 “It took about three hours, working with East Sussex Fire and Rescue to create a huge hole in the wall to free him.
 “He was struggling to breathe where he had wedged himself so tightly between the walls so time was of the essence.”

Just when it looked like Albus had used all up of his nine lives, one last tug saw the moggy freed and reunited with his grateful owner.
  

2. A plucky kitten which had got herself wedged 8ft up a chimney was freed after a four-hour rescue operation between the RSPCA and Merseyside Fire Service. Lola’s worried owner contacted the RSPCA after hearing the kitten making noises inside the chimney. She had not long been adopted by her owner and, feeling timid in her new home, sought a place to hide - behind the fireplace.
 “From there, she had somehow managed to climb inside the chimney - about 8ft up it,” said RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Matt Brown, who went to rescue Lola from the house in Fairfield Drive, in Liverpool, on Friday (16 June).



3. A vulnerable kitten who used up one of his nine lives after getting stuck 20ft up a huge tree has landed on his feet - after bagging a new home with the firefighter who rescued him!

It took 90 minutes to get to the little ginger puss who was buried deep inside a very dense tree in Bigby High Road, Brigg.

RSPCA animal collection officer Carol Smith was called to the scene on Tuesday morning (27 June) and requested the help of Humberside Fire & Rescue Service as the kitten was so high up. 

She explained: “Due to his age and the height of the tree, I called in a local fire crew to help get to him.

“It took more than 90 minutes to get up to the tree and find him amongst the dense foliage. When they found him he was huddled inside a pigeon nest with some nestlings!”

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

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