The RSPCA is appealing for information after a cat became caught in an illegal trap.
Koshka, the black cat, had a lucky escape after he was trapped in a gin trap in the Narberth area in Pembrokeshire. He managed to make it home to his owner with the trap attached to him, but has lost a toe from the ordeal.
Gin traps are mechanical traps designed to catch an animal by its leg, using spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge. The use of gin traps has been illegal in the UK since 1958, but some are still being used to catch animals such as rabbits and foxes.
Koshka’s owner, Andrea Pateman, rushed the injured moggie to a veterinary surgery for treatment. She then reported the incident to Dyfed-Powys Police. The incident has also been drawn to the attention of RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben.
Andrea said Koshka – who is one year and five months old – was missing for seven days.
“He went out a week ago on Thursday night and did not come home,” she said. “He would always come home. I had a gut feeling he was not dead, but I did not know where to find him.
“I came home yesterday [Thursday] and he was just sat at the top of the stairs with the trap on him. He had dragged it home. So I put him in a cat box and took him straight to the vets.
“I was speechless when I saw him. He was so lucky. I don’t know how he survived. We don’t know where it happened.”
Luckily, apart from a lost toe, Koshka is now on the mend.
“He is fine,” she said. “He is eating everything he sets his eyes on.”
Inspector Hogben said the RSPCA is appealing for information to try and find out who laid the trap.
“In this case someone has deliberately put this down to target something,” he said.
“Gin traps cause intense suffering and they are illegal. They are also indiscriminate as they can catch anything.”
Domestic animals often fall foul of the traps, but it is illegal to cause any animal to suffer by using them.
The sale or possession of such traps is not illegal, but the RSPCA wants to make people aware that they can face prosecution by setting a gin trap.
Anyone found guilty of setting a gin trap faces a maximum £20,000 fine and/or six months in prison.
If anyone has any information about this incident please ring our inspectorate line on 0300 123 8018.
If you spot an animal in distress, please call the RSPCA’s 24-hour helpline on 0300 1234 999.
If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message). We are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.