Worried postmen are refusing to deliver mail to a Peterborough house after claiming they have been injured – by a small cat.
Ian Wilkinson (46), from West Lake Avenue, Hampton Vale, has been told by Royal Mail that deliveries to his home have been halted because of the allegations against his three-year-old cat Snowball.
A letter to Mr Wilkinson from the Royal Mail states that after the third attack on Wednesday at 2.30pm, a postman was left with “quite deep” cuts to a finger.
And the letter states that following a health and safety assessment, it has been decided that there is an unacceptably high level of risk during delivery to the house.
Officials say deliveries will be suspended until Mr Wilkinson finds a way to ensure Snowball cannot get to any other delivery officers.
But the Royal Mail’s claims that his usually timid moggy was attacking postmen while he was at work have left Mr Wilkinson baffled.
Just as much of a surprise was that the allegation suggests Snowball has found a way to mastermind her way past the letterbox’s two spring-loaded covers and double brush guard to get to the deliverer’s hand.
Mr Wilkinson said: “It’s ridiculous – a postman would have to struggle to even poke a hand to the other side.
“Everyone at work thinks it is hilarious – they have started calling her Ninja Cat and even Photoshopped her holding a Kalashnikov.
“You have to stretch to even get your hand through the letterbox. At worst, this is just a cat wanting to play with someone wiggling their fingers through it.
“I have never seen her attack a person. Sometimes she sniffs people’s feet when they come over for dinner.”
Mr Wilkinson, who works as a computer analyst for insurance giant the BGL Group, has now put a cage around the letterbox and hopes this will be satisfactory to resume the service.
He added: “They are in serious danger of making the Post Office a laughing stock.
Mr Wilkinson said he received a letter on November 15 stating that Snowball was the ‘potential hazard’.
The letter added: “Either ensure that your cat is kept away from the letterbox or provide an alternative safe delivery point.”
He wrote back to ask for clarification, but got no response until a letter was sent to him by Royal Mail delivery office manager Jamie Clarke on Thursday.
Mr Clarke wrote: “On 28/03/12 at 1430 hours... our delivery officer was trying to deliver a pack to you.
“When they opened the letterbox your cat clawed out via the letterbox and cut our delivery officers (sic) finger quite deep.
“This is the third such incident. As a result it has been found that the level of risk is unacceptably high.”
Mr Wilkinson does not know the details of the other two incidents took place.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman could not say when the other two attacks were because the sorting office had closed for the day.
She said: “There are around 4,000 animal attacks a year on Royal Mail people. These attacks cause great distress and in too many cases serious injuries.
“If we feel that there is a risk from any animal we are committed to working with the customer to agree simple steps to ensure that we can deliver the mail safely.”
Neighbour Glenys Armstrong (54) said: “Snowball is a lovely cat and friendly.”
Brave reporter visits the letterbox
REPORTER Matthew Reville yesterday put his fingers where the postmen fear to go.
Remembering his ordeal, he said: “The letterbox was only eight inches off the ground, so I had to crouch down low to get the angle of my hand right.
“I then pushed a cover with my left hand, while forcing the right past a brushed divider.
“I then heard some ominous paw steps from the other side - it was an animal approaching.
“I bravely pushed the second cover back. There was just enough space to get the tips of my finger inside the property.
“It was then that I felt some whiskers brushing on my knuckle. I stayed firm and kept my hand steady. She licked it.”
What do you think?