Family pet 'lucky to survive' after lethal trap' closes around cat's skull

The Spring Trap Dobby was caught in
The Spring Trap Dobby was caught in

The RSPCA is appealing for information after a cat was caught in a lethal trap and is lucky to have survived.

Dobby, the 10-month old grey and white tabby cat, was caught in a Fenn trap in Horseshoes Lane, Weston Colville, Cambridgeshire, on Sunday February 11.

ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY: Dobby

ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY: Dobby

The poor moggy had his head completely stuck inside the trap for several hours.

He was found by a member of the public who contacted the RSPCA and Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Amy Reiter attended. It took all her strength to release the cat from the trap which has closed around his skull and was causing him severe pain.

She said: “When I arrived, the sight of poor Dobby was horrific. He was in absolute agony. It took both my hands and all my might to pull this trap open so I just cannot believe he didn’t have at least a fractured skull. X-rays showed that there were no broken bones but the trap has put a lot of pressure on his skull and his eyes so there may be more damage.

“It was Dobby’s skull that saved him. It is an old trap which looks like it has been fixed up to reuse with a fresh wire across it. The bar itself was going straight across the top of his skull and the bottom was underneath his throat. If it had snapped completely on his throat it would have crushed his windpipe so he is very lucky to be alive.

“While it is not an illegal trap in itself, the trap is likely to have been set illegally as these kind of traps should be set in an artificial or natural tunnel which is fit for purpose and secured to the ground in order to avoid catching non-target species. It may have also been left out and forgotten about for some time.

“We would ask local people to be vigilant to keep an eye out for these traps. It may not be illegal to own this trap but domestic animals can fall foul of them and they are unforgiving."

The use of spring traps is not illegal but is controlled by two pieces of legislation - the Pests Act 1954, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

With certain exceptions, all spring traps must be tested and approved under the Spring Traps Approval (England) Order 2012, which lists the conditions for each trap; including legal target species and the need to be set in a natural or artificial tunnel.

Dobby was rushed to the vets who scanned his microchip and contacted the owners, Maria and Jan Mol.

The couple adopted Dobby with his brother Norbert in October (2017) from a charity which rescues cats from Romania and brings them to the UK to be rehomed. The brothers, who will be one-year-old in April, were kept in a cellar as kittens and had never seen the light of day until they were rescued last year.

Maria, their owner said: “They had such a poor start in life and we were hoping to give them a better life with us here in the UK.

“This is such a horrible thing to have happened, that’s what is so vile about it. It’s not like somebody accidentally ran him over. I just can’t get my head around the fact that someone could do this and then he was left in the trap for so long.

“He is quite an adventurous cat, unlike his brother, so he goes out a lot. On Sunday he hadn’t come back for his breakfast which is really unusual. I went out in the late morning and when I came home, he still wasn’t back so I knew something was wrong. Thank god for microchips as it meant the vet could contact us immediately.

“Dobby is now doing much better I think his eyes have been affected. He can still see but I’m not sure how much he can see yet. The problems could be neurological as he is very wobbly when he moves, so we are taking him back to our own vets next week.”

The RSPCA is appealing to anyone with information about this trap, where the trap was set, or how it came to injure the cat to please get in touch by calling our inspectorate appeal line in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.