AFTER nine days trapped in a snare, a cat limped home with the wire and twine trap still wrapped tightly round her stomach.
Six-year-old Tigger, a ginger, long-haired cat, went missing from her Adlington home on Sunday September 30.
Nine days later, when owner Charlotte Dewar had given her up for dead, Tigger returned – weak, dehydrated and very thin.
A vet who removed the snare told Charlotte that had Tigger not been long-haired it was unlikely she would have survived her ordeal. Even so, the tight wire left the cat with severe bruising and bald patches around her abdomen.
Shocked to see her pet in such a condition, Charlotte rang the RSPCA.
After inspecting the snare, Inspector Rachel Andrews said: “The device Tigger was trapped in appears to have been home-made, but it was similar to an illegal self-locking snare which tightens around an animal, giving them no opportunity to escape.
“Tigger was fortunate to have been able to get herself home and to have not suffered a more serious injury. The use of any snare is unacceptable, but if someone is setting legal snares there are guidelines they must adhere to to prevent either the target or other animals suffering unnecessarily.
“Snares can cause a huge amount of pain and distress and can be fatal.
“People need to be aware that they leave themselves open to prosecution if they are using illegal traps or not setting them correctly.”
A snare is a wire noose which is attached to a stake or heavy object that acts as an anchor. It is usually set to catch a fox or rabbit, but its victim may be a badger, cat, dog, hedgehog, squirrel, or even a deer.
The snared animal is usually caught by the neck but it may also be trapped by a leg or, as in Tigger’s case, round the body. Once caught, the animal panics and struggles to free itself.
The more it struggles, the tighter the noose becomes; the tighter the noose, the greater the animal’s struggle and suffering. Victims of snares may die of strangulation or they may weaken, stop struggling and starve to death or be killed by predators.
The RSPCA would like to see all snares banned, but the Government has said it will not do this.
Charlotte, who has three children, added: “This must have happened quite near to my home, as female cats tend not to roam far.
“It’s bad enough that it happened to my pet, but it could have been a child.”