SHAMUS the cat is lucky to be alive after a night roaming the fields around his home almost ended in tragedy.

Since his rescue from a farm in Ireland and his arrival at his new home in North Yorkshire, the silver long-haired tabby had been kept indoors at night.

But, recently, he developed a wanderlust, crying to be let out after dark – and, when he did not give up after several nights of being ignored, owner Julie Haynes relented.

Two days later, Shamus was almost dead – only saved from choking to death by a quick-thinking vet who used pliers to cut a snare fastened tightly around his neck.

“I knew something was wrong when he came back into the kitchen,” said Julie, who lives in Brompton, with partner, Mark, and four other cats.

“He seemed to be in distress, and when I bent down I could see wire around his neck. I took his collar off but he still seemed to be finding it difficult to breathe, so I knew I had to get him to the vets.”

During the short drive to the veterinary surgery, at Kebir House, in nearby Northallerton, Shamus’s condition deteriorated. By the time they arrived, he was lapsing into unconsciousness.

Julie said: “He had been gargling, crying and struggling in the car, but he had gone limp by the time we got to the surgery.

“I thought he was going to die but the vet, Mark Glover, realised what had happened and got pliers to cut the wire. Shamus still needed treatment for shock – it was very, very close.”

Shamus’s good fortune owes much to the fact he had been able to chew through nylon thread which would have attached the snare to a peg in the ground.

Julie is now worried other pets may not be so lucky.

“I really can’t think who might put traps down, or why. Some people have said they have heard shooting at night, so it might be poachers – but I think anyone who has a pet should be careful,” she said.

The snare has been handed to the police, who will be making inquiries in the village over the next few days. The RSPCA has also been informed.