A MILK tanker driver on Thursday went to the rescue of a cat lying in the gutter of a busy road in Cumbria with an illegal trap attached to one of its legs.

During torrential rain in the early hours, driver Carl Hawcroft was offloading his cargo of milk at a depot at Crooklands, near Kendal, when he heard whimpers and a faint rattling.

The whimpers were coming from a male black and white domestic cat lying in pain at the side of the road. The rattling was caused by the cat dragging along a gin trap attached to his leg.

Mr. Hawcroft picked up the frightened and soaking cat, wrapped it in a towel and contacted the police. The police then called the RSPCA and animal collection officer Graham Carter met Mr. Hawcroft and took the cat to a veterinary clinic in Kendal for emergency treatment.

“It was raining heavily but I could just make out a whimpering noise. I looked around and eventually found the cat lying at the side of the road. The poor thing was drenched and was obviously in considerable pain from the trap,” said Mr. Hawcroft.

Mr. Carter added: “It was only by pure chance that Mr. Hawcroft discovered this cat in the road. The RSPCA is opposed to the use of all snares and traps that cause suffering. They catch animals indiscriminately and often cause considerable pain.”

Cumbria-based RSPCA inspector Darryl Street said: “This gin trap was rusty which indicates that it was probably set as far back as the 1950s, before such traps were made illegal.

“From time to time, the RSPCA does come across animals in traps that were set many years ago. I have had three similar cases during my 20 years as an inspector. It is important that people ensure that all of these ‘old’ traps are accounted for in order to prevent more animals from suffering.”

The RSPCA wants to trace the owner of the injured cat. If you think he may be yours, contact the charity’s 24-hour advice and cruelty number, 08705 555999.

Update: Gin trap cat back home

Sir, We have been told that you had an article (Herald, 4th January), and now have a copy of this, about our cat Impi who got caught in a gin trap.

We hadn’t heard the news but a neighbour of ours told us she had heard something about a black and white cat being found and that it had been taken to the vets.

We now have him back home and he is having a lot of trouble with his paw which is heavily infected and will need quite a bit of further treatment. Apart from that though he is fine and we are very pleased to have got him home. But for your article we might still be looking for him. Yours etc,

Sue Middleman, Kendal (11th January 2003)

Source: Cumberland & Westmorland Herald

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