Tabitha the cat recovering from horrific injuries inflicted by suspected snare

A cat who suffered horrific injuries and needed to have a leg amputated is recovering after being caught in what vets believe was a snare.

Thursday, 11th February 2016, 3:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2016, 7:15 am

Two-year-old Tabitha had been missing for nearly two days when she limped home to her owner’s home in Storrington, with appalling injuries to her rear leg.

She was rushed to Arun Veterinary Group where vets said her wounds were consistent with having been caught in a snare, probably designed to capture foxes or rabbits.

Her injuries were so bad that vets had no option but to amputate her rear leg which had become badly infected.

Anna Portnoi, Volunteer Co-ordinator of Cats Protection’s Horsham & District Branch, is now caring for Tabitha while she recovers after her previous owner signed her over to the veterinary surgery to continue her care.

She said: “Tabitha had been missing for nearly two days and when she returned she was in an awful state. The injuries were mainly around a rear paw.

“Cats can get caught on barbed wire, and of course they can sustain injuries in road accidents. But this looked very much as though she had been caught in a snare. She must have been in agony, the pain really must have been immeasurable. She was very fortunate to have been able to escape and then manage to make her way home.

“Despite her ordeal, Tabitha is a lovely, confident and affectionate cat. She has adapted well to having three legs and is already well on the way to recovery.”

Chloe Emmerson, Veterinary Nurse at Arun Veterinary Group who treated Tabitha, said: “Tabitha had sustained some truly horrific injuries and it’s a testament to her strength of character that she was able to free herself and limp home.

“We did everything we could to try and save her leg but sadly the injuries to her paw were so bad that we had no other option but to remove her leg. No-one saw exactly what happened so we can’t say for sure it was a snare, but all the evidence points to that. It really is hard to see an animal in such pain and suffering because of something that had been deliberately set.”

Cats Protection’s Advocacy Manager Jacqui Cuff said the charity is calling for an outright ban on snares, which are commonly used to capture foxes, hares and rabbits.

She said: “Snares are inherently cruel to any animal caught in them, whether they are the intended victims or not. Many animal lovers are surprised to learn that the use of such cruel devices is still legal in the UK.

“Cats and other animals caught in snares can suffer long and agonising deaths and those that do survive will frequently suffer serious injuries. Only an outright ban will prevent the horrific pain and injury snares inflict.”

Chris Pitt, Deputy Director of Campaigns for the League Against Cruel Sports, says that all animals caught in these wire nooses suffer terribly. He said: “Tabitha’s horrific injury highlights why dog and cat owners need to be ‘snare aware’.

“Trapped animals suffer a slow and painful death from strangulation, evisceration, exposure to the elements, predation, starvation or dehydration despite these devices being meant as restraints rather than lethal traps. Snares are cruel and dangerous and should be banned.

“Snares are indiscriminate - around 1.7m animals get caught in them every year. Although normally set to catch foxes and rabbits, two out of every three animals caught in these nooses are unintended quarry like dogs and cats. Tabitha has sadly lost a limb, but is lucky to be alive. This is one of many snaring cases we’ve heard about recently – how many cats and dogs are being injured or even killed without anyone hearing about it?”

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping over 205,000 cats every year through a network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres. To find out more about the charity’s work, visit

Cats Protection’s Horsham & District Branch has set up a Just Giving page for anyone who wished to contribute towards the cost of Tabitha’s care. Funds raised in excess of her treatment will go towards helping other cats in the branch’s care. The Just Giving page can be found at

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