The ginger tom had been visiting them for 10 days, and each day his wound appeared to be getting worse.
We immediately called the person back to try and find out more, and do an over-the-phone assessment. Due to the severity of the described injury and the finder’s doubt over whether he had an owner, we agreed to take a look at the cat – who we named Charlie – and admit him for a full emergency health check.
Cat bites, wounds and abscesses pose a real risk to life, and can easily become infected if not treated or monitored. With coronavirus limiting the number of people out and about, this risk is heightened. Luckily, Charlie’s finder managed to contain him and bring him in to us, where we conducted a socially distanced handover in our Reception.
We also advised the finder to put posters up in their local area, saying they’d found Charlie and to contact us if you were or knew his owner.
Although Charlie was clearly in a lot of pain when he arrived, he was a friendly boy and appeared domesticated. Our Head Vet, Justin, checked him over and gently cleaned the wound, before giving Charlie a long-acting antibiotic injection and prescribing him a course of anti-inflammatory painkillers.
Charlie did not have a microchip, so we settled him down in our Cattery to heal and waited to see if anybody came forward to claim him. Over the next couple of days, we received many calls from concerned members of the public in the neighbourhood where Charlie was found, but sadly none were his previous owner – though he was clearly a popular sight around the streets! Everyone we spoke to was incredibly relieved that Charlie was safe and getting treatment for his abscess.
As the days went by, we expected to put Charlie up for adoption as soon as he was better – but to our surprise and delight, just over two weeks later we finally got the call we’d all been hoping for. Charlie did indeed have a loving owner, but had gone missing during a time when the owner was isolating indoors with coronavirus symptoms – leaving him unable to go outside to search for his cat, or see our posters!
Luckily, as soon as the owner had passed his mandatory 14 day isolation period, he set about looking around his local area, and soon noticed a couple of the posters out and about. He’d visited his vets before having to isolate to get Charlie some antibiotics for his wound, but when Charlie then didn’t come home one day, he’d feared that his condition had deteriorated, preventing him from finding his way back.
We neutered and microchipped Charlie so that the owners’ details were now registered, and once Charlie was back to his usual self, we reunited the pair from a safe distance.
Charlie’s story highlights the importance of having your pets microchipped, especially during a pandemic, when there are simultaneously less people out to notice an injured animal, less emergency response workers on the front line, and a high chance of you yourself becoming unwell and being forced into isolation.
It also shows the vital need for community based welfare and veterinary services such as Mayhew, who have close ties with local neighbourhoods and are able to work with pet owners and members of the public to help animals in need.
As we know from experience, entire male cats often fight over territory and female cats, and can roam for miles whilst out exploring, easily getting lost and confused. Entire males are also more likely to suffer from bites, scratches and other injuries, which like Charlie’s wound can very easily become nasty and infected.
The further an animal travels away from its home and the longer they are missing, the less chance we have of finding them, saving their lives and reuniting them with their owners. This is why we offer free and low-cost microchipping, neutering and vaccination services, in an attempt to control the spread of disease and keep caring owners together with their beloved pets.
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