National News

Cat at large with head stuck in bird feeder

By The Canadian Press

BRANDON, Man. - Not since Sylvester and Tweety has a cat's determination to catch a bird caused such a predicament.

A ginger-and-white feline nicknamed Butterscotch has been spotted numerous times with a small bird feeder stuck on its head in a Brandon, Man., neighbourhood.

Witnesses say the cat can see out of one eye and runs away when approached.

They say there's no way it can eat or drink, and are worried about how long it can survive.

"He was meowing a little bit as if he wanted somebody to help him, but he's a stray and he's obviously afraid of people, so I wasn't able to get near him," said Colleen Gareau, who first spotted the distressed cat Wednesday morning.

Staff with the city's pound have tried to catch Butterscotch. So have volunteers from a local animal group, who have been baiting traps with tuna, sardines and cat food.

The traps are ones used for larger animals because the cat wouldn't fit into a regular cat trap because of the feeder.

So far, Butterscotch has given everyone the slip.

"It spooks whenever it hears anything because it doesn't know what's really approaching, so any noise, the cat runs," said Toni Gramiak of the Brandon and Area Lost Animals group.

"We're surprised it's not running into things, but somehow it's figured out how to get around."

Witnesses say the cat can even jump onto fences with the feeder on its head.

Gareau said the cat had been a regular visitor to her yard for some time and gets along well with her own cat, Emmie, which she lets out into her yard on a leash.

"He probably just put his head in — I don't think he was interested in food — but snooping around and it just got caught on his neck. And he was shaking his head. He just cannot get it off."

Gareau assumed the cat belonged to someone in her neighbourhood. But despite all the attention the fettered feline has generated in Brandon, no one has stepped forward to claim the animal.

Gramiak said when the cat is captured, it will be checked for an ear tattoo or microchip identification. As it is right now, it's hard to identify the animal when no one can properly see its face.

Gramiak has even been putting tuna juice on trees to try to lure Butterscotch back to Gareau's yard.

The last time Gareau saw the cat free of the feeder was a week ago.

"At the very most, the cat has not had food or water for about a week," Gramiak said.

— By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

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