National News

Cat with bug catcher on head is caught safe

By The Canadian Press

BRANDON, Man. - A Manitoba cat has been safely trapped after evading capture for weeks with what was believed to be a bird feeder stuck on its head.

According to the Brandon and Area Lost Animals group, Butterscotch is in good shape considering his ordeal and was being treated at the Grand Valley Animal Clinic.

Rescuers were originally concerned the ginger-and-white cat couldn't eat or drink because of the device, but they later said they believed it could do both.

Toni Gramiak with the animal group said it now appears the device was actually an insect catcher, not a bird feeder.

She said the cat was waiting when a Brandon animal control officer went to check the trap early Saturday morning.

"Butterscotch walked into the trap finally," Gramiak said Saturday. "He was very scared."

The cat was first spotted in the predicament on July 23.

Despite having the device on his head and much of its face covered up, Butterscotch was still able to run and jump and remained a fugitive.

Rescuers set traps baited with delicious treats such as sardines and tuna, but still had no luck. Then last week they reported that one neigbourhood resident was sabotaging their efforts by making noise and flashing lights to deliberately scare the animal away.

Dog captures sometimes take months, Gramiak said, but cat captures are usually much quicker.

"His vision and sense of smell was affected because of this contraption. So to get him to the trap, to get him to find the front of the trap, that was the challenge," Gramiak explained.

At one point, rescuers arrived at a trap and found a Jack Russell terrier inside. The pooch had managed to pull free from a girl who was walking it, and sniffed its way to the bait meant for Butterscotch.

The dog was happily reunited with its owners.

There was previously no word on whether Butterscotch was male or female, but Gramiak said the cat is now recovering after being neutered, free of charge, by a veterinarian at the clinic.

Butterscotch will be held for several days for an owner to come forward, and will be put up for adoption by Funds for Furry Friends Animal Rescue if no one does.

Gramiak said the cat has no tags, identification microchips or tattoos.

The cat was given its name by the woman who first spotted him. She said Butterscotch was an occasional visitor to her yard before getting its head caught in the device and that he had gotten along well with her own cat, which she keeps on a leash.

Butterscotch was spotted during the past two weeks in the company of other cats, but fled whenever people approached.

News of his safe capture prompted dozens of Facebook comments expressing relief and congratulations to the rescue group's volunteers for their perseverance.

— by Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

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