RSPCA warning after cat caught in illegal gin trap in Northumberland

Simba the cat got stuck in a gin trap designed to catch animals by the leg. Credit: RSPCA

A cat had to have one of its toes amputated after getting caught in a dangerous and illegal rodent trap.

Simba the cat suffered two broken toes when a gin trap snapped down on his feet.

It has prompted the RSPCA to issue a warning about the traps, which the charity said can cause severe injuries.

RSPCA inspector Lucy Green said: "Simba was very lucky that he only got two of his toes caught. They were both broken, but he certainly took less of an impact because it looks like he was moving so quickly at the time.

"These traps are illegal and anyone setting one faces prosecution. Because this was not an anchored trap, we don’t know the location it was set at or by who.

"But gin traps cause horrendous injuries as they usually ensnare the whole leg of an animal, which results in amputation."

Simba was found limping by a member of the public on Lindisfarne Close, near to his home in Northumberland.

They took him to the vets on Thursday 5 January and he was freed from the trap before undergoing an operation to remove one of his toes.

What is a gin trap?

The contraptions have been illegal in the UK since 1958, although are some are still being used to catch animals such as rabbits and foxes.

They are a mechanical device designed to catch an animal by the leg, with spring-operated jaws and either teeth or a serrated edge which snap shut.

Gin traps pose a particular danger to non-target species, like cats, which can suffer life-threatening injuries if caught.

Anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal faces an unlimited fine and/or five years in prison.

Simba was found limping by a member of the public after being caught in the trap. Credit: RSPCA

Simba is now back home with his family in Pegswood, near Morpeth.

His owner Elizabeth Jackson said: "It was a real shock as I got a call from the vets when I was at work. I realise Simba has been really lucky and it could have been worse.

"His foot is bandaged up, but he is doing well and is back with us. We are taking him back to the vets several times a week and we are hopeful that he won’t have to lose another toe."

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