Warning to owners after cat suffers horrific injury during clap for the NHS

Pet owners are being warned to be extra vigilant during Thursday’s clap for the NHS after a terrified cat suffered a horrific tail injury while hiding in a reclining sofa.

Much-loved, family pet, Max was cowering inside the sofa after fleeing when he was startled by fireworks being set off as people were clapping for the NHS.

Max had to be cut out of the sofa by the fire brigade after his owner, Janice Blenkinsop from Wallsend was unaware he had squeezed himself through a tiny gap and his tail became wrapped around the reclining mechanism when she pushed the seat back as she relaxed to watch TV.

Fiona Cumming from Westaway Veterinary Group in Newcastle made an emergency dash to Janice’s home to sedate the terrified cat, who was trapped for two-and-a-half hours, so he could be released by the fire brigade.

The two-year-old ginger cat underwent emergency surgery at Westway Vets’ main hospital in Newcastle, to amputate most of his tail, and has made a full recovery after his ordeal. He has been left with a three-inch stump.

Fiona said: “We had just returned in from the 8pm clap when we took the call. We were not sure what to expect and how severe the injury would be, but we knew we needed to get to Max quickly to give him pain relief and to sedate him as he would likely be distressed.

“Coronavirus restrictions made things difficult. We wore full PPE to go to the house as we had to be in close distance to Max’s owner and the fire crew. When we arrived at the house, the fire brigade had removed part of the reclining mechanism which Max’s tail was still attached to. I sedated him, which included pain relief, to allow his tail to be freed.

“It was risky sedating Max as he was in shock but there was no option as he had to be freed. We had to quickly get Max back to our hospital to operate on him immediately and amputate his tail. He was monitored all the way in the car and then x-rayed to check if there were any other injuries.”

Fiona is urging owners to prepare for the weekly clap for the NHS by ensuring their cats are safely indoors.

Fiona added: “I would advise to prepare for the NHS clap. It is an excellent way to thank NHS staff and key workers. However, owners should ensure their cats are inside before the clap takes place and follow the same advice for fireworks with finding a safe room with background noise to settle their animal into prior to the clap taking place.

“I am pleased with the outcome for Max, he is doing well. Cats cope very well after a tail amputation. Initially after the surgery they need to be monitored to ensure they don’t chew out the sutures and monitored for any wound breakdown. Max healed very well without any complications.”