Wild Oats Survives Nineteen Days with a Peanut Butter Jar Stuck on Her Head
"I thought she was going to die with that jar on her head."
-- Tabitha Cain
A feral cat named Wild Oats was recently forced to go without either food or water for an astonishing nineteen days because she got her head stuck inside an empty peanut butter jar and was unable to extricate herself.
Twenty-five-year-old Tabitha Cain, who has been generously feeding Wild Oats and five other feral cats for the past three years, first learned of Wild Oats' predicament when the moggy turned up outside her Bartlett, Tennessee home on November 10th. Tabitha and her mother, Doretha, wanted to help Wild Oats get the jar off but were unable to get near her.
"We tried to get her, but being the type of cat you can't catch, she kept running and hiding," Doretha told the Commercial Appeal of nearby Memphis on December 1st. (See "Cat Survives Nineteen Days with Peanut Butter Jar on Head.")
Her inability to help Wild Oats left Tabitha distraught and resigned to the inevitable. "I thought she was going to die with that jar on her head," she told the Commercial Appeal.
Bartlett Animal Shelter was contacted and it attempted to trap Wild Oats but the cat proved to be too wily for it also.
After the Cains had given up Wild Oats for dead, the cat miraculously reappeared on November 28th. She still had the jar on her head but by then she was so weak from a total lack of nourishment that they were able to capture her by tossing a fishing net over her.
"She couldn't fight and wasn't struggling because she was barely breathing," Doretha recalled.
Tabitha applied some oil to the jar and soon extricated Wild Oats' head. (See photo above.) The Cains then gave her some water and tended to her injuries. Two days later she was eating again.
"I've heard of cats having nine lives but I think this one has nineteen because she survived nineteen days," Doretha remarked to the Commercial Appeal. "God will take care of animals just like people because that cat is really a miracle."
Dr. Gerald Blackburn, a Memphis veterinarian, thinks that Wild Oats may have survived her long and trying ordeal by subsisting off of her excess body fat. He emphasized, however, that for a cat to survive for that length of time under those circumstances was unusual.
Kim Scheu of the Bartlett Animal Shelter warned that residents need to do a better job of disposing of their trash so as to prevent incidents like this from recurring. "People need to understand that wildlife or any domestic animal will do something like that and it's dangerous," she told the Commercial Appeal.
In particular, all toxic substances should be returned to recycling centers instead of being tossed out with the remainder of the garbage. Trash bags should not be left unattended on the curb; rather, they should be deposited inside steel receptacles that have lids. Above all, special care needs to be taken when disposing of such mundane household items as jars and plastic bags.
As for Wild Oats, it is not known if she has returned to the streets or is still living with the Cains. If they are willing to invest the time and effort, Wild Oats might now be more amenable to domestication.
She is certainly a very courageous cat as well as a long-suffering one also. Without a doubt, she would make a terrific addition to some family.
Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht of the Commercial Appeal.