Jack Slips and Falls while Pussyfooting Along the Top of an Old Fence and Is Speared Through His Midsection by a Rusty Spike
"The thing is the fence is not necessary because it is in front of a seven-foot-high concrete fence. It's bad enough that Jack was hurt but it could have been a child."
-- Nicola Milbourn
Fences topped with razor wire are not the only ones that pose a serious health threat to cats. Old-fashioned, steel structures outfitted with sharp, protruding spikes can be every bit as lethal.
That is what a handsome three-year-old black cat named Jack from Rotherham in south Yorkshire recently found out firsthand when he apparently slipped and became impaled on a rusty metal fence. Like a harpooned whale, the spike went through both his right front leg and midsection. (See photo above.)
Local firefighters cut him loose and he was rushed to Arncliffe Veterinary Center where his leg was repaired and his midsection sutured. He then was fitted with an Elizabeth collar in order to prevent him from gnawing at the incisions. (See photo below.)
At last report Jack's injuries were healing well and he is expected to make a full recovery. It will, however, take several months for the fur that the vets shaved away to grow back.
"The firefighters were great," his owner, thirty-two-year-old Nicola Milbourn, told the Daily Mail on September 9th. (See "Nine Lives? Lucky Black Cat Jack Is Down to Eight after Surviving Being Impaled on a Rusty Fence.") "They cut Jack free and we were able to rush him to the vet where they carried out the operation."
Fearing a repeat performance involving either Jack or some other unfortunate cat from the neighborhood, Milbourn has asked the Rotherham Council to order that the fence be removed. "The thing is the fence is not necessary because it is in front of a seven-foot-high concrete fence," she told the Daily Mail. "It's bad enough that Jack was hurt but it could have been a child."
Earlier this past summer, Olivia Trinidad Arias, George Harrison's widow, relented after months of legal and political squabbling and elected not to install new razor-wire fencing around Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames. That decision came after several cats from the tony neighborhood had been impaled on the barbs. (See Cat Defender posts of January 11, 2010 and July 15, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Razor-Wire Fencing Surrounding George Harrison's Mansion, Friar Park, Is Taking a Heavy Toll on Cats from the Neighborhood" and "In a Major Victory for Cats, George Harrison's Widow Changes Her Mind and Decides Not to Install More Razor-Wire Fencing at Friar Park.")
On June 21st in Cypress, California, a twelve-week-old kitten named Bridget came within a fraction of an inch of meeting her Waterloo when she slipped and became impaled on a razor-wire fence strung between two buildings. As a consequence, she suffered severe cuts to her paws, back, and abdomen.
Like Jack, most of her fur was shaved away and she was placed in an Elizabethan collar. After she was released from VCA Lakewood Animal Hospital in Cerritos, she was handed over to Fuzzy Dog and Cat Rescue of Santa Monica which had consented to be responsible for her recuperation, $1,300 veterinary tab, and for placing her in a good home.
On its web site, Fuzzy still is appealing to the public for donations in order to cover the cost of Bridget's care but she is not listed as being available for adoption. Consequently, it has not been possible to determine what has happened to her or how her recuperation is progressing.(See Cat Defender post of July 12, 2010 entitled "Bridget Sustains Horrific Injuries after She Slips and Tumbles into a Strand of Razor-Wire Fencing Inhumanely Strung Between Two Buildings.")
Whereas it is primarily the responsibility of cat owners to scour their neighborhoods for dangerous fences, landlords also have a duty to ensure that their properties are safe for both animals and individuals that wander in unannounced. Not only is that the humane course of action but it is the prudent one as well in order to avoid potential lawsuits.
More to the point, razor wire and metal spikes are not only eyesores but obsolete as security measures. Landlords accordingly would be doing both themselves and cats a huge favor by removing them.
Finally, it does seem a trifle odd that since cats are such surefooted creatures that so many of them are tumbling off of fences. It therefore is conceivable that ailurophobes could have thrown objects at both Jack and Bridget and thus caused them to stumble and fall.
Also, they could have been frightened by either a dog or some other animal. Even sudden loud noises might have been sufficient in order to have startled them.
After all, it must be remembered that a cat pussyfooting across the top of a fence makes an appealing target for individuals intent upon doing it harm. For example, when nineteen-year-old Chloe O'Connor of Hyde in Greater Manchester spied Giovanni Zazzarino's six-year-old cat, Trouble, on a garden fence outside her bedroom window she could not resist the temptation to grab her crossbow and put an arrow through his midsection. (See Cat Defender post of December 18, 2009 entitled "Teenage Wino Who Gunned Down Her Neighbor's Cat, Trouble, with a Crossbow from Her Bedroom Window Cheats Justice.")
Because cats are inclined to seek out higher ground so as to avoid being stepped on, they are quite naturally attracted to fences of all sorts. With that attraction, however, also comes a myriad of dangers.
Photos: Arncliffe Veterinary Center and the Daily Mail (Jack impaled) and Ross Parry Agency and the Daily Mail (Jack in an Elizabethan collar).