Animals Caught by a Cat or Dog

We’re big fans of cats and dogs but it has to be said that, without them, wildlife rescues would have a far quieter life. Cat and dog attacks account for a large percentage of the casualties brought into wildlife rescues but worse are the many thousands of birds and animals who are attacked each year who never get the help they need because the pet owner assumes they are ok and releases them.


What action is needed? #

It’s all too easy to take the victim from your cat and simply release them again. But doing so may condemn them to a slow death. Cats have a lot of bacteria on their teeth and these pass into the victim’s bloodstream when they’re bitten.

Without antibiotic therapy, ideally within 4 hours, the casualty is likely to die from septicaemia. It only takes one tiny scratch, which may not be immediately visible, to cause this. So any animal which is caught by a cat should be rescued, contained and taken to a wildlife rescue for treatment.

Failing to secure appropriate treatment for a cat attack victim may be a breach of the Animal Welfare Act for which you could face prosecution.

Injuries from dog attacks are generally more obvious although, in the case of hedgehogs, it can be difficult to see them through the spines. Again it is best to assume that there are injuries and seek assistance for any animal which has been attacked by a dog.

Finding Help #

You can find details of rescues in your area by searching our directory. If you're unsure whether to intervene or you have difficulty finding a rescue who can help, we have information about sources of bespoke help. We also have articles with detailed, practical advice about capturing an animal, providing short term care, contacting a wildlife rescue, and getting the animal to them.

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Updated on May 6, 2024