'Look before you lock', charity warns after cat is trapped for five days

Cat hiding

Cats Protection is urging people to check for cats before they lock their sheds and garages, after a cat in Sussex was locked in a neighbour’s shed for five days.

“It was sunny and Mia had spent the day in the garden,” explained the cat’s owner, Karim Khassal from Crawley. “She doesn’t wander so it was out of character when she didn’t come home in the evening.”

Mia’s worried family posted alerts on local social media groups, stuck appeals on lampposts, notified the microchip company and went door-to-door with leaflets asking people to check their garages and sheds.

Cat in room

As Mia has only half a tail and is very friendly, the family hoped her distinctive look would make her memorable to anyone who spotted her. But despite their best efforts, the little black cat was still not home after five nights away.

Then, early one morning, Mia’s pitiful cries were heard coming from a neighbour’s shed and the race to rescue her began.

“I hate to think that she was locked in all that time,” Karim said. “She must have been so scared and was clearly very hungry and thirsty when she came home. She doesn’t normally drink water but immediately lapped up a whole bowl. We took her to be checked by our vet and thankfully she was given the all clear and is just happy to be home with her buddy Milo.

“I hope people take note and remember to look before they lock. We were lucky. It could have ended much worse. I wouldn’t want another family or another cat to go through this.”

When people open up their sheds in the spring and summer to do some gardening or to take out garden furniture it can prove a great temptation for curious cats.

“Cats are notoriously curious creatures that like to investigate their surroundings,” said Nicky Trevorrow, Cats Protection’s behaviour manager. “They also tend to wander further when the weather gets warmer and an open shed or garage can be too inviting to pass by.

“The risk is that they go unnoticed and when the door is closed they become trapped, often for many days without food or water and possibly surrounded by garage or garden products that can be toxic to cats.

“We’re encouraging people to have a final check of their sheds and outbuildings before locking them. Whether storing away garden furniture or stashing bikes or tools, take that last look. Rattle things around in case a cat is hiding. Something so simple could save a cat’s life.”

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