Sunday, January 7, 2024

University student abandons her young cat on a park bench on Christmas Eve

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a peculiar story in one way in that the owner of a one-year-old black cat named Mila, said that she loved her cat. But in a note left with Mila who was abandoned in a carrier on a park bench, the woman, who is a university student, said that she had to go back to university and could somebody take her cat and love her as she did.

Image: RSPCA

You wonder whether a person who abandons their cat like this on a park bench genuinely loved their cat. Does it make sense to you? It doesn't to me because the woman jeopardised the life of her cat. She put her cat in harm's way. She could have taken Mila to the RSPCA or to any other animal shelter. Or better than that, she could have used her best efforts to find a new owner.

But it seems to me, and I don't want to be horribly critical, she has been lazy in deciding to carry her cat to the nearest park and dump the animal on a park bench with a note begging people to look after her cat. Not great as far as I am concerned. And the RSPCA would agree with me.

Mila now rescued
Mila - rescued. Image: RSPCA

There are other questions which this story asks the reader. The woman in question says that she is returning to university. This tells us that she is already at university. It also means that she adopted a cat while she was at university knowing that she could not look after the cat when she was in a students' residence at the university. If that's correct and it looks like it is she should not have adopted the cat in the first place.

You don't adopt a companion animal of any sort unless you know with as much certainty as you can that you will have the means both in terms of time and funding to look after that animal for the remainder of their life. That's the ideal. Certainly things can intervene to upset that objective but at least you must start with that firm objective and do your best to stick to it. Yes, I'm being dogmatic perhaps and perhaps I am lecturing but I think this woman needs a bit of a lecture without, as I say, being overly critical.

She did abandon her cat which arguably is a crime in the UK. It is an act, arguably, of animal cruelty or abuse. The cat was rescued fortunately but what if the cat hadn't been rescued? What if the cat had been attacked by a dog inside her carrier? What if some idiotic person had found the cat and abused her. There are many possibilities.

Apparently the RSPCA are investigating the abandonment. That tells us that they see that it as at least potentially a crime under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Animal abandonment per se is animal cruelty. It depends on how it pans out as to whether it is an actually act of cruelty.

Lee Ricketts, an RSPCA investigating animal rescue officer said that Mila was "very likely to be found when she was. It was getting dark and it was unlikely that there would be much footfall in the park for the rest of the evening or on Christmas Day. She could have been attacked by a dog or a fox and the cold weather could have been really dangerous as well as having no food or water in the carrier. She was taken to Finsbury Park animal Hospital for a check up and is now at an RSPCA branch."

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