Claws out over 'aggressive' cat
Published 17/06/2015 | 12:31
Residents in an upmarket suburb have gone to war over a "very aggressive" cat.
Posters have been put up in the Clifton area of Bristol showing a cat trapped in a cage as a warning to his owners over his supposed aggression.
Now the owner of Murray, a two-year-old black and white cat, has hit back by putting up his own posters in the York Place area of the affluent district responding to the claims.
Murray's owner spotted the posters after taking him to the vet when his pet returned home timid and upset and was off his food.
The posters describe the rescue cat as "aggressive", and carry four images of Murray in a cage looking distressed. It also features an image promoting the neutering of kittens.
The poster said: "If this is your cat please do the right thing and have him neutered. If anyone else has a cat that's been injured by this very aggressive cat please keep your vet bills."
The culprit said no harm came to Murray but they will continue to set traps for him to deter him from entering their garden.
Murray's owner, who only wishes to be known as Antonio, said: "Murray had become terrified of people. Normally when we come home he runs up to us and meows a lot and he wants to be fed.
"So we thought he was ill. He had completely gone off his food and he was hiding from us and he was acting very odd.
"Somebody put up posters all around our area with photos of our cat being caged saying we should do the right thing and get him neutered.
"The text described Murray as a very aggressive cat and should be neutered and warning people to stay away from him.
"The four photos of Murray are all very distressing of him being caged.
"Nobody has come forward to say they were responsible for trapping Murray, which is what is so infuriating.
"They put up their poster but did not leave any contact details, so I put up mine with my contact details and they have not got in touch.
"I would like to know what is going on and educate them on better ways to stop an animal going on to your property.
"There's a real sense of unknowing."
He said he and his fiancee were upset by the whole saga and were worried that Murray may be trapped again in the future.
Antonio said the RSPCA had advised him to put up his own posters in an effort to try and resolve the dispute amicably.
"The RSPCA said that what this person is doing was illegal and although there was photographic evidence, they don't know who it is," he said.
"A couple of neighbours have got in contact to show their concern and people in the local community are a bit worried because if their cat goes missing, is it potentially being caged?
"Nobody knows why he is caging cats and there is an open threat to continue catching this cat in a cat trap to deter him.
"The local community is a little unnerved because the trap would be designed to catch a cat - not necessarily one specific cat.
"My neighbours have been very supportive and we have received cards saying how upsetting it is.
"Now Murray has become a bit of a phenomenon in the area, we have had random members of the public stop and say hello when they see him."
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "We have received a call from a cat owner in Clifton who is concerned about the welfare of their cat after seeing anonymous posters put up locally of their cat caught in a trap on somebody else's property."
The spokeswoman said the charity had also received a separate report claiming that letters were being put through doors in the area making threats against cats going in the letter writer's garden.
"The RSPCA and the police take threats aimed at animals very seriously," the spokeswoman said.
"We would strongly urge the person making these threats to consider the fact that they may be committing an offence and if they do cause unnecessary suffering to someone's pet they can face a fine of up to £20,000 or up to six months in prison."