Police rescued pregnant cats

Worried RSPCA staff tried to feed hungry cats through the letterbox of an Ilkeston house after they were abandoned for more than a week, a court heard.

But the two pregnant tabbies were unable to get to the front door of Deborah Harrison’s terraced house in Union Road, forcing the RSPCA to have police break in and rescue them.

“The cats were then fed and ate food ravenously,” said John Sutcliffe, prosecuting.

He outlined the case when Harrison, 34, failed to attend Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court in Derby last Tuesday.

She had been accused of causing unnecessary suffering to the animals between April 21 and May 3 as well as failing to provide adequate food, water and toilet facilities for them.

District judge Caroline Goulborn found her guilty of both charges and issued a warrant without bail for Harrison’s arrest.

Mr Sutcliffe said blood tests suggested the possible onset of liver and kidney problems. He told the judge: “These early signs can be brought about by the absence of food and water.

“Both cats were left in dirty conditions.”

One cat was around 13 per cent underweight and the other eight per cent lighter than a vet thought it should have been.

RSPCA staff checked a pile of letters inside the front door. The earliest was dated April 18.

When questioned, Harrison said she had to go ‘to the north-east of England in relation to some family problems’.

She said she had left on April 28 and returned home on May 3 and claimed she had asked a friend ‘who lives five minutes away’ to look after the cats while she was away.

“Effectively she put the blame on her friend,” said Mr Sutcliffe.

When traced, this woman said she had known Harrison’s daughter for about two years. She received a text from Harrison’s daughter on May 3, ‘saying her name had been put forward for something’.

Two days later, she received another text saying the cats had been removed by the RSPCA, who had been told they were left in the woman’s care, added Mr Sutcliffe.

After the hearing, RSPCA inspector Graeme Petty said the cats were pregnant and about nine-months-old. They have been found new homes.