A cat who accidentally got trapped inside a house as it was being boarded up has been rescued by the RSPCA and firefighters and reunited with his owner.
TJ, the five year old tabby and white cat, was spotted by a neighbour in an upstairs window at an abandoned property in Brook Street in Bishop Auckland.
The RSPCA was called to rescue the cat on July 12 as the house had been boarded-up for about a week.
Inspector Gemma Lynch attended and fed the trapped tabby with pouches of cat food through the letterbox before she could gain access to the house.
She said: “The house has been vacant for several years according to the neighbours. There was a smashed window at the back where TJ crawled inside and then it must have been boarded-up whilst he was still inside the house so he was stuck!
“It’s lucky that a neighbour spotted him at the window and called us.
“I couldn’t gain access to the house right away and we didn’t know who the owner of the property was. Firefighters lent a hand and unbolted the boarded-up window and I had to coax poor TJ out but he was very scared.
“Thankfully his owner only lived round the corner so when he was told by a neighbour that there was a cat being rescued down the street he soon realised it was his missing cat. He was delighted to be reunited with TJ, as was his other cat. They had both really missed him.”
Inspector Lynch said TJ’s owner will now get the intrepid moggy microchipped in case something like this happens again.
On average the RSPCA receives a call to its National Control Centre about a cat every three minutes and receives more calls about cats than any other animal.
New figures reveal that from January until July this year the RSPCA has been called to rescue 3,478 trapped cats from a variety of situations including stuck up trees, down drains and many other tight spots.
Alice Potter, the RSPCA’s cat welfare expert, said: “Unfortunately we can't always be there to supervise our cats when they are out and about to make sure they are safe but there are some steps we can take.
“Make sure your cat is microchipped and registered with your current contact details. Remember if you've moved home or changed your phone number you will need to update your details.
“Microchipping your cat is the most reliable way to identify them and gives you the best chance of being reunited if they become lost. If you decide to put a collar and ID tag on your cat it's important to ensure the collar is correctly fitted and is a quick release type collar with a snap-safe buckle - other collars can get caught and cause nasty injuries.
“It can be helpful to have a consistent routine with your cat and to feed them their meals around the same time each day. This way your cat will know when to come home for food and this can give you a chance to check in with them and make sure they are okay. It also means you will know if they haven’t made an appearance at meal time.”
If you see a cat in distress or in need of rescue contact the RSPCA 24-hour helpline on 0300 1234 999.