Concerns have been raised that someone in Qualicum Beach, B.C., might be abusing cats, after two of the creatures were recently found with wires bound around their stomachs.

In the latest incident a woman who had been feeding a stray cat noticed it had something around its waist.

"We got a phone call from some feeding a feral cat that showed up with something wrapped around itself, said Barb Ashmead, the president of Qualicum Cat Rescue.

They send out a volunteer last week to trap the animal, who then took it to the Lighthouse Veterinary Hospital for treatment.

Macaroni the cat

Marconi, rests during treatment. (CBC)

Three procedures

"The vet took a look at it and realized the wire was very tight and the skin had grown across the wire." said Ashmead.

The wire was so tight the cat needed two separate procedures, first to remove it and then the next day to do reconstructive surgery to stitch up the resulting wound.

"The wire had actually grown in and caused a wound about 340 degrees around the kitty," said Melissa Bulmer, a veterinary technician at the hospital.

"There was just one small area that wasn't affected on top of his back."

The following day the male cat was anaesthetized so the vet could stitch his skin back together. A third operation was later required to replace some torn stitches.


The cats skin had grown around the wire because it was so tight. (Qualicum Cat Rescue)

No accident

Those involved in the treatment say they don't think it was an accident.

"We originally thought it was a snare. It wasn't a snare. It had been deliberately put on and twisted on," said Ashmead.

"A snare, when you take it off will release itself. This was twisted on and folded back into it. There was no loop. The one that was taken off the cat in October was the same thing, same pattern.

After the group posted the story on its Facebook page, a second Qualicum Beach vet from the Mid-Isle Veterinary Hospital called to say the animal hospital had treated a similar case in October.

That prompted Ashmead to call police. Cpl. Jesse Foreman says investigators are looking to hear from anyone who may have information.

Ashmead says in cases like these, mental illness is often behind the behaviour.

"It is possible that there is someone who is mentally ill who feels the need to harm animals, and this is what may be occurring. One cat is one thing, but when you hear about two cats it starts to become a pattern.

Cat wire

The wire removed from the cat was looped back on itself in a knot, indicating it was not a snare, according to the rescuers. (Qualicum Cat Rescue)

Still recovering

The cat, which was named Marconi, is still recovering at the vet clinic.

Bulmer says he has bounced back and is now eager for attention.

"He came out of his shell after being here for two days and he is a very nice cat.... He loves to cuddle if you open his cage, he launches out onto your shoulder and sits there and purrs away.

She suspects when he is fully recovered Qualicum Cat Rescue will have no problem finding a home for Marconi.


Maconi is recovering at the Lighthouse Veterinary Hospital. (Qualicum Cat Rescue)