Horrific dog attack leaves stray cat Domino fighting for life

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A tiny kitten who suffered horrific injuries following a savage dog attack has made a remarkable recovery after being handed into Cats Protection’s Gildersome Homing Centre.

At just four months old, brave Domino was on death’s door with one leg badly broken, another severely infected and numerous puncture wounds across his body.

Diane Mulcahy, manager of the Gildersome centre, said: “When he was brought in, it was like a scene from Casualty and I didn’t think Domino would survive even a few hours.

“I have seen cats which have been attacked by dogs before but this was the most horrific case I have ever encountered. Both his back legs were limp and entirely covered with the most appalling wounds.

“We rushed him straight to our vet, who was marvellous. He saw something in Domino and said to us, ‘I don’t think this cat is ready to give up.’

“They began treatment immediately and within 24 hours Domino was already showing signs of improvement. His determination and strength of character are remarkable.

“It’s going to be a long journey but, thanks to the fantastic veterinary care he has received, Domino will make a good recovery. Poor Domino is tiny and has overcome so much in his short life.

“He’s a very special cat. Despite everything he has been through he is happy, fun-loving and charms everyone he meets. We are not sure exactly what happened to Domino. He was brought into us by a lady who said she had found him but when or where he was attacked is unclear. His wounds pointed to a sustained and savage attack by at least one dog.”

Diane said that she was grateful to Vets4Pets in Birstall, which had carried out Domino’s life-saving treatment and capped their bill at £1,000.

Domino has undergone extensive treatment, including surgery to repair his broken leg and regular dressing changes to heal the infection. Despite having a temporary metal frame on his leg while it heals, the plucky puss is able to walk and it is hoped both his legs will fully recover.

Vet Keith Leonard, who carried out Domino’s treatment, said: “When I first saw Domino I honestly felt we would have no choice but to put him to sleep. Both his back legs were so badly infected and broken that it seemed unlikely we could save them.

“But he reminded me of my own cat who had been found in a black bag with a badly broken leg and I knew I had to try and help - especially as Domino didn’t seem ready to give up.

“After just 24 hours treatment he seemed much brighter but we still had a long way to go. I thought was a good chance the infected leg would need to be amputated but I was conscious the other leg was so badly broken we may not have been able to repair it.

“At best I hoped we could at least save one leg, as cats can get by on three legs. But with both now healing nicely the future looks even better.

“Domino is a little star, he’s very lovable and cheeky and so much fun to have around. He’s a clever little thing and has worked out how to open the door on his pen. He’s a true fighter, and we’re so fond of him.”

Cats Protection’s Advocacy Manager Jacqui Cuff said Domino’s case highlights why new laws surrounding dog attacks on cats are needed.

The charity launched its Manifesto for Cats earlier this year which called for a string of measures to improve the lives of cats in the UK, including creating a new offence within legislation governing dangerous dogs where a dog that is out of control attacks, injures or kills a cat.

She said: “Most dog owners are responsible but in cases where dogs are not controlled the consequences can be very serious if a dog or dogs attacks a cat.

“It’s commonly thought that cats can look after themselves but, from monitoring press reports of dog attacks on cats, we know that around 10 cats a month are reported as having been victim of a dog attack and that 80 per cent of dog attacks on cats are reported as having been fatal. Forty three per cent of dog attacks on cats are on private property.

“Cats Protection has asked in its Manifesto for Cats for the law on dangerous dogs to be amended and include dog attacks on animals such as cats. Recently the Government extended the law to include attacks on assistance dogs as well as on people but did not go further. The problem is under current laws successful prosecutions where dogs attack cats are rare.

“Perhaps even more important is preventing such dog attacks happening in the first place. We are very supportive and were involved in the development by Government of new anti-social behaviour measures which mean notices can be issued requiring dog owners to take steps such as attending dog training, keeping a dog on a lead or requiring it to be basket muzzled in some circumstances. We are waiting to see if the police and local authorities use these measures to the full.”