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ONLY ON 3: House cat confused for stray sent home with clipped ear, stomach incision

READ MORE: House cat confused for stray sent home with clipped ear and stomach incision

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington woman says her cat has been near-mutilated by a local group who tries to control the feral cat population.

Meribeth Pearsall's cat Roy came wandering home Tuesday like always, but he was missing half of his ear and had an incision in his stomach.

"They work with cats every day. This is their mission. This is their goal, yet they're collecting tame cats. This is a house cat, he's indoor and outdoor, but this is a pet,” cat owner Meribeth Pearsall said. “They collected him. They tried to fix him as a female. They can't tell the difference between a male and a female cat? I'm astounded by that."

Pearsall says Friends of Felines is to blame for her cat Roy’s current state. Friends of Felines is a group of volunteers dedicated to controlling Wilmington’s feral cat population. Pearsall says she's seen the group catching cats in her neighborhood for the past couple weeks and their website says they "tip" the cat's ear once it's fixed. Pearsall said she was livid when she found out her one-and-a-half-year-old male cat, which was neutered as a kitten, had been cut into as if he was a she.

"They catch wild cats. They catch cats that you can't approach that are the hissing, spitting, hairs on their hackles is raised,” Pearsall said. “That's not this cat."

Pearsall admits Roy does not wear a collar, although it is required by New Hanover County. She claims Roy is obviously tame and taken care of. When the group told her they only deal with wild cats, she was confused as to why Roy was caught at all.

"I do not have a problem with what they do. That's a good cause,” Pearsall said. “I think they need to be more careful with it."

Pearsall said she wants to make sure no other house cats end up like Roy, and she wants Friends of Felines to pay for a check-up to make sure her beloved pet is ok. Pearsall said Roy is in pain and having a hard time moving around.

We tried contacting Friends of Felines multiple times to hear their side of the story but have yet to hear a response.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


yall shut up people i love

yall shut up people i love this cat he is well taken care of

Listen up everyone

This is my little kitty and i love him with all my heart! My dad is allergic and the cat has to stay outside. He is curious little guy and loves to Rome around for adventure. And we take very good care of him!
Thank you very much!!!

House Cat Ear Mutiliated by Vet during Spay Only

My female cat has an appointment with the vet yesterday to be spayed. She was adopted from a shelter and already micro chipped and up to date on vaccines. She also already had a healed tear in her right ear yet also arrived with such a sever care of ear mites she suffered a vestibular stroke, toppled over, couldn't balance and this lasted 3-4 weeks. The same vet who diagnosed her with vestibular disease, the nerve in her ear, which is the same damaged ear, was scheduled for the spay.

It turns out my cat had already been spayed but the shelter made a mistake or never checked her. HOWEVER, my vet confused my beautiful sweet cat with a feral belonging to someone else and she tattooed a huge ROUND neon green tattoo on my cats BAD ear!! When Questioned why she performed an unnecessary and unauthorized procedures that may have harmed by beautiful cat, she lied to my face making excises for her error. My cat is now PERMANENTLY marred. She was to be a cat model and now she can never due to the horrific tattoo that destroyed her beauty and may have harmed her health!! I'm so angry. What would you do? Would you sue the vet?

You should definitely sue.

You should definitely sue. There is no excuse for the vets error, she should be a trained professional. Now your cat is scarred for life. If you really love your cat you would do anything to make the vet pay for their mistake. This is unjustifiably and it makes me angry!!!

I agree with the owner in

I agree with the owner in that FOF made a really pitiful mistake. If it had been a tiny kitten, gender is harder to check, yes. But an older cat should be obvious even after his testicles have been removed. Be more careful and pay for a check up. Given the state of their goof, she is perfectly reasonable.

Beyond that, I do think that Roy's owner should hold the responsibility. A friend of mine once caught two stray cats out of a colony of ferals. One was very friendly, the other was not (although she's perfectly wonderful now that years have passed). Friendliness does not equal owned.

There are safe ways of letting a cat out yet keeping them in YOUR yard. There are different types of safety collars that you can give your cat. One of mine has one that stretches considerably when hung, but lays tight on the neck, otherwise. It doesn't have to break away, and the cat will always be able to get out if she pleases. It also rests snugly enough when she scratches and plays that she does not wriggle out of it. This might be Roy's ticket.

I think it's ridiculous that people only blame the FOF or claim that it's unreasonable to request that people keep their cats in their own yard. Use a little creativity!! Chicken wire is cheap, all weather netting is cheap. You could section off a good 500 sq foot of yard for around a hundred bucks. Do this near a window and attach a cat door to an old AC shell, and you have an excellent adventureland for your cat without breaking the bank. No need to keep your cat running around your neighbors' property.

The issuse of the vet

Obviously not checking the sex of the cat before preceding is disturbing, and as a former vet tech, that's not a mistake I can understand.

I don't know the exact animal law at this exact location in the story, but pretty much everywhere the law is that an animal must be under control and on the owner's property. If the animal wanders off the property, all bets are off. I cannot understand people who just let them out to roam. And it's the people who are letting their cats roam that seem to be supporting what this lady did. If you have an animal, you are responsible for having that animal under control at all times. You have no more right to let a cat roam than you do to let a large dog. I just don't get people who feel it's okay to shirk this responsibility. Maybe one of you who do this can help me understand? Because as I see it, if the cat is off your property, loose, it is out of your control, and that means you're being irresponsible. Period.

Cats (and dogs) that act crazy to go outdoors are usually still intact. Their first priority in life is to to get out and mate. That's more important than food, or comfort, or you. When those instincts kick in, that's all that's in their heads. And females will keep cycling through until they get pregnant, putting them at high risk for pyometria. Get non-breeding cats spayed/neutered. It will make life easier for both of you.

All cats can spray. Spaying/neutering does not change that. My vet had three cats, two male, one female, and all had been "fixed" early. But when we had an upset cat come into the vet that left it's mark that day, that night the males would go around the office spraying everything, and after a while the female would join in, too. It's ne of the worst smells there is (parvo was the worst ever), and hard to get all cleaned up because you have to find it all to clean it all.

I have a cat because someone was irresponsible, and this cat ended up stuck up on a post on my fence. She was skinny, hungry and scared, but very friendly, and obviously not a stray. We posted everywhere, but no one claimed her, or put up any flyers or anything. She likes to hang around the door, and she'd like to go out, so I can see how she ended up out there. She now has a breakaway collar. All the excuses people have made against collars are ridiculous, but I guess it's easier to justify to yourself if you let your cats roam in the first place. A collar isn't safe, but letting them roam is okay?

Pearsall's cat is illegal

Hey, has anyone taken the time to make sure Pearsalls cat is legal? Was Roy up to date on his rabies shot? Was Roy registered with the county? Check it out wway, I think Pearsall is a negligent owner...


My mom is a good owner and btw that is my cat, she does not neglect him we take very good care of him and love him. He is registered and has his rabies shot i think. Im not sure im just 12

I think you work for the County

and need another $10.00. Thanks for all the help here.

Ya sure?

A negligent owner wouldn't have their cat neutered.

Who is the incompetent veterinarian that did this?

I can imagine a volunteer confusing a scared cat in a trap with a feral cat. BUT WHAT KIND OF INCOMPETENT VETERINARIAN CANNOT TELL A NEUTERED MALE FROM A FEMALE?

Since they apparently did an incision and exploratory surgery looking for a uterus, the vet and his/her staff had to have put the cat under anesthesia, which gave them a chance for a good and thorough examination to determine his gender. If he/she did not bother to do this, they should be reported to the state board that regulates veterinians, as this is matter of basic competence.

It makes me wonder if the Friends of Felines are using a veterinarian at all, or whether they have non-professional volunteers are doing spaying.

This is the most upsetting part of the story to me - the possibility that there's a vet out there who cannot determine the gender of a cat by doing a careful visual examination.

I took my cat to a vet and

I took my cat to a vet and they had gotten his gender wrong. They weee literally the most incompetent people i had ever seen.

If you had your animal on

If you had your animal on your property or on a leash than this wouldn't have happened to your poor little cat! YOU should be a shamed of your self for being such a bad owner. I hope you learned a lesson. To bad the Social Services couldn't come to your door & take your cat from you since your such a bad Amimal owner== that's abuse on your part YOU let this happen to your Animal!!!

Dont be ignorant!

We are good owners and we have to keep him outside because my dad is allergic, cats dont belong on leashes dogs do thank you very much. I did not let this happen to my cat because i love him very much! You are being ignorant saying nothing you know about

Friends of Felines is

Friends of Felines is HELPING the county. All volunteers. The cat was wandering, with no collar, and hungry. I live in an apartment complex with SEVERAL cats wandering in and out of the woods. I have absolutely no idea if they're feral or tame, they're all well fed and friendly. Yet, they are ALWAYS outdoors. I applaud Friends of Felines. If everyone is so concerned about their 7 (WHY SO MANY????) cats, volunteer to help them out! People freak out about friendly dogs being off a leash for 30 seconds, then put your cat on a leash or keep them indoors. Face it, if your cat is outdoors, he/she is bound to get more than a little tip of their ear taken off. They risk being attacked by other feral cats and more dangerous animals. Be a responsible pet owner and instead of complaining-DO SOMETHING. If you have the time to do a newscast and complain, offer to help so this doesn't happen again.


Despite their excellent intentions, Friends of Felines volunteers AND the veterinarian they use are unable to tell the difference between a neutered male, and a female. Had they been minimally competent and paying attention, they wouldn't have performed clearly unnecessary surgery on this neutered male. Which, you should note, was a waste of their resources. Your demand that the owner DO SOMETHING? She did: she neutered her cat. Nor did I notice any mention in the article of the owner complaining about friendly dogs being off-leash--at all, much less for thirty seconds. As for the cats in your neighborhood that you "have no idea whether they're feral or tame" even thought "they're all well fed and friendly," here's a clue: Feral cats are extremely wary of humans, and NOT friendly.


I don't care whether the cats are fixed or not, but I am tired of cats walking accross the hood and top of my car. When a dog comes in contact with a rabid animal if the dog has had his rabies shot he then has to have a booster shot. How many rabid animals do these loose cats come in contact with and never have a booster shot? That is if they have ever had a rabies shot to begin with. If they are loose they should be picked up and dealt with.

Cat on car issue

Hi there,

Not sure if you realize that feral cats are part of nature. Birds walk all over your car and actually poop on it. Cats don't poop on cars. Raccoons and other animals walk on your car too. Pollen falls on your car and pebbbles hit your car while driving. Cats are one of the most careful animals on the planet.

You're making a horrible asumption that a feral cat is equal to a rabid cat.. Do your homework so you can offer an intelligent explanation for your concerns, which are not valid. It simply sounds like you don't like cats. Manged feral colony cats are often healthier and happier than many house cats that are left uncared for . THe shelters are full of OWNER surrender because they fail to care for their cats. Again, research before you post.

Where to begin!!! If it

Where to begin!!!

If it wasn't for people like FOF with their trap, Spay/Neuter and release program where would we be today with the cat population?
This organization soley exists by people who care about these animals, why else would they spend their nights and weekends helping these cats and "our community" to make a difference.

They take care of colony's all around this county, feeding them, getting them to the vets, at their own cost not asking anything from anyone. These colony's exist because of us "the materialistic all about me, human being" we should be thanking these individuals for being as dedicated to this cause as they have for so many years and making a difference.

So why wouldn't you put a collar on your cat? oh!!! it's dangerous you say, excuses, excuses, when was the last time you went to the pet store?? You cannot buy anything but safety collars, my cats wear them and they work, I may loose a collar but never a cat and because I care I go and buy another replacement collar, thats what you do if you cared enough.

Meribeth, you want to find fault, look in the mirror and take ownership of your own neglect. If you were so concerned about Roy why on earth haven't you already had him to the vet???? What are you waiting for?

Friends of Felines I applaud you for all you do, and thank you for taking the time to make a difference for the cats. Also ensuring they get the shots, protecting them, us and our personnal pets. These cats have no homes and life would be much more difficult for them with out you, I know many of us feel this way, so again a huge THANK YOU!!

OK, mixing up the gender was

OK, mixing up the gender was not a good thing; however, let's not throw out the kitty with the bathwater. FOF is a group of volunteers, normal citizens who use their own time and money, in an atempt to control the cat population. They spay/neuter hundreds of cats and thus prevent hundreds of animals from a life of suffering and/or death.
The feral life is usually very short and not one of comfort and ease. During their approximate 2 year lifetime, they have no medical care, sparse food supply, cold cold winters, & forget about love. All the comforts your house kitty may have, they will never have.
Perhaps more quality control in FOF is called for (too few volunteers to do a big job). But if this organization did not exist, there would be many many more unfortunate kitties in the wild.
If you'd like to make it better, give them a call - they could use the help.

First, let me say, Roy does

First, let me say, Roy does not just "roam" my neighborhood. He is inside as much as he is out. As a cat, he does like to go out and explore. He is fed daily and well taken care of. As far as wondering into the trap, he is a cat and curious by nature. That does not mean that he was starving. He is up to date on all of his rabies and vaccinations. He does have tags but I do not make him wear them. I have had several break-away collars on him but he has gotten out of and lost every one of them. There is no need to trash me for letting my cat go outside. That is what he likes to do. He is not content staying indoors. He was neutered as a kitten so he does not spray peoples properties.
I am not trying to get rich by making this public people. I want the organization to be more responsible and careful with what they are doing. This is my pet! He is now missing half of his ear and was cut open unnecessarily. Not to mention, that he was surgically operated on as a female cat. If the vet that performed the surgery can not tell the difference between the sex of the cats they work on, they do not need to be working on them!

cats with collars

I agree with you Meribeth! My cats are indoor/outdoor, they stay in the yard, know their territory. I tried the cat collars years ago, the breakaways always get hung up on something and break...that's what they're supposed to do. A regular collar could possibly hang a cat. And if the tags are on the collar and it gets lost, then what do you do? You have to buy more! I take excellent care of my animals, and if this happened to me, I'd be PO'd too. Mine have been spayed, a good vet can tell if it's been done!

cats and collars

MICROCHIPS PEOPLE!!!! Jeese if people fix their cats and send them outside not beliving in collars they should have microchiped that animal. It can be done by the vet while the nueter or spay is being done. The stupidity of people amaze me.

Yes, a cat is curious by

Yes, a cat is curious by nature. They will go into traps, and not because they are not well taken care of. You obviously care for your pet and that is aplauded. The situation that has happened was not intentional, it was a mistake. As a pet owner, you are responsible for your pet. If your cat was out and (God forbid) hit by a car, the driver of the car is not responsible, you are.
Cats Spray, period. Fixed or not male cats will spray. You say he doesnt but I say he will. Especially if there are FERAL cats around spraying also. It's a fact.
Nobody wants to see your pet harmed, especially a group dedicated to preserving the lives of cats. A mistake happened. It is your own fault for allowing your pet to roam free. The group may need to be more diligent in its practices but you may need to keep in mind that they probably have to beg and plead to get licensed vets to DONATE time and money for their cause. Mistakes will happen.
I am sorry that your pet had to go through this and maybe both parties have learned something positve.


Why do you break animal control laws and allow your cat to go out and explore?

Same reason

you exceed the posted speed limit. The laws are for actual idiots that literally don't know how fast to drive or how to take care of an animal. I didn't vote for that law or the people that did. There is a law against everything anymore. Idiots voted all our rights away. I just do what I want, the way God meant it.

FOF Volunteers' Comment

As a long time member of Friends of Felines and the editor of our quarterly newsletter, please let me extend my personal apologies for the mistakes made regarding your cat, Roy. We are a very small all volunteer group who have tried to make a difference in the lives of the thousands of abandoned unaltered cats and kittens in New Hanover County for over 15 years. We are human. We will make mistakes. We try very hard not to have this sort of thing occur but when we are setting traps in an area at the request and with the written persmission of the human who owns the property sometimes pet cats get trapped. If the volunteer is unable to determine if the cat is tame and altered then it may get taken in to one of our wonderful supportive vets. We often cannot tell if the cat is male or female in advance. The cat is sedated in the trap to save it and the vets from harm, vaccinated and altered then released to the care of a caregiver. We do not mutilate cats...we love them. And the sad part is, we often find abandoned pet cats in our feral colonies. I myself rescued two tame adorabel kittens dumped behind a business just recently. They too were obviously pets at one time. Again, I am sorry for your anguish and wish you and your kitty well. Please understand it was an honest mistkae made while trying to help the forgotten ones.

Feral Males

It makes me wonder how many feral males have been spayed and females neutered?

Tame Cat mutilated

Appears your Animal Rights freaks are the worst enemy to your domesticated animals, eh?????


No, an animals worst enemy are the owners that feel it is perfectly fine to let their animals roam on other people's property. Then they want to cry when something happens to them and it is always someone else's fault.