WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- We told you yesterday about a woman whose cat was returned to her with half its ear missing and an incision in its stomach. Today, we talked to the group responsible about why it caught a tame cat and why it could not identify the gender.
JoE. Needham is president of Friends of Felines. She admits she's the one who trapped Meribeth Pearsall's cat Roy.
"We did not mutilate or endanger that cat in any way, shape or form," Needham said. "We would not do that. That is not what we do. We would never, ever intend or will harm an animal. Period. We just don't do that."
Needham said the group, which tries to control Wilmington's feral cat population, only takes wild cats to be fixed.
Although Pearsall claims her cat is tame, Needham says Roy was completely wild. Needham understands house cats sometimes act wild when trapped, so she tried multiple times to locate an owner. Roy also runs around outside without a collar, which is against the law in New Hanover County.
Needham assumed Roy was a feral cat and took him to be fixed. Although Roy was neutered as a kitten, one of the volunteer vets could not tell.
"The back end area, sometimes that area is very difficult to tell whether or not if it is a boy or a girl," Needham said.
Needham is not a veterinarian. She said only licensed vets perform surgery on the cats they catch.
The vets do a visual inspection first. If they don't find any evidence that the cat is a male, they shave the stomach to search for a spay scar. If they still cannot determine the sex, the vets make an incision, which is what happened to Roy. Needham said she's only seen it happen one other time in more than a decade.
"It is unfortunate," she said. "It is a mistake, but the cat was taken very, very good care of. We take care of the cats just as if they were your own personal cat."
Needham says she is sorry for catching Roy in the first place and then trying to fix him again, but she said these mistakes will only make Friends of Felines better.
Needham urges all pet owners to put collars on their animals, keep them contained and spay and neuter them.
She said Friends of Felines is happy to get roy a free check-up as his owner has asked.