Cat and Dog Attacks is a charity run advice website which is part of the Starlight Trust

Waiting for dinner

We love cats and dogs very much here but it has to be said that, without them, wildlife rescues would have a far quieter life. Cat attacks alone probably account for around 80% of bird casualities brought into your average wildlife hospital. Even worse are the thousands of birds and animals who are attacked each year who never get the help they need.

It’s all too easy to take the victim from your cat and simply release it again. But you’ve probably just condemned it to a slow death. Cats have a lot of bacteria on their teeth and these pass into the victim’s bloodstream when it’s bitten. Without antibiotic therapy, ideally within 4 hours, the casualty is likely to die from septicaemia. It only takes one tiny scratch, which may not be immediately visible, to cause this. So any bird or animal which is caught by a cat should be rescued, contained and taken to a wildlife rescue for treatment.

Injuries from dog attacks are generally more obvious although, in the case of hedgehogs, it can be difficult to see them through the spines. Again it is best to assume that there are injuries and seek assistance for any animal which has been attacked by a dog.

Capture, Care and Containment

For advice about the capture, containment and care of a casualty which has been caught by a cat or dog, please see the species specific advice pages.