A one-year-old cat named Charlie who sustained serious injuries to his face and jaw in a suspected road traffic collision has been saved thanks to leading vet charity PDSA.
As the clocks go back and the nights get darker, PDSA Pet Insurance is sharing Charlie’s story to raise awareness of the dangers dark nights can pose to cats. The charity’s warning comes at the time of year when cats are most at risk of being involved in a car accident.
“We found Charlie on the doorstep one morning covered in blood with his jaw practically hanging off,” Charlie’s owner Conway Loveridge explained. “My eight-year-old daughter, Emily, was beside herself crying.”
Conway rushed Charlie to a local vets, who provided emergency treatment and pain relief, then transferred him to Portsmouth PDSA Pet Hospital where the team acted quickly to save his life.
PDSA Vet Nurse Shauna Walsh said: “When Charlie came into the Pet Hospital he had a fracture of his lower jaw and facial injuries. He was transferred to us from a private vets after they realised Mr Loveridge was eligible for PDSA help. The team continued with Charlie’s pain relief and started him on fluids to rehydrate and support him.
“The following day, once he was stable, the team repaired Charlie’s broken jaw under general anaesthetic, using a wire to hold the broken pieces together so they could heal.
“He recovered well, so went home the same day with pain relief, antibiotics, and instructions to have very soft food whilst his jaw was healing. He has since had his jaw wire removed and has healed really well.”
Had it not been for PDSA, Conway, who is an air conditioning and refrigerator engineer, dreads to think what would have happened to Charlie.
He said: “We were all absolutely devastated. We hadn’t had him long when this happened. It’s not until these moments that you realise he’s not just a cat, he’s a member of the family.
“His favourite thing to do is play with Emily. He sits there waiting for her to come home from school. She’s an only child and he’s helped her a great deal. Charlie’s more than a cat for her, he’s a friend and companion. They’re an inseparable pair.”
Charlie’s treatment at PDSA came to almost £850 and Conway said it caught him at the ‘worst time’.
“I’m in between work contracts at the moment,” he explained. “Everything’s going up and my income hasn’t increased. I’ve had to make sacrifices. If PDSA hadn’t been there, Charlie wouldn’t be here. We’ve donated what we can though. We even took a few cakes to the Pet Hospital, and a card that Emily made, to say thank you to the brilliant team.”
As we prepare for the dark winter nights as the clocks go back this weekend (Sunday 29 October), PDSA hopes Charlie’s story will help other pet owners.
Shauna added: “Our teams treat approximately 2,400 suspected road traffic accident related injuries every year. It can cost up to £2,000 to treat a cat and £2,800 to treat a dog, which equates to potentially over a million pounds spent on saving precious pets’ lives who’ve been injured out on the roads.
“Cats are most at risk of being involved in a car accident this time of year but thankfully there are some things you can do to reduce their risk.”
PDSA Pet Insurance advice for keeping cats safe on the road
“Some people keep their cats indoors to keep them safe from busy roads,” Shauna continued. “This might be a solution for some cats but others enjoy going outdoors and may become stressed living solely indoors, which can impact their health and welfare. However, there are things you can do to help your outdoor cat stay safer around roads:
- Neuter your cats. They’ll be much less likely to roam in search of a mate or to get into fights.
- Keep cats indoors at night and let them out during daylight hours. Try feeding your cat as it starts to get dark. They’ll soon get used to this schedule and will come back home ready for the night.
- Generally speaking, we don’t recommend cats wear collars, as they can be a hazard for your pet. If you do choose for your feline friend to wear one, make sure it’s reflective so drivers can see them in dark or poor light, and quick-release so it will open if they get caught on something.
- If you live in a busy area with lots of traffic, consider only letting your cat out into a secure garden or safe outdoor area so they can’t wander onto the road. You can use specialist fencing or large cat aviaries.
- Consider pet insurance. If the worst does happen and your cat is involved in a road traffic accident, they could be very badly injured. Pet Insurance can help to cover the cost if extensive veterinary treatment is needed so you can focus on your cat’s recovery without money worries.
- Get your cat microchipped. You’ll be more likely to be reunited with your cat if they go missing or to find out what’s happened to them if they’re in a road traffic accident. From June 2024, having your cat microchipped will be a legal requirement.
Every day across its 48 Pet Hospitals, PDSA protects the special bond between owners and their four-legged friends. The teams provide veterinary care to sick and injured pets whose owners otherwise couldn’t afford to pay the full cost of treatment. The charity has been keeping people and pets together for over a hundred years. Find out more: pdsa.org.uk/learn-why-were-special
The charity’s insurance partner, PDSA Pet Insurance, offers a range of policies to cover cats and dogs for accidents and illness, as well as providing access to a 24/7 veterinary helpline. Every policy sold raises funds for the charity’s life-saving veterinary work.
To find out more visit www.pdsa.org.uk/pdsa-petinsurance