Family cat dies after savaging by foxes
FOXES savaged an Edinburgh family’s pet cat in their back garden and left it so badly injured it had to be put down.
The MacPhail family were horrified when they were woken by chilling cries in the middle of the night.
When they looked out into their garden, they saw their 12-year-old pet Clover being attacked by six foxes.
John MacPhail, 56, pulled on his clothes, rushed out and managed to grab the family’s pet from the foxes’ clutches.
But the tortoiseshell cat was unconscious and so badly injured it had to be put down.
The attack comes after wildlife experts warned that foxes were starving in the city and growing increasingly likely to hunt family pets.
They blamed the problem on new wheelie bins which meant the foxes could not feed off leftovers they used to plunder from black bin bags.
Mr MacPhail, who lives in Forrester Road, Corstorphine, said: "My wife woke me up at 3am after she heard screeching noises like you have never heard before so I threw my clothes on and rushed outside.
"There were six foxes in a frenzy with Clover in the middle, the noise was horrendous. I tried to chase them away by shouting and waving my hands in the air and managed to pluck her to safety.
"She was badly mauled, had one eye missing, was hyperventilating and there was blood everywhere. The foxes only sat a small distance away and then started walking towards me as I took Clover off to the car. It was quite menacing."
Mr MacPhail, who works as a civil servant, said he had seen foxes in his garden before, but was stunned by the attack.
"Clover always went out at night but stuck close to the house. I had always understood that a fox would come off the worst in a fight with a cat, but this incident shows that’s not true.
"I think the problem has been exacerbated by the change to the wheelie bin because before they could get food by tearing into plastic bin bags.
"Clover actually belonged to my 16-year-old daughter, Barbara, who was so distraught she cried and couldn’t speak about it.
"I have heard from neighbours that the foxes then tried to get my other cat after we had gone to the vets but luckily he had managed to squeeze under a car where they couldn’t reach him.
"We have phoned everyone including the council for advice on the incident, but although they were sympathetic, they said there was no policy on urban foxes."
He urged other cat owners to keep their pets indoors at night to stop them coming under attack.
Chris Ross, a vet at Braid Veterinary Hospital where Clover was treated, said the MacPhails' pet was so badly injured he had forced to put her out of her misery.
"Clover’s eye was ruptured and she was in great pain from serious injuries. I would say cats are being attacked more frequently by foxes recently. I wondered if it was because we no longer have plastic bin bags out on the streets. We almost never had cats which were injured by foxes before but now we are, so it’s on the increase."
Animal welfare workers said they were seeing growing evidence of foxes facing starvation in Edinburgh.
Sandra Bonar, the SSPCA’s manager of Middlebank Wildlife Centre in Inverkeithing, said: "We have had two emaciated urban foxes from Edinburgh brought in recently which we think is a result of the eradication of black rubbish sacks. One fox died as it was just a skeleton with fur and the other is on medication."
Georgette Shearer, Mammal Society development officer, said the foxes which attacked Clover were likely to be a family hunting together, rather than a pack.
She said: "It sounds like this was two parents with their four cubs, which would be nearly full size by now, as foxes don’t hunt in packs."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East