Cat back up and pouncing after likely run-in with illegal snare trap

OLYMPIA - The young cat wasn't doing well when he arrived at South Bay Veterinary Hospital.

His tail was dangling by a thin piece of skin. A bloody stump was all that was left of his right hind paw.

"His foot was pretty much gone," said veterinarian Ronald Molitor, who operated on the black-and-white kitten. "It was traumatized beyond belief."

The veterinary hospital thinks the cat was a victim of a snare trap.

The traps are illegal in Washington state since passage of Initiative 713 in November 2000. Use of body-gripping or snare traps to catch animals is a gross misdemeanor.

While hospital staff attended to the cat immediately, they were unable to save his tail. And with his paw gone, they also amputated a portion of his right hind leg, said Jo MacGugan director of Feline Friends, a nonprofit cat and kitten rescue group.

"We did not see the trap, but it's obvious what this looks like, in both my opinion and the doctor's," she said. "The traps are usually illegally used to trap wildlife. ... I have had one other incident where a cat was caught with both front feet and a hind foot in a snare trap. It was unable to walk."

The latest victim is resilient and has bounced back since he was brought to the clinic July 10.

"He's doing great," the veterinarian said. "We let him out in the clinic when it's slow, and he moves around. He's eating great and trying to jump on stuff. He's being very playful and affectionate."

A Thurston County woman found the ailing cat on her porch. She called Feline Friends, which told her to take the cat to the hospital, MacGugan said.

The volunteer group decided to name the injured kitty Marvin Nelson, for the road he was found on - Marvin Road in the Hawks Prairie area - and the last name of the woman who found him.

"It helps us to recall the specific event," MacGugan said.

With his improved health, Marvin will remain at the hospital for another week. Afterward, MacGugan will take him home to nurse. He will be available for adoption at Feline Friends soon after that.

MacGugan is confident Marvin has no owner, given how thin he was.

"He's a stray as far as we know," she said. "He wasn't micro­chipped."