Conibear Trap McBride BC cat newspaper
Example of a Conibear Trap used on traplines.

Sako, an orange three-year-old cat, is lucky to be alive after getting caught in a device usually used on a trapline.

Jennifer Quam learned her cat was in trouble when a neighbour phoned and asked her if her cat was missing. The Village had phoned the neighbour thinking it might be hers.

The Village Public Works supervisor discovered the cat in the field behind the subdivision in McBride after somebody walking the trail saw the cat and phoned in. Public Works went to the scene and released the cat, which promptly ran away. The family found him in a culvert at the other end of the field.

“His head was about four times the size that it should have been, it was really swollen, and his one leg was really mangled,” Quam says. “When I first found him I thought ‘We’ll get him put down.'”

The public works supervisor said the cat looked better than when he had seen him in the trap, so they took him to a veterinarian and decided to see if his condition improved.

The Conibear trap is designed to kill the animal, not just trap it. It works by snapping shut and applying around 90 pounds of pressure to the animal caught in its jaws.

“I don’t know how our cat survived,” Quam says.

What horrifies her the most is what the trap could have done to a child.

“There are so many children in our neighbourhood and my youngest son is the type of kid who out of curiosity would say ‘What’s that?’ and put his hand or foot on it.”

“It’s a very dangerous and stupid thing to do in a residential area.”

She doesn’t know why someone would have set up the trap, whether they are upset with the deer population or local cats and dogs. She says if someone does have a problem with the cats in the neighbourhood, it would be much more humane to speak to the owner or to shoot the animal directly, rather than set a trap that could injure something else unintentionally. When they were looking for the cat there was a child on a dirt bike in the same field. That child might have stepped off their dirt bike and put a foot in the trap by accident.

The other part of the incident was the impact on Quam’s two sons who love their pet.

“It really, really upset our kids to see their cat like that. It’s unnecessary for kids to think their cat is going to die in that horrible traumatic way.”

The veterinarian suggested publicizing the event as much as possible to get the message out to whoever it was that set the trap that this should never happen again.

The McBride RCMP could not be reached by presstime.