It was a terrible start to a kitten’s life.

Charlie got caught in a gin trap in Flaxton. His injuries were so bad that vets had to amputate one of his hind legs.

But just when it looked like he may be on the mend, Charlie lost all feeling in his remaining back leg and was paralysed from the waist down.


Thankfully one-year-old Charlie has had a change of fortune. Thanks to the care of the team at the RSPCA York Animal Home and volunteer Claire Louise Welsh, who fostered him, he has recovered his lost movement.

And now Claire is fundraising for the team who saved his life – and you can donate here.

Extreme pain

Charlie had to drag himself about with his front legs
Charlie was found with his back leg ensnared in the spring-operated metal jaws of an illegal gin trap in July last year.

He was taken to a vets practice and they contacted RSPCA York.

Charlie was in extreme pain, dehydrated and underweight. His wounds were oozing and covered in fly eggs. He underwent emergency life saving surgery to remove his leg.

It is believed the kitten came from a semi-feral cat colony near to where he was found as he had no microchip and was not neutered. Without an owner to care for him and to pay for treatment, RSPCA York Animal Home stepped in to help.

The surgery was successful and Charlie was transferred to the animal centre but just a couple of weeks later, the staff opened up Charlie’s cat pod to find that he was completely paralysed from the waist down.

Something extra special

Claire and Charlie
An x-ray revealed that the kitten had a slipped disc and the compression on his spinal cord had caused paralysis. The vets believe Charlie could have injured his spine when he tried to get himself free from the gin trap.

RSPCA York wanted to see if his condition would improve in a home environment so their volunteer Claire took him home to care for him. She said:

  • The vet nurse brought him out to me and put him down on the floor, she cautioned me that he can be a bit nervous of new people and might hiss a bit.

    I was kneeling down on the floor on the opposite side of the room and with only the use of his front legs, he used every bit of his energy to drag himself over to me.

    He pulled himself up onto my knee and gave me the biggest face rub with his wet nose – I just knew from that moment on that there was something extra special about him.

His paralysis meant he could not use a litter tray and had to use puppy pads instead. At first he would move by dragging his body around with his front legs.

His tail twitched

However, little by little the feeling started to come back in just two of his toes and then his tail.

Claire said:

  • The day I saw the very tip of his tail twitch was the best day. I thought I was maybe just seeing what I wanted to see but then he did it again.

    I can’t explain how happy that made me. Day by day, he regained more feeling and more movement.

    We had to work hard at building up his muscles and encouraging him to use his remaining back leg as he had a lot of muscle wastage around that leg and his pelvis from lack of use.

Thankfully, the feeling in his hind leg returned and it was much easier for him to move around. His confidence around people and other animals also grew and he is now much more friendly and loves to play with Claire’s other foster cat, Luna.

Claire added: “If Charlie wants to do something he will, he doesn’t let anything get in his way. He has amazing determination and resilience. I have never met such a determined animal, he is truly inspirational.”