A JOINER was left stunned when his £500 pedigree cat was divebombed by a huge owl.
Mike Cafferty’s Bengal Leopard Cat — called Chester — tumbled from the roof of a shed following the frightening attack in his garden on Sunday night.
The owl and the pussycat — cosy bedfellows in children’s poetry — became embroiled in a fight in Hallbridge Gardens, off Crompton Way, at about 8pm on August 31.
Mr Cafferty said the owl - thought to be a barn owl - had started making loud noises before launching the attack, and he believes it would have carried Chester away had the seven-pound, four-year-old feline not been too heavy.
Nature expert Russ Hedley, who writes in our Weekend section, said the “unusual” attack could be down to the onset of the mating season.
Mr Cafferty, aged 48, said: “It just dived at Chester with its claws and the cat jumped up.
"He managed to jump off the shed but I’m sure if the owl had had his way it would have carried him away. I was frightened to death.
“Thankfully he is ok although he was a bit shocked by it all.”
Chester, who resembles a mini-leopard, has lived with Mr Cafferty since he was 10 months old and is kept in the garden and taken on walks on a lead because of his value.
Mr Hedley said: “Owls normally prey on smaller mammals, such as mice, so this is very unusual.
“At the moment the males are setting up territory for the breeding season so it is possible that he felt threatened and was over eager to protect his territory.
“It could also have been a very young owl as they’re behaviour can be less predictable. But this is still unusual but perhaps, as owls are nocturnal, we do not hear of many instances such as these.”
Mr Cafferty’s wife Rosemary, who used to work for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds believes the attacker was a barn owl.
Her husband said he has not heard of any neighbours being bothered by owls but said he was still concerned as their presence in bushes at the bottom of his garden is audible at night.
Mr Cafferty added: “I’m just concerned it might go for a baby in a pram or a toddler running round next.”