A CAT may have to have its leg amputated after it was caught in an illegal gin trap.

The black cat was discovered hanging from a fence in Atherton, where it had become stuck while trying to escape from the metal jaws of the trap.

The device, which looks like a miniature bear trap, had sprung shut on the cat’s left front leg.

RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes told The Bolton News that the cat is still being treated at Salford RSPCA Animal Hospital after being found at 6.30am on December 21.

It is thought the cat had struggled to free itself, dragging the trap with it, then tried to jump a fence — but the trap had become caught, leaving the cat suspended from the fence in Devonshire Road, Hag Fold.

Insp Joynes said: “The person who found the cat said it had a badly injured paw.

“A nurse from Atherton Veterinary Centre removed the trap and administered emergency pain relief.

“Unfortunately it may now need its leg amputating.

“Nobody has yet come forward to claim the cat, a black female, approximately six years old, known as Sherry.

“Gin traps were banned in the 1950s due to their cruel, indiscriminate nature, as any animal being caught in one of these traps would suffer horrifically.

“Anybody setting these traps must realise that it is a serious criminal offence and that if caught we will do everything in our power to ensure that they are prosecuted.

“Somebody is probably wondering where their cat is after she didn’t return home, all because of someone’s cruel, irresponsible actions.

“I would be keen to speak to anybody from the area who may know the person responsible for this or anybody else who knows someone who sets this sort of illegal trap.

“I have previous experience of this sort of trap before in which a fox was left struggling all night, eventually succumbing to shock and blood loss and after attempting to bite through its own leg.

“The person responsible was given a four-month suspended prison sentence.”

Anyone with information can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234999