A CAT rescue centre has urged people to get their feline neutered after taking one in which had “awful battle wounds”.

Paws and Mittens, a self-funded rescue centre in Dovercourt, took in Ernie after having received many alerts from concerned residents over the past few years.

Danielle Harding, who founded the charity in 2012, said non-neutered cats can cause many issues when on the streets and has encouraged people to ensure their pet has had the procedure done.

She said: “Ernie had been sporadically alerted to Paws over many years, but not from anybody who saw him on a regular basis or could pinpoint him to a specific feeding area.

“We knew from the odd photos his huge cheeks confirmed a characteristics of a non-neutered Tom cat and he was very elusive and coy.

“A few weeks back a good friend managed to gain his trust and he started to feed at hers on a regular basis. As she got closer and closer it was apparent he had awful battle wounds, including a huge burst abscess on his ear.

“It was already hugely damaged and had healed over time, clearly from many fights with Toms for mates over the years.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

“We set up a feeding station and eventually the kind feeder managed to contain Ernie and get him straight to our vets and into care.”

Once in care, Ernie was urgently treated for his wound in his ear, given antibiotics, painkillers and bloods were taken to test for feline FIV and FeLV – with both returning negative.

After some chicken, kind words and time, he allowed himself to be stroked and Ms Harding explained it was clear he had had a home at some point but clearly for not very long.

His ear was soon on the mend and he was back at the vets for neutering and microchipping, as well as flea and worm treatments he “desperately needed”.

Non-neutered cats can cause many issues including unwanted litters being born - both on and off the streets.

They are also at high risk of fighting, costly vet bills and transmission of dangerous animal viruses.

“Ernie has shown to be a beautiful boy, so full of love and has so much love to give,” Ms Harding added, “he’s gentle and loves to play, have a brush and likes to talk to his foster Mum most of the day.

“He is now certainly ready for his forever home and will never face a harsh winter on the streets again.”

You can help support Paws and Mittens via PayPal at pawsandmittens@hotmail.com or via its Facebook page at facebook.com/PawsMittens.