Cat survived in house for 52 days by eating paper

NEWS AND COMMENT – THE NETHERLANDS: An extraordinary feline feat of survival has popped up in the news media. A Dutch tabby cat was trapped in a house when the owner left it on July 1, 2021. Police are looking for the person who could (should) be charged with animal cruelty.

Finn, the tabby cat who is said to have survived for 52 days on paper and a leaky tap
Finn, the tabby cat who is said to have survived for 52 days on paper and a leaky tap. Photo: The Times.
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We don’t know how the cat ended up in the building but he was and he survived for 52 days by drinking water from a leaky tap and eating paper. That is the assessment based on the fact that veterinarians found his stomach full of paper, eaten in desperation.

Finn, as he has been named, has distinctive floppy ears. He was discovered when the purchasers of the house (at auction, unseen) opened the front door and he ran out between their legs. He was emaciated and frightened. He appears to have been traumatised by the ordeal.

Dik Nagtegaal, of an animal protection agency said: “Finn was very skinny when he was rescued from the house but appeared otherwise healthy. There must have been a leaky tap somewhere where he could drink. Finn is upset with everything he has been through. In due course we will find a suitable owner.”

A fundraising campaign in Schiedam, a suburb of Rotterdam, raised twice the amount needed to cover essential veterinary treatment. The surplus was used for microchipping, de-worming, vaccinations and neutering.

Comment: Finn was a true stray cat. He appears not to be feral but needed all the usual domestic cat treatments. I think he must have eaten more than paper to survive. There may well have been mice in the house which was clearly rundown.

There is almost no nutrition in paper. It is mostly cellulose, an organic compound in plants. The Reddit website tells me that is has “0 cals, 0 protein, 0 net carbs”. Nicely put.

On that basis it is wrong to say that Finn survived by eating paper. He must have caught mice. That’s the logical conclusion. Clearly the supply was not constant and plentiful which is why he was so skinny. But he was in good health. Mice are a perfect meal for a stray cat although they can give cats fleas and worms.

P.S. His floppy ears would indicate that he has the Scottish Fold genetic mutation. This is not mentioned. It affects the cartilage of the ear flap making it less rigid.

Source of story: The Times (hardcopy).


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