Cat attacked by large owl

Chester on his lead in the garden

Rosemary and Mike Cafferty with Chester, their pedigree Bengal Leopard cat.

A barn owl

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

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.”

Comments (15)

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1:19pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Newonhojeel says...

There are 4 kinds of owl - Barn, Snowy, Grey and Teat.
There are 4 kinds of owl - Barn, Snowy, Grey and Teat. Newonhojeel
  • Score: 20

1:34pm Wed 3 Sep 14

mrs philainsy says...

Awww what a gorgeous Cat.


AND......




Newonhojeel says...

There are 4 kinds of owl - Barn, Snowy, Grey and Teat.


Teat!!!!
Took me a while, but I got it.
Awww what a gorgeous Cat. AND...... Newonhojeel says... There are 4 kinds of owl - Barn, Snowy, Grey and Teat. Teat!!!! Took me a while, but I got it. mrs philainsy
  • Score: 13

5:12pm Wed 3 Sep 14

SupeRed09 says...

Ey up, th'eagle owl is on the prowl again. ;) Hahaha
Ey up, th'eagle owl is on the prowl again. ;) Hahaha SupeRed09
  • Score: 4

5:32pm Wed 3 Sep 14

questionairre says...

My goodness.

When the animal shelters are groaning with cats needing homes and being put down in their droves because one can not be found and this geezer buys a fashion cat for £500.
And the moggy even has its own designer lead.

I don,t believe it. (Victor)
My goodness. When the animal shelters are groaning with cats needing homes and being put down in their droves because one can not be found and this geezer buys a fashion cat for £500. And the moggy even has its own designer lead. I don,t believe it. (Victor) questionairre
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Wed 3 Sep 14

WhitWoo says...

An adult Barn Owl can weigh up to 0.8 Kg, The cat is reported to weigh about 3.2 Kg, four times the Owl's weight. Barn Owls feed on mice, voles and shrews. The likelihood that such an owl would have "carried him away" is nil as would be quickly realised by minimal research by the reporter. The European Eagle Owl is a bird of a different feather, the females can weigh up to 4Kg with a wingspan up to 2 metres and would make short work of such a £500 fancy cat.
An adult Barn Owl can weigh up to 0.8 Kg, The cat is reported to weigh about 3.2 Kg, four times the Owl's weight. Barn Owls feed on mice, voles and shrews. The likelihood that such an owl would have "carried him away" is nil as would be quickly realised by minimal research by the reporter. The European Eagle Owl is a bird of a different feather, the females can weigh up to 4Kg with a wingspan up to 2 metres and would make short work of such a £500 fancy cat. WhitWoo
  • Score: 8

7:39pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Boltonresident2012 says...

Interesting way of putting things - the way it reads is that the disturbance coming from the bushes at the bottom of the garden is from the neighbours ;)
Interesting way of putting things - the way it reads is that the disturbance coming from the bushes at the bottom of the garden is from the neighbours ;) Boltonresident2012
  • Score: 1

11:02pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Sean kingston says...

I'd never pay £500 for ****
I'd never pay £500 for **** Sean kingston
  • Score: -2

11:03pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Sean kingston says...

I'd never pay £500 for pussay
I'd never pay £500 for pussay Sean kingston
  • Score: 0

12:28am Thu 4 Sep 14

Rememberscarborough says...

There must be a half decent joke about pea green boats....
There must be a half decent joke about pea green boats.... Rememberscarborough
  • Score: 5

7:26am Thu 4 Sep 14

RazorofOccam says...

Load of nonsense. Just normal behaviour "mobbing" a potential predator. Birds of prey do this to each other all the time and smaller birds will do it to them and to cats. Zero chance of a baby being hurt. Tawny owls are on the increase at the moment and we should be pleased not repeating silly scare stories that will encourage some numpty to take a shot at them.
Load of nonsense. Just normal behaviour "mobbing" a potential predator. Birds of prey do this to each other all the time and smaller birds will do it to them and to cats. Zero chance of a baby being hurt. Tawny owls are on the increase at the moment and we should be pleased not repeating silly scare stories that will encourage some numpty to take a shot at them. RazorofOccam
  • Score: 5

7:45am Thu 4 Sep 14

JustBecause says...

Owl should have pulled it apart, there are too many cats around, crapping in gardens etc.
Owl should have pulled it apart, there are too many cats around, crapping in gardens etc. JustBecause
  • Score: -5

8:15am Thu 4 Sep 14

Rocket_Scientist says...

This is just scaremongering. A barn owl could not carry off something of that size/weight. And as for suggesting a toddler is next...that's just irresponsible.
This is just scaremongering. A barn owl could not carry off something of that size/weight. And as for suggesting a toddler is next...that's just irresponsible. Rocket_Scientist
  • Score: 5

9:13am Thu 4 Sep 14

boredofbolton says...

i once saw a man having a fight with an european eagle owl at the top of halliwell road. twas a big beast.
i once saw a man having a fight with an european eagle owl at the top of halliwell road. twas a big beast. boredofbolton
  • Score: 0

9:52am Thu 4 Sep 14

Carol Martin says...

If I owned the cat I would not appreciate all this publicity. Dogs/cats are being stolen everyday. Take extra care of Chester Mike, the rotters now know where Chester lives!!!
If I owned the cat I would not appreciate all this publicity. Dogs/cats are being stolen everyday. Take extra care of Chester Mike, the rotters now know where Chester lives!!! Carol Martin
  • Score: -1

9:58pm Thu 4 Sep 14

BoltonBazz says...

I think you will find its a Eagle Owl we had one in Harwood for a while it feasted on rats cats and one small dog
I think you will find its a Eagle Owl we had one in Harwood for a while it feasted on rats cats and one small dog BoltonBazz
  • Score: -1
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