LEWISTON — Officials say a local animal shelter is caring for a cat that someone tried to neuter with a rubber band and then abandoned in a vacant apartment.

The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society received the cat from a Lewiston landlord Tuesday evening, just before closing. Shelter Manager Zach Black said the landlord found the cat in a vacant Blake Street apartment after the renters had moved out. The cream-colored, lynx-point cat appeared to be injured.

The shelter’s veterinarian discovered that someone had tried to neuter the cat with a rubber band and the area was badly infected and rotting.

The cat underwent surgery and treatment at a vet hospital. He was returned to the shelter Thursday, where he is recovering and receiving antibiotics.

Despite the injuries, Black said, “He is super friendly — a purr machine.”

The shelter named the cat Blake after the street where he was found. They believe he is about 3 years old and part Siamese.

Lewiston Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout said he had spoken to two witnesses and the District Attorney’s Office, and he expects to charge someone soon with cruelty to animals.

“I’ve seen this before,” Strout said. “Somebody did it, I think, on a dog once. They tried to claim, ‘Well, they do it on sheep.’ They don’t even use rubber bands on sheep. It’s a banding process. And there’s a correct way to do it. Under no circumstances do you use that on a dog or a cat.”

Black called what was done to the cat “cruel,” and unnecessary, because the shelter offers free spaying and neutering for cats.

“Maybe these people just may have been uneducated on the proper way that you take care of it. We don’t really know,” Black said. “But we just really want to encourage people to take advantage of our spay-neuter program. If this cat was being a nuisance or something because he was spraying or marking or being aggressive because he wasn’t neutered, we just want people to reach out to us as a resource to help them with those types of things, rather than taking it into their own hands.”

The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society provides free vouchers to anyone in Androscoggin County or the towns it serves outside the county, including Canton, Hebron and New Gloucester. The vouchers allow owners to get their cats spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies at no cost. Ten area vets accept the vouchers.

The program is not income-based.

The shelter runs a similar program for owners of pit bulls.  

Blake is expected to be put up for adoption when he recovers, which is likely to take another five to seven days.

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