A Hilton Head Island feral cat that had a plastic jar stuck over its head for about two weeks has apparently survived, a rescue volunteer said Monday.
"She's eating and drinking," said Marci Tressel. "She's thin, but doesn't look too bad."
The small gray cat was spotted in woods off Palmetto Bay Road on April 7 with what appeared to be a peanut butter jar stuck over her head.
On April 17, a volunteer saw the cat, touched it and was trying to remove the jar when it ran away.
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On Sunday morning, April 22, Tressel identified a cat eating at a feeding station set up in the woods as the one they'd been searching for. The plastic jar was gone.
"We feel like the jar may have been loosened or dislodged when our volunteer touched it, and the cat was able to get out of it," Tressel said.
About 15 regular volunteers spent as much as seven hours a day scouring thick woods behind The Village Exchange and The Smokehouse restaurant.
A camera was set up at the feeding station two weeks ago.
Tressel got a call over the weekend saying, "Marci, I think our cat is here."
"Sure enough, it's her," Tressel said Monday after getting close-up views of the cat on camera.
She said Bluffton veterinarian Ben Parker advised letting the cat continue to eat and drink water before traumatizing it again by capturing it and taking it in for a medical exam.
"I'm so happy it's a happy ending," Tressel said. "It's remarkable that a little cat would survive that long. She was so vulnerable. She couldn't see, she couldn't eat, she couldn't defend herself.
"Everyone said we're not going to give up until we find her, and everybody kept lifting each other up when it got discouraging."
About a dozen cats in the colony have been trapped, spayed, inoculated and returned to the wild where Tressel or other animal-lovers feed them in a small clearing. Tressel has been capturing feral cats on Hilton Head for more than 20 years. She works through the Hilton Head Humane Association to control the feral cat population in this way.
She said this incident brought out the best in people.