When BooBoo the cat came home Friday morning with his face and head soaked with motor oil and mewing with discomfort, Sheldon McLeod and his family were devastated.
It was exactly three weeks to the day since their other cat, Misha, returned to the south St. Vital home with her entire body covered in motor oil.
McLeod said the family is convinced someone has purposely abused his family's cats and the neighbourhood needs to be warned.
'We're concerned not just for our pets but for children'
"Obviously the individual who is doing this is sick. We're concerned that there is an individual or individuals in our neighbourhood who would do this," McLeod said. "We're concerned not just for our pets but for children. Our children are grown but our neighbours have children. What if children went onto the yard of the people doing this? If somebody is that ill that they'd do this to an animal, I can't see them hesitating with a child. It could happen again, to somebody else."
BooBoo, a seven-year-old, long-haired mix, has been in the McLeod family since McLeod's daughter found him as a stray kitten. His gentle nature likely made it easy for his attacker to throw the motor oil straight into his face.
"BooBoo is a very kind and gentle cat," McLeod said. "He's well-known in the neighbourhood. He's easily approachable, he loves petting and never turns away from anyone. His head and face were just absolutely covered, poor guy."
Misha is a short-haired mix who was adopted from the Winnipeg Humane Society last year by the family. After she came home Aug. 23 drenched in motor oil, she was washed multiple times at Centennial Animal Hospital but the oil wouldn't come off. She was shaved down to the skin. Two days later she was brought back in for blood work, but fortunately, she had not ingested any oil and has recovered. Motor oil can cause liver damage if consumed.
BooBoo may not be so lucky. He's at Centennial Animal Hospital, where it is suspected his eyesight has been affected. He has been shaved also. The vet bill is expected to at least top $700 after treatment for both cats.
"We didn't report it on Aug. 23 with Misha because we weren't sure what happened, if she stumbled into something, or what," McLeod said. "But now, with this happening to our second cat, there's nothing that it could be but intentional."
McLeod said they've never received complaints about the cats.
"There hasn't been anyone who's said anything. As far as we know, our neighbours know them and love them. One of our neighbours hadn't seen him for a few days and asked, 'where's BooBoo? We haven't seen him around,' " he said.
Those outdoor days are now over, McLeod said. Both BooBoo and Misha will be in lockdown from now on and officially live as indoor cats.
He said he and wife will be putting up notices around the neighbourhood in the next few days warning people and asking them to report anything they might know to the Winnipeg Humane Society.
"There has to be an oil spill around where the person doused the cat, whether it's in their backyard or driveway," McLeod said. "Someone is sick in the neighbourhood and needs some help."
He said the incident has been reported to the WHS abuse line and the police.
"We received their complaint but it seems to have just happened to them," said Laina Hughes, WHS communications co-ordinator.