AN ANIMAL charity criticised for refusing to rescue a stranded cat in Huddersfield has defended its actions.
RSPCA inspectors were called to a cat stuck in a tree in Robert Ashton Memorial Park, Meltham, last week after a family raised the alarm.
The cat, which had been missing for two days, was discovered by a passer-by who heard him crying in the tree.
But when the family called the RSPCA to help rescue their pet cat Merlin they were advised to wait 48 hours to see if he would come down.
Owner Jacqui MacDonald, of Durker Roods, Meltham, said: "I was really angry. All the RSPCA had to do was call the fire brigade and we would have paid.
"It was heartbreaking leaving him crying, knowing he would have to spend another night in the tree.
"He was starving and my children were in floods of tears.
"It is not what you expect of an organisation that gives the impression that they drop everything for the safety of animals."
Mr Rod MacDonald stayed in the park until 11pm in a bid to coax the cat down. The next day the family called out Sharp Tree Services, of Netherton, who got the cat down in minutes, after attempts by a friendly window cleaner failed.
The couple have two children, Kathryn, aged eight and Stephanie, 12.
Heather Holmes, a spokes- woman for the RSPCA, claimed the charity had acted in line with its policy.
She said: "We advise people to wait 48 hours, put some food out and give the cat the opportunity to come down on its own. If they have not come down in 48 hours we will come out.
"We are a charity and resources are limited. It might take an inspector two hours to get to that cat and then we would have to call the fire brigade. Cats are very agile little creatures and nine out of 10 times they do come down."