A court was told a hamster came to a premature end after being left unattended for several days with the family cat.
Jeffrey the cat, starved of suitable food and clean water, destroyed the terrified hamster’s cage and gobbled him up.
Natalie Armaitage, 20, formerly of College Street, Todmorden, and now of Crewe, admitted four Animal Welfare charges when she appeared before Calderdale magistrates.
They covered not providing a suitable environment for Jeffrey; not ensuring his need for a suitable diet including water; failing to protect Jeffrey from pain, suffering, injury and disease; and not protecting the hamster from pain, sufering, injury and disease.
Tanya Forret, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the charity was alerted by a telephone call and an RSPCA inspector repeatedly called at College Street last October and there was no reply.
The police were finally called to gain access to the house which was in darkness and there was no clean water and the only food was stale cat biscuits.
“In the living room the hamster cage was broken into pieces and there was no sign of the hamster,” she said.
Eventually, Armaitage answered the door to an inspector and was asked `where is the hamster’ and she replied: “I think the cat has eaten it.”
“I think that is evidenced by the cage - the cat broke into it,” said Ms Forret.
“Regrettably, the consequence was the hamster met its fate.”
Armaitage, who was not represented, said she went to Crewe for dental treatment but her son was taken ill and she was away longer than she expected.
She had fallen out with her mum and sister and had no-one to access the property.
“It was Aiden or the cat,” she said.
Armaitage, who is on benefits, said she thought she was away for around six nights.
Chairman of the bench Andrew Entwistle told Armaitage: “You left the cat for longer than you like to to admit.
“The cat did suffer. The hamster is no more.”
Armaitage was fined £50 with £200 costs and a £15 victim surcharge; and disqualified from keeping animals for five years.
A depravation order was made to take Jeffrey, currently in boarding, off her.