A furious cat owner has slammed vets who put down her beloved pet just three hours after he went missing from her garden.
Ginger was found by a local resident and was handed in to a cat shelter where vets treated him like a sick stray and decided he was in too much pain to keep alive.
By the time owner Beverley Hume, 56, traced Ginger it was too late.
Yesterday Mrs Hume slammed the decision as ‘disgusting’ and said her 25-year-old cat had recently been enjoying a new lease of life.
The vets put Ginger down because he was suffering so badly from a tooth abscess and had difficulty standing.
But Mrs Hume said her vet had been treating the abscess with antibiotic injections and 'he was fine.'
She has now lodged a formal complaint with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and wants disciplinary action to be taken.
She said: 'Ginger was put down without consent, without giving us a chance to find him.'We’re all mortified. Ginger was a member of our family. When the vets told me I thought "how dare you?"
'We should have been given at least 24 hours to find him. We believe our rights have been taken away by the vets.
'Some do-gooder lifts him from near his home and takes him to a shelter and three hours later he’s dead.'
Grandmother Mrs Hume, who runs a dress agency and is married to Don, 60, inherited the cat when her parents died 10 years ago. It had already lost an eye, but was remarkably resilient and usually never strayed far from the house.
Mrs Hume, of Kingston Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, said: 'Everybody who saw him commented on how sprightly he was and that he had a new lease of life. We’re absolutely mortified.
'If I thought for even a second that my cat was suffering I would have done something about it.’
She said children on the estate were upset as 'he was such a little character'.
'It must have been obvious that he belonged to someone. Cats have the right by law to roam around and by snatching him away they took away his rights.
'I’m just utterly disgusted by what’s happened, that person had no right to take away my cat.'
Yesterday Heather Morton, senior partner at Blythman and Partners, said Ginger was put down in good faith because he appeared to be suffering.
'We were presented with a very thin, elderly cat crying in pain and having difficulty standing.
'He had no collar or microchip so was unidentifiable. He was examined by two veterinary surgeons and was screaming in pain due to a tooth root abscess penetrating his jaw and tracking into the eye socket.
'The decision was made to euthanise on welfare grounds and was necessary to alleviate suffering.'