Death of WT officer highlights danger of feral cats

Death of WT officer highlights danger of feral cats

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A bite from a feral cat has led to the death of one WT police officer.

Two weeks ago a call came in to the University Police Department about a feral cat on campus that needed to be removed.

Corporal Monty Platt responded to the call, not knowing what happened that day would end in tragedy.

While attempting to capture the feral cat on campus, Platt was bitten hard enough that the cat's teeth went through his gloves and into his hand.

Last week he started to feel sick, and was rushed to a hospital in Lubbock after having a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics he was given to treat diseases the cat may have spread through the bite.

Tuesday evening his kidneys began to fail, his blood pressure dropped, and he passed away.

"It was devastating," said Sgt. Jack Hildebrand with the WT police. "We had heard there was a possibility that he may be starting to recover. Unfortunately that did not occur, and his loss will be felt by this department for a very long time."

Platt was with the department for 21 years and was a role model to everyone he worked with.
This tragedy shows the danger of interacting with feral cats, especially since many people who do are not equipped to do so.

"Cpl. Platt did everything he could, with wearing the gloves and things," said Hildebrand. "Unfortunately the cat was able to defeat those measures."

Feral cats are often fed and cared for because they seem harmless, but what happened to Platt is proof these animals are more dangerous than they look

Feeding feral cats is a problem on WT's campus.

"We certainly know that here on campus we have seen people feeding some of the feral cats and obviously that leads to bad things later on," said Hildebrand. "We hope that, sadly from the tragedy that happened, that lessons will be learned that that's probably not the best approach when it comes to feral cats."

Hildebrand said WT's grounds crew is working to clear brush from some areas of campus where feral cats were living.

But some cats do still call WT home, and if you see them, don't get close; that's a message the department now hopes to make clear.

The public is invited to pay respect to Platt at a memorial service 10:00 Friday morning at St. Ann's Church in Canyon.

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