Halloween hope for Dracula-like 'bat cat'

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Raphael the catImage source, RSPCA
Image caption,
Black cat Raphael has been dubbed "Count Catula" by RSPCA staff

A charity hopes that a fang-toothed feline, said to resemble Count Dracula, will get a new owner due to his "unusual" looks.

Seven-year-old black cat Raphael not only has a gnarly gnasher, but also a "deformed ear" that makes him look "just like a bat", the RSPCA said.

It is the second time the cat - dubbed "Count Catula" - has ended up at the charity's Northamptonshire branch.

Staff hope his "unique" appearance will not put potential owners off.

Raphael is one of many black cats whose plight is highlighted by animal charities at Halloween each year.

Research suggests they are more difficult to rehome, the RSPCA said, and the fact "Count Catula" is "approaching his senior years", means the odds might be stacked against him.

Image source, RSPCA
Image caption,
Raphael has "a rather batty appearance", according to the RSPCA

"He does have some rather distinguishing features and a unique appearance," adoptions manager Emma Markham said.

He has had some teeth removed and his deformed ear was caused by a suspected old haematoma (a swelling of clotted blood within tissue), however, staff at the branch think Raphael is "gorgeous".

The shy cat - who is not fond of dogs - first came to the charity in 2015 when his owner died. He was rehomed, but returned when his new owner's circumstances changed.

The charity hopes Raphael will have better luck this time.

"The black cat is a traditional image at Halloween," Alice Potter, the RSPCA's cat welfare expert, said.

"In UK folklore they are a symbol of bad luck, but despite common myths there is nothing superstitious about black cats.

"They won't bring you good luck or bad luck, they are not prone to living with witches or associated with dark magic - black cats just need a loving home." she added.

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