by Wildcat Haven


by Wildcat Haven
Wildcat Haven
Case Owner
Wildcat Haven is a grass roots, community driven conservation project.
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Wildcat Haven
Case Owner
Wildcat Haven is a grass roots, community driven conservation project.
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Latest: March 31, 2023


We know how eager you all are for an update on Finlay. Hopefully you are sitting comfortably as this is a long but important read.

First and foremost, Finlay is doing great. A very recent vet visit co…

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Finlay was found as an orphaned kitten in the Highlands of Scotland at just three weeks of age. He was soaking wet, starving and close to death. The people who found him gave him warmth and got him veterinary care and the appropriate milk rearing formula. They also immediately saw that Finlay displayed markings suggesting that he may be a Scottish wildcat (it is impossible to identify a wildcat until at least 6 months of age). Because of this, they contacted Wildcat Haven and we took over his care and rehabilitation. Finlay thrived and it was well known that he was due for release (after consultation with the relevant licensing bodies) in spring this year. 

However on February 14th of this year, just weeks before his release, everything changed and both ours and Finlay's world was turned upside down. Without warning 4 police officers arrived and seized him.

Despite our pleas they would not tell us where he was being taken or where he would be kept. They claimed he was getting specialist care and that he was well. Four and a half months later and well after his due release date, Finlay was returned to us. During those 4.5 months the police kept him at a specialist animal conservation centre and fed him on a diet that included raw horse meet and deer ribs. When the police returned him, they stated that he is a domestic tabby cat.

Upon his return, it was immediately clear that he was in a bad way and an independent vet was called out to see him. The vet confirmed the following:

'At my general clinical examination, the cat appears underweight, with palpable ribs and bones, with reduced muscle masses if compared to a normal 20 months old male cat. The cat appears continuously and interruptedly self-grooming, hair is disomogeneous and hairs can be easily be broken/pulled off'.

This assessment is unambiguous and highlights the severe stress and trauma Finlay has endured. The vet said that his body condition was similar to that of an elderly 18 year old cat. Finlay is less than 2 years old. You can now clearly see and feel his ribcage and shoulder bones. Where once there was muscle, that muscle coverage has gone. The abnormal behaviour of over grooming is very obvious and almost continuous. It’s clearly a coping mechanism that Finlay has developed in response to stress caused by restrictive captivity.

Further, notes obtained from the Police about Finlay's time in their custody, clearly show that he had issues with his digestion, was straining to pass faeces, was on medication and was being seen regularly by vets. This contradicts their reassurances that he was well and being appropriately cared for.

Since Finlay's return and in response to the public outrage expressed at this abuse/clear deterioration whilst in police care, the North Wales Police Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, has publicly defended Finlay's care and has accepted no wrongdoing.

In summary, Finlay left us a happy, healthy cat and has returned underweight, with clear veterinary issues and displaying abnormal behaviours such as overgrooming which are signs of stress. He is so vulnerable and weak that the vets cannot even worm as this may upset his digestion too much. The police have also refused to provide us with his veterinary records which hinders his ongoing care.

Given that senior police representatives do not accept this suffering and indeed claim 'that all standards of care were adhered to', we have no choice but to explore legal redress to ensure that not only does Finlay get the justice he deserves, but that lessons are learned and this never happens again to any other innocent animal like Finlay.

All funds raised will be used to both explore legal redress for all aspects surrounding Finlay's seizure, detention and care whilst under police custody, and also to help with the costs of obtaining expert advice and reports from vets, animal behaviourists and ecologists. Such specialist, expert input, will support our legal work. 

We have been told that such is his deterioration, that Finlay's recovery will take many months. At this stage it is impossible to predict what the long-term plan will be for Finlay. If any funds are left over, they will be utilised by Wildcat Haven for its ongoing conservation work which includes campaigning for the protection of forest habitats and environmental education work.

Thank you so much

Emily, Director, Wildcat Haven CIC

Update 8

Wildcat Haven

March 31, 2023


We know how eager you all are for an update on Finlay. Hopefully you are sitting comfortably as this is a long but important read.

First and foremost, Finlay is doing great. A very recent vet visit confirmed that he is in excellent condition and has over wintered with no problems at all. As you can see he is looking wonderful: bright, alert and full of life. We are anti captivity and want Finlay to be free at the earliest opportunity. We do not want him to spend a single day longer in his enclosure than he has to. The ideal time for his freedom to occur would be late spring when the small mammal populations are abundant. Any attempts earlier than that would likely result in failure, and we of course want to maximise Finlay's chances. It is very important to note that any process will be slow, gradual and Finlay will be constantly monitored, provided with food and have access to shelter and  veterinary care at all times if required. We will update you more on our dialogue with Nature Scot shortly, regarding Finlay's future and our proposed protocols. 
We have all been appalled at the alleged wrongful seizure and mistreatment that Finlay endured at the hands of the Police and we have promised to do all we can to hold to account every single member of the Police force who was involved. 

After many months of information gathering and collecting evidence (vet reports etc), you will be pleased to hear that this process is now well underway. We have been working closely with our highly experienced legal team at Bindmans LLP, who helped secure Finlay's return. Since then, their team that specialises in Actions against the police, led by Joseph Morgan, have formally lodged a comprehensive Police Complaint.  It alleges serious failings at various levels in the police force, from officers,  right up to the position of Crime Commissioner. The complaint also alleges serious breaches of the Animal Welfare Act. As you can imagine, we have had to be guided by our legal team about how much information we can release and when.  
Now our solicitors, Bindmans LLP, have issued a press statement on the matter on their website. You can read the news release, see quotes and look at a pictorial timeline that has been submitted as evidence:

 They have provided us with the police complaint for you all to see  It has been lightly redacted for legal reasons, but you can now read it for yourself and see the true extent of the alleged failings by the police. You can see it if you scroll down our news page on this link:

We won't say too much now while you read everything. There is an awful lot to take in. You may want to pay particular attention to how they supposedly 'cared for' and 'assessed' Finlay. It’s sections 4 and 5 of the police complaint. It must be read to be believed. We will follow up early next week with further information about the complaint and its implications. 
Thank you for your patience and as always for your support. None of this is possible without you. The fight for Finlay's freedom is of paramount importance. 

Very best wishes

The Wildcat Haven team and Finlay


Update 7

Wildcat Haven

Feb. 1, 2023


As Promised here is an update on Finlay and some video footage taken yesterday evening (see link below for video). He is thoroughly enjoying scratch marking a new log in his enclosure. He is really getting stuck in. We regularly introduce new elements into his enclosure to encourage natural behaviour and to keep him mentally and physically stimulated. You can see how stocky and powerful he is now. Look how thick and strong his neck and shoulders are and that is because of all the exercise and enrichment he gets. He is absolutely thriving and both our team and the vet are thrilled at how much he has recovered. You will all remember how gaunt and underweight he was when he was first returned to us. His shoulder and pelvic bones were clearly visible and he had pronounced abdominal tuck where his body cavity was hollow. Well not anymore, he is absolutely solid. As you can see, his fur is in perfect condition and he has took the winter in his stride with no problems at all. His appetite is fantastic and he is eating well over double the amount he would take when we first got him back. His diet has been carefully managed and changed with consultation with the vet, throughout his recovery. You can the results for yourself.

Our thoughts are of course now focussing on Finlay’s future and we have contacted the Scottish Government to discuss ideas. His welfare and wellbeing is an absolute priority and we will ensure he has the best future possible. After all he has been through in his short life, that is the very least he deserves.

Here is the link to the news page with the video. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did.


Thanks so much for your continuing support. We will keep you posted every step of the way.

Thanks as always.

Emily (Director) and Finlay

Update 6

Wildcat Haven

Dec. 23, 2022


Hi All

As promised here is an update on Finlay after the visit from the vet yesterday. We are delighted to say that Finlay is absolutely thriving and getting better and better. The vet commented that Finlay has continued to gain muscle mass on his shoulders and rump and that crucially, he now has good muscle and fat coverage over his ribs. The coat condition is noted as being excellent. It is thick, dense and there is now no shedding. His eyes are bright and clear with no discharge, and he is completely alert to any movements in his surroundings. He is still not fully recovered but if his improvement continues as it has been, then we hope he will reach his full potential soon.

Perhaps the most notable observation by the vet, was that Finlay now has at least 50% more body mass than when the vet first saw him in June. That is a crucial observation, as it shows firstly how much Finlay had deteriorated, but secondly it confirms how well he has responded to the diligent care we have provided. A 50% swing is huge. We cater to all Finlay’s needs to the very best of our abilities and we ensure his environment is stimulating and exciting. This of course promotes exploration and muscle development and equally importantly, psychological wellbeing. A happy animal is more likely to be a healthy animal. Finlay is certainly full of life and vigour and is a joy to watch.

We managed to grab this picture of him taking in the morning sun. I am sure you agree that he looks magnificent as he surveys his domain. Eyes focussed, ears pricked forward and ready for action. He certainly has his swagger and confidence back. What a fighter he is, his resilience and ability to survive both being orphaned and then seized, is an inspiration to us all.

As you know, our absolutely priority has been to ensure Finlay survived his ordeal. In the New Year our attentions will turn to planning Finlay’s long-term future. That will involve dialogue with vets, animal behaviourists and others. As we have done since the beginning, we will keep you informed every step of the way. We know how important Finlay is to so many of you.

We were looking back at some of the pictures from Finlay’s life and they certainly tell an interesting story.

If you click on this link, you will see a pictorial review of his life. One thing is for certain, he is an incredibly beautiful animal:


From the bottom of our hearts, a massive thank you to every one of who have supported our work, it means so much to us all. Please keep sharing and supporting this campaign.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.

Emily (Director) and Finlay

Update 5

Wildcat Haven

Nov. 29, 2022


As promised here is an update after Finlay’s most recent visit from the vet. The vet is delighted with the progress that Finlay continues to make. He is getting stronger and gaining bulk and body mass and he is almost back to the body condition he had before he was seized. We all agree he is about 90% recovered. In the most recent vet report the following comment is made: ‘He gained mass mainly above spinal processes and rib cage, as well as on fore and back limbs’.

As you can see from the picture he has certainly bulked up, look at the muscle definition on his shoulders and how thick his neck is. His body Is no longer ‘hollow’ and his fur has significantly improved. The report states: ‘The quality of the fur has significantly improved in colour, strength and waterproof coverage. Finlay is not overgrooming anymore’.

Basically we are all absolutely delighted with how well he has recovered and he has been thoroughly enjoying the autumnal sunshine. We got this picture as he was striding around his expansive and naturalistic enclosure. He is enjoying life and he is full of energy and vigour. The swagger and confidence that he had lost due to his treatment in police custody, has returned. He is alert to everything and his eyes are bright. We have shed many tears along the way and there were times when we feared he wouldn’t make it, but as always, Finlay never gives up and he has fought to recover.

When we think back to the appalling state he was handed back to us in, it fills us with determination to hold to account everyone who has had a hand in his suffering. As we collate evidence and prepare statements, we are going through and cross referencing the documents obtained from the Police by our legal team. We are piecing together what happened to him. The Police told us that Finlay was kept in a naturalistic enclosure at a specialist animal centre. Indeed, the Crime Commissioner has written to many of you regarding this. However, it transpires that Finlay was actually kept in a quarantine enclosure. A report produced by the police refers to this. The report was from 6 weeks into Finlay’s 4.5 month ordeal. From the vet notes we have obtained from the police, there is no mention of a move or any vet visits to check on him in new surroundings. It therefore seems highly likely that Finlay was held in a quarantine facility for the whole time. Quarantine enclosures are typically small, sterile and intended for short term use. They certainly aren’t appropriate to keep an animal in for 4.5 months. This explains the stereotypical behaviour Finlay developed whilst in the captivity. The overgrooming was a response to stress and boredom. He was clearly suffering both mentally and physically.

Finlay cannot speak, so we will speak for him and if you want to help us get Finlay the justice he deserves then please keep supporting and sharing our campaign:


We will of course keep you updated on Finlay’s progress but we can all be happy that he is once again full of life and thriving.

Many thanks as always

Emily (Director) and Finlay.

Update 4

Wildcat Haven

Nov. 8, 2022


HI All

We are delighted to report that Finlay is doing extremely well. In the picture above and video at the link below, you can how much he has improved. His muscle coverage has developed greatly and his coat condition is now superb and no longer falls out in clumps. He still probably has 10 to 15 percent more body mass to gain but he is certainly heading in the right direction. His appetite is fantastic and in the video you can see him really tucking into his food. About 10 seconds in he looks up and you can see his beautiful face and long white whiskers. He doesn’t pause for long though before going straight back to his food.

When he was first returned to us he was listless and had a poor appetite. He is now eating more than twice the amount of food than when we first got him back. The amount has been gradually increased over time so as to not overwhelm his digestive system. We are just so pleased that he has recovered from his ordeal. He is a real fighter and never gives up. He is an inspiration to us all and such a beautiful boy.

You can see the video on our news page here:


We hope you enjoy seeing Finlay and keep watching for more updates.

Thanks as always

Emily (Director) and Finlay

Update 3

Wildcat Haven

Oct. 13, 2022


As promised here is the latest update on Finlay. We are really pleased to say that he is making fantastic progress. The vet and his carers are delighted and relieved at how well he is doing. He is gaining weight, his coat is sleek, his muscle tone has improved immensely and behaviourally, he is alert, active and really enjoying life. As you can see from the picture, he is thriving and looks like a different animal to the gaunt, underweight and patchily coated animal that was handed back to us after 4.5 months in police custody.

As you know we are committed to getting justice for Finlay and as we go through the process we are finding out more and more about what he went through. Whilst Finlay was in police custody, our legal team repeatedly asked for updates on his welfare. They were always told that he was doing well and that there were no issues. We of course now know that that was simply untrue. As evidenced by our independent vet assessment immediately after his return, Finlay had suffered considerable physical and psychological deterioration whilst under the control of the police.

We have been trying for many months to get Finlay's vet records from the police. Despite false promises that they would provide them imminently, the police retained them giving excuse after excuse as to why they were not released. Indeed even our MP, the RT Hon David Jones, called and wrote to the police on our behalf, multiple times. Our solicitors had also requested the records countless times.

After repeated pressure the police finally released some veterinary notes to us. We now know why they did not want us to have them. We were all previously reassured by the Police Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, that Finlay was well cared for. Indeed he personally wrote to many of you stating 'that all standards of care were adhered to, with regular monitoring taking place throughout Finlay’s stay at the facility'.

Well it now transpires that Finlay was left without any veterinary monitoring or care for nearly 3 months. Between the 16th March and the 9th June, no vet visited him. This is simply appalling. What is also clear is that during this period Finlay developed gastro intestinal issues, as on the 9th June, the vet attended because there was concerns he was 'passing fur in (his) faeces'. Despite identifying a health issue, Finlay was then not seen by a vet for a further 17 days until the day before he was returned to us......

This is hardly regular monitoring, it is blatant neglect and at the hands of the police. Does Andy Dunbobbin really think that this represents an acceptable standard of care for an animal that was removed from its surroundings and restrained in a brand new environment and with a new diet. We all remember the rancid horse meat that PC Richard Smith provided when he returned Finlay.

It seems abundantly clear that Finlay did not receive even the most basic care that he deserved and that he was left without veterinary monitoring and care for an unacceptable length of time. Such neglect has been robustly defended by the Crime Commissioner himself, which suggests that animal welfare simply isn't taken seriously by the North Wales Police.

That is why we will fight on to ensure that Finlay gets the justice he deserves and that crucially, important lessons are learned, so that no other animal suffers unnecessarily at the hands of the Police.

Please keep supporting our campaign to get Justice for Finlay, and share this link widely:


Thanks as always and we will keep you posted as and when we get more information.

Emily (Director of Wildcat Haven) and Finlay

Update 2

Wildcat Haven

Sept. 13, 2022


As promised here is an update on Finlay’s progress. We are delighted to be able to tell you that he is doing extremely well. He is by no means in the prime condition he was in before he was seized by the police. However, he is infinitely better than when they returned him after 4.5 months in their custody. Behaviourally, he has regained a lot of his confidence and he is now bright eyed and interested in life. Crucially, the over grooming has stopped. This stereotypical behaviour is a coping mechanism that animals develop when placed in overbearing captivity. We still do not know where Finlay was kept by the police but is abundantly clear that the conditions caused a mental and physical deterioration in him.  

Physically, Finlay has gained weight. We have sought veterinary advice at regular intervals and increased his food intake gradually. Such was the level of deterioration, there were concerns about putting too much pressure on his kidneys and digestive system. When he was given back to us, he was listless and had a poor appetite. He is now eating almost twice the amount of food he did when he was returned. He is also gaining muscle coverage and strength by the day and his energy levels are much higher.  

Another significant milestone is that Finlay has now been deemed well enough by vets to be wormed and vaccinated. This has now been done. Imagine how weak Finlay had to be for a vet to previously consider such routine procedures too risky.  

It has taken a long and emotionally draining ten weeks of thoughtful care by our team, to bring Finlay back from the brink. We must admit, that in the first couple of weeks, every day was nerve-wracking. We shed many tears as we feared for his survival. Those fears have now reduced, although we always remain vigilant for any signs of relapse. It will still take months for him to regain his full condition, but we are here for him every step of the way. You can see in this photo taken last week, that he looks much stronger and brighter and it's clear that he is very interested in exploring his surroundings. He is such a beautiful boy and has come back to life. 

As you all know, Finlay had a very traumatic start, being orphaned and found soaking wet and close to death in the Highlands. He fought hard to survive and under our care, he transformed from that weak and vulnerable orphan, into a strong, confident and beautiful adult. Suddenly, without warning on the the 14th February 2022, he was seized by the police and detained for 4.5 months. We can only imagine the stress, anxiety and suffering he endured during this time. You have all seen the photos of his deterioration in previous posts. However, for the second time in his short life, he has been forced to fight for his survival and that is exactly what he has done. He did not deserve this unnecessary suffering in police custody, it is completely unacceptable.  

This cannot be allowed to happen to any other animal again and so it is vital that all those involved in Finlay’s wrongful detention and all those responsible for his mental and physical trauma, are fully held to account. As we have said, we have instructed a fantastic legal team and the first stage of seeking redress is underway as we put together the strongest case possible. We do not know how long the process will take but like Finlay, we can give you a cast iron guarantee that we will fight as hard as possible and never give up. We will endeavour to see that Justice is done and that Finlay gets the future he deserves. Finlay cannot speak, so collectively, we must speak for him. We know that Finlay has touched all your hearts, so please keep supporting us and share this link as widely as you can:


We will keep you updated every step of the way and will put out some video of Finlay very soon. 

Thanks so much. 

Emily (Director) and Finlay  

Update 1

Wildcat Haven

Aug. 23, 2022


Just a quick message to say a massive thankyou to all of you who have supported our ‘Justice for Finlay’ campaign so far. We are off to a flying start which has enabled us to immediately instruct a fantastic legal team who are specialists in complaints/actions against the Police. We are already getting together all the documents that they will require to present the strongest case possible. Nothing but the best for Finlay and we won’t be holding back.

Finlay is definitely getting better; he has been back with us for 2 months now. He will be seen again by the vet today to monitor his ongoing progress. He still has a long way to go to regain his bulk but we will get there. Crucially though, he is enjoying life, he is getting more active by the day and perhaps most importantly of all, he is getting back that glint in his eye, that he used to have. That steely glare and those piercing eyes are now more apparent. As a lot of you will know with your own animals, it's all in the eyes. A number of you have asked to see a picture of Finlay’s face and we managed to get this picture of him this morning. He is coming back to life.

We will keep you posted on developments on all fronts.

Once again, you are an amazing community of supporters and from the bottom our hearts thank you so very much. Finlay can’t speak so collectively we all speak for him.

Please share this link to our campaign as widely as you can:


Very best wishes

Emily (Director of Wildcat Haven) and Finlay

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