A cat owner has been banned from keeping pets for a year after she attempting to heal its wounds with honey. Denise Smith, 58, had applied manuka honey to her cat Blacky's leg believing it had healing properties which would help him.
But the cat, who had cancer, was forced to have its leg amputated and despite treatment from a vet later died.
Some online forums advocate the use of treating cats with manuka honey and at least one Rspca branch sells it for treating wounds to cats.
But magistrates found Smith, from Northampton, guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat at Wellingborough Magistrates' Court.
She was disqualified from keeping animals for 12 months and ordered to pay £615 in fines during the hearing on Wednesday.
Blacky the cat was found by our inspector suffering with a large and cancerous wound on her leg which was so deep it had gone down to her tendon
The court heard the Rspca was contacted by a concerned member of the public on 30 August. Inspector Michelle Hare attended the property and found the cat with a heavily bandaged leg.
"When we took the bandages off I could see that Blacky had a large and cancerous wound on her leg which was so deep it had gone down to her tendons," she said.
"It turned out that Smith had been treating the wound with manuka honey, after reading online that it had anti-microbial properties - but it certainly isn't something which should have been used on a wound like Blacky had."
A vet recommended the cat needed to have an amputation and after undergoing surgery was successfully rehomed.
The cancer later returned and the cat had to be put down.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We would always urge people to seek veterinary advice for any issues relating to their pet’s health. Honey is used by some people on minor wounds but should only be used as a complementary treatment which should not replace veterinary care and advice.
“Blacky the cat was found by our inspector suffering with a large and cancerous wound on her leg which was so deep it had gone down to her tendon.
"This clearly needed urgent veterinary attention and the cat had been left to suffer without appropriate treatment. In this case the owner failed to provide veterinary treatment for what was clearly a very severe wound, and we had no choice but to become involved to prevent the cat from suffering further.”
Manuka honey, which is made from nectar collected by bees from the wild manuka tree, and is sold by the Rspca's Halifax and Huddersfield branch for injured cats on its website.
It states: "Manuka G may be used to add honey to the wound and provide a moist wound environment conducive to healing.
"Useful for minor abrasions and lacerations, pressure sores, cavity wounds including abcesses."