AN RSPCA Cymru officer rushed to the aid of a cat stuck high up a tree in New Inn - only to find the 'animal' was a snapped tree branch.

A member of the public reported seeing a cat up the tree - the equivalent of approximately two storeys off the ground - in blustery and potentially hazardous weather conditions, in woodland at Heol Madoc.

It was claimed that the cat was ginger, but when RSPCA animal collection officer Fiona Thomas arrived, she found it was a case of mistaken identity.

The 'cat' in question was a large snapped branch, the exposed bark giving the appearance - from a distance - of a stranded ginger cat.

"This was certainly a first for me," said Ms Thomas.

"I arrived in New Inn ready to come to the aid of this stranded cat. However, after scoping out the woodland area, it became clear the cat was actually just a snapped branch.

"This was an amusing case of mistaken identity by the caller.

"Working as an RSPCA officer is fantastic, but challenging, and across Wales we rescue countless animals each day from many diverse situations - but this particular call did offer a little light relief."

RSPCA Cymru helps thousands of animals every year. In 2017 alone, its officers rescued 23 a day on average.

Sometimes however, perceived emergency situations turn out to be something very different.

Last November, RSPCA inspector Nigel Duguid responded to calls about a limp, lifeless dog atop the Elim Pentecostal Church in Port Talbot, only to arrive and find a stuffed soft toy on top of the building.