A cat called Gizmo spent five days trapped in a flat without food and water while the RSPCA and city police passed the buck and refused to rescue him.
The charity said it had no authority to enter locked premises without a police warrant.
But police , because it was not a criminal matter, said it was the responsibility of the RSPCA alone.
Neighbour Carol Dean said: “I suppose technically they are both right.
“But wouldn’t you think somebody would have shown some compassion for the poor cat?”
She phoned both authorities pleading for help after Gizmo’s owner was suddenly taken ill in Manchester and admitted to a long stay hospital.
Eventually Gizmo’s rescuers came in the most unlikely form – city social workers.
They found a locksmith to change the lock on the Great Linford flat and then booked Gizmo into a cattery until his owner recovers.
“He was starving hungry but luckily he drank water from the loo to survive,” said Carol.
The RSPCA is now investigating the matter.