A stowaway puss who gave birth to three kittens in the back of a lorry which had travelled 1,800 miles from Turkey to the UK is recovering from her ordeal in Chesterfield, thanks to the charity Cats Protection.
The tortoiseshell cat, named Matilda, was severely dehydrated, thin and shaken when she was discovered by a surprised long distance lorry driver as he unpacked his load after arriving at his destination in Northampton.
Tragically, as well as finding Matilda, who is thought to have climbed on board in Turkey, the driver also found the bodies of her three newly-born kittens, who did not survive the journey.
Having been taken to a local vet, Matilda was immediately placed in a quarantine unit and would have been put to sleep had it not been for kind-hearted cattery owners who contacted Cats Protection for help.
Despite her ordeal Matilda, who is thought to be two years old, is recovering well at the Caragran Four Paws Pet Hotel, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, where she was taken for her quarantine period.
Co-owner of the cattery and kennels Maureen Adams said: “Unfortunately as Matilda isn’t microchipped, we have no way of identifying her and government guidelines dictate that in cases like this cats should be euthanised if an owner can’t be found in 15 days.
“Clearly, she needs to be held in quarantine and that’s why she was transferred to us. But we are very committed animal lovers and putting a healthy cat to sleep is not something we want to be part of.
“As rehoming cats isn’t our area, we needed expert help and we contacted Cats Protection who agreed to take her on. It means that after her quarantine period Matilda will go to the charity for rehoming.
“She was clearly once a pet, as she is very tame. She is a very sweet, friendly and affectionate cat and she really deserves a loving home after all she’s been through.”
Cats Protection’s Branch Support Manager Beverley Mitchell said she was pleased that the charity could offer a second chance to Matilda, who will be transferred to one of the charity’s adoption centres after her four-month quarantine period.
She said: “Matilda has been through a dreadful ordeal being stuck in the lorry and losing her kittens. It must have been hot, dark and terrifying for her, and with no food and water she is fortunate to have survived.
“She is a lucky cat to have found so many animal lovers along the way who have helped her out – from the lorry driver who discovered her and took her straight to a vet, to the cattery staff who have refused to give up on her and contacted Cats Protection for help.”
Beverley added that the charity is appealing for donations to help fund Matilda’s quarantine, vet bills and documentation fees.
She said: “We are so grateful to the staff at Calagran Four Paws Hotel for halving the normal quarantine fees and keeping costs to a minimum. But we still need to find around £1,000 to fund Matilda’s costs.”
Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats and kittens each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.
To make a donation to Matilda’s appeal, please call Cats Protection on 0800 917 2287. Any funds raised over the quarantine costs will go towards helping other cats in the charity’s care.