Stowaway cat wanted back home for island rat-catching duties

Jean Sutherland of charity Argyll Animal Aid with the stowaway, who she has vowed to return to her home hunting ground. Picture: Kevin McGlynn
Jean Sutherland of charity Argyll Animal Aid with the stowaway, who she has vowed to return to her home hunting ground. Picture: Kevin McGlynn
Share this article
2
Have your say

Sometimes the lure of the bright lights of the city just cannot be resisted, and pleasure-seeking creatures will do whatever it takes to join the party.

For a stray cat in the Outer Hebrides, stowing away on a small cruise boat and sailing 200 nautical miles to Oban was the obvious solution.

But the cat, who arrived in the town on Friday, was quickly identified as one of Harris’s top mousers and fishermen on Leverburgh whose creels she protects from rats want her home.

However, as there is no direct sailing from Oban to Leverburgh on Harris, an appeal has gone out for someone to offer free passage home for the wanderer.

The cat, which hopped on board the cruise boat when it called in at Harris after a trip to St Kilda, is a member of a much-loved feral colony which tackles rats blamed for damaging nets belonging to prawn fishermen.

Cat lover Angel Hutchison, from Barcaldine near Oban, who knew where the boat had been, realised the cat could only have come from Leverburgh. She then boarded the boat and captured the cat.

The moggy spent the weekend at a local vet’s surgery before being taken in by the Argyll Animal Aid charity yesterday.

The charity’s chairwoman Jean Sutherland said: “We now have to try and get it back to Harris, that is the bottom line, we need to find some kind soul to take it back up there.

“Someone from Harris contacted the vets in Oban by Facebook, the fishermen want it back and we will get it back.”

She added: “Cats do travel miles, they go in all sorts of things and can end up 500 miles away, I think that is why they have got nine lives.”

Neillie MacAulay, a prawn fisherman from Harris, said: “We used to be pestered with a lot of rats and we had a problem with them biting holes in the creels and leaving a terrible mess, but since the cats have been here there are no rats whatsoever. This one must have just gone on holiday to Oban.”

Mr MacAulay said there would be a fish supper waiting for the moggy when it returns.

“We fish for prawns, but we keep any fish we get for the cats – they are always hanging around waiting for us when we come back in from sea.”

John MacLennan, who has a garage workshop at Leverburgh, said: “We would welcome this cat back, there must be about 15 of them and we have kittens appearing now. We feed them every day.

“Most of them are nice, although they have a wild streak in them, and they keep the mice and rats away.”