Wandering cat gets VIP flight home from an oil platform after spending five years lost in his home town

A stowaway cat who spent part of his life on the run being fed in a tough Scottish prison has been reunited with his owners – after he was flown to safety from a North Sea oil platform.

The cat – who was known to staff and inmates at HMP Grampian in Peterhead as ‘One-eyed Joe’ – was discovered in a store room onboard an oil rig in the North Sea.

Described as ‘friendly’, it is believed he stowed away in a shipping container in a Peterhead oil industry supplies yard where he was also regularly fed by staff.

The container was loaded onto a supply vessel and delivered to the platform where the fearless feline went wandering again on the scrounge for a meal.

Dexter is back on dry land in the safe hands of the Scottish SSPCA.

After befriending workers Joe became a celebrity guest, albeit briefly, as the installation’s owners adhered to strict health and safety rules and raised the alarm about his presence offshore

The Scottish SPCA then sent one of its animal rescuers to meet Joe after he was whisked from the platform to Aberdeen Heliport and dry land.

It was only when he was back at the national animal charity’s shelter that his true identity was revealed by a scan of his implanted microchip.

And far from being a feral cat that nobody wanted, Joe turned out to be a much-loved missing family pet called Dexter, .

Dexter makes the most of his 15 minutes of fame with a good neck scratch. Pic: Scottish SPCA

The wandering cat had vanished from his owners’ home in Peterhead more than five years ago and survived largely thanks to his good nature, scrounging food at the local prison, residents and workers at Asco, an oil and gas exploration service in the town.

News of his discovery aboard the rig first emerged in a social media post by the wife of an oil worker along a picture of of the cat and an appeal for his owners to come forward.

The post read: “My husband is offshore just now on night shift and this poor cat was found in a stores container last night.”

It said: “Anyone missing a black cat with one eye with very slight white marking on his chest?

'This cage will never hold me' - Dexter is being deterred from wandering off again. Pic: Scottish SPCA

“Believe it or not, he has turned up offshore, was found in one of the stores containers. Very friendly cat and is needing reunited with his owner.”

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Following the post, dozens of people claimed to know him with many Peterhead locals claiming that either they fed him or knew someone who did.

The Scottish SPCA was alerted to the Dexter’s presence on the rig on Thursday and he was flown back to Aberdeen on a scheduled helicopter flight on Friday morning.

Dexter was kept in a makeshift cage in an oil rig store room.

Animal rescue officer, Aimee Findlay said: “We were alerted to an incident of a cat being found offshore.

“We’ve no idea how the cat ended up there, but attended the heliport this morning to collect him.

“The cat had been nicknamed ‘One-eyed Joe’ by the prison who had been feeding him for five years, but after checking him for a microchip it turns out his real name is Dexter and he has been missing for five years.

“We are so glad that he was well looked after for the time he was missing, but were even more delighted to be able to reunite him with his original owner thanks to his microchip being up to date.”

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