Stowaway cat gets lift back from Oban to Harris home

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A stowaway cat which travelled 200 miles to Oban after stealing a ride on a boat from Harris went home via a scenic land and sea route yesterday.

Cat lover Cathi Bertin was one of many folk who offered to help after an animal charity made a national appeal to get the top mouser back to Leverburgh, Harris.

Island fishermen had called for the moggy’s safe return as it belongs to a colony of feral cats which keep rats away from their fishing creels.

Jean Sutherland, of Argyll Animal Aid, said that the cat had been collected by Mrs Bertin yesterday to be driven through some of the best scenery in the Highlands, to Uig on Skye, before they both boarded the ferry back to Harris.

Ms Sutherland said: “We had a few offers of help, I even had Loganair on saying that if I took the cat to Glasgow they would fly it over to Harris.

“But Cathi collected the cat directly from us, as she passed our road end, to drive to Uig, on Skye, to catch the ferry to Tarbert, Harris.”

Mrs Bertin, from Kilmartin, Argyll, who was going to visit family on the island, said: “My daughter-in-law mentioned about the cat after she saw it on Facebook. I have a cat myself and I am glad to help. We all have to help each other.”

Garage workshop owner John MacLennan, who feeds the Harris cat colony every day, arranged to collect the cat from Mrs Bertin at Tarbert, and to drive it back to join its feline family in Leverburgh.

The cat arrived in Oban last Friday after being found on board a vessel which had returned to the port after calling in at Leverburgh, on its way from a trip to St Kilda.

And before his holiday in Oban came to an end, Argyll Animal Aid arranged for the cat to be given a thorough examination at the local vets.

Ms Sutherland said: “We had originally thought it was a female cat, but it turned out that she was a he, so he was neutered, he had his teeth and ears checked, and was de-flead and wormed. He had a complete make-over, so he can swank around when he gets back home.”

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.