Leeds & West Yorkshire

Vicar's stowaway cat extends French heatwave holiday

Rev Jane Brown said everyone was very relieved when Squishy made it back home to Garforth
Image caption Rev Jane Brown said everyone was very relieved when Squishy made it back home to Garforth

A cat stowed away in its owners' caravan, turning their one-week holiday in France into a three-week saga.

Squishy needed a passport and rabies jab after being found under the bed by Leeds couple Jane and Paul Brown.

The regulations meant Squishy had to stay in the caravan for 21 days - during a heatwave.

Ms Brown, a vicar at St Mary's in Garforth, had to go back to work after a week so her husband stayed behind and gardened to pay their keep.

Squishy, an eight-year-old tortoiseshell, was in the caravan for 24 hours before the Browns' heard a miaow during their lunch.

"Squishy was in a storage area under the bed; she came out very pleased to see us but we were thinking, 'What do we do?'" Rev Brown said.

Image caption Squishy now has her own European pet passport

More Yorkshire stories

The Browns phoned their vets in Wetherby and extended their holiday to three weeks at a cost of an extra £500.

Mr Brown took on gardening jobs at a campsite in the Morvan region, near Dijon, in exchange for free accommodation.

"We were really worried about Squishy in the heat so Paul moved her as north as he could, to Le Touquet near Calais," Ms Brown said. "But the heatwave moved further north, too!"

Image caption Eight-year-old Squishy had to be kept cool with ice blocks and wet cloths

At one point the caravan reached 51C (124F), and Mr Brown had to use a wet flannel and ice packs to cool the cat.

"To let you do that, you can tell how much she needed it," Rev Brown said.

Squishy and Mr Brown returned home on Saturday to a warm welcome from the congregation at St Mary's.

Image caption Paul Brown stayed on for the extra two weeks with Squishy, taking her north in a failed attempt to escape the heat

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story