Highlands & Islands

Oban's stowaway cat returned to Isle of Harris

Stowaway cat Image copyright Argyll Animal Aid
Image caption The cat is one of a group of cats looked after by fishermen in Leverburgh

A cat that sneaked onboard a yacht and ended up about 200 nautical miles away in Oban in Argyll has been returned to its home in the Western Isles.

The animal was given a temporary home in the town while efforts were made to return it to Leverburgh where it is looked after by local fishermen.

Argyll Animal Aid said it was from a group of feral cats that fishermen rely on to control rat and mice populations.

The charity helped to arrange its return passage at the weekend.

The cat spent a week in Oban, where it was found to be a male rather than a female as was originally thought. He was neutered, before being taken back to Leverburgh.

The cat's journey by sea becoming a news story last week helped to attract offers of a lift back home.

Jean Sutherland, of Argyll Animal Aid, said the offers had included one from Scottish airline Loganair.

She said: "We had various offers from kind folk, including Loganair, but these would have meant involving different people at different stages."

'Wreck nets'

A woman called Cathi Bertin offered to take him by car and then by ferry to Harris where she has family.

Ms Sutherland said: "Cathi's door to door offer was very much appreciated. He was collected from the ferry on Harris and deposited back with his mates in the feral colony that the fishermen feed in order that the cats stay about and get rid of the rats that would otherwise wreck their nets."

The Leverburgh cats are used to moving between fishing boats while they are tied up, said Ms Sutherland. The one that ended up in Oban may have mistaken the yacht as a place to hunt mice.

Ms Sutherland added: "All in all an eventful week for one young pussy cat."

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