Highlands & Islands

Cat stows away on Oban to Barra ferry

Sandra Graham and Luna Image copyright Moira Kerr
Image caption Luna was reunited with her owner Sandra Graham in Oban on Friday

A cat spent three days on a ferry that runs between Oban and the Isle of Barra before being reunited with its owner.

Luna is thought to have jumped into a holidaymaker's car that was driven on to the Caledonian MacBrayne (Calmac) ferry at Oban.

She was on the MV Isle of Lewis for three return trips before Calmac staff spotted an appeal her owner Sandra Graham had posted on social media.

Ms Graham was reunited with her pet in Oban on Friday.

Luna, whose journey involved a total of 450 nautical miles, went missing from her home in the Argyll town overnight last Monday into Tuesday.

On Tuesday, CalMac workers reported seeing a fleeting glimpse of what they thought was a cat on the car deck of the ferry as it sailed to Castlebay on Barra.

Staff managed to catch Luna on Thursday and thought she was one of the stray cats that roam the pier at Castlebay.

Puss in boats

Image copyright Argyll Animal Aid

Luna's nautical adventure comes a year after another moggy ended up on a boat from the Western Isles to Oban.

The cat sneaked onboard a yacht on the Isle of Harris and ended up about 200 nautical miles away in the Argyll town.

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

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

However, a call to Calmac's office in Oban, where a member of staff had seen the missing cat posters on Facebook, led to Luna being kept on board.

Kimmi Graham, a senior catering rating on the MV Isle of Lewis and a volunteer zoo keeper in her spare time, volunteered to look after Luna on her voyage home.

She said: "There is a little stray black cat in Barra that I always get off and feed and when they said there was a cat on the car deck I thought they were joking and trying to wind me up.

"Everybody came to visit her and she had a wee massage and she had her dinner - I got her some cat food on Barra and some fresh tuna, then we watched TV.

"She was happy enough, she had a look out of the cabin window and I made her a wee bed, but then she slept at the bottom of my bed."

'All brilliant'

Luna's owner Ms Graham was delighted to be reunited with her cat.

She said: "I have had her since she was eight weeks old and she has never been outside before. She is scared of noises and has never tried to get out.

"She sometimes goes off and sleeps around the house so I didn't think anything of not seeing her on Monday night but then, on Tuesday morning, she didn't come to my bedroom as usual, when the alarm went off, to get me to feed her and there was no sign of her."

The nursery assistant added: "I went to work and when she wasn't back on Tuesday night I put it on Facebook.

"I put her litter tray outside and hung a piece of my clothing out the window for her to get my scent. I went out into the back garden and shook her treats, but there was nothing.

"I just thought, 'cats will be cats', there is a lot of greenery around the house and I just thought she would be somewhere close to the house, I never thought she would be in Barra."

Ms Graham added: "All the ferry crew were really good and the staff in the ferry terminal, they were all brilliant.

"I will let her out if she wants to go but she has made no attempt to get out again."

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