A holidaymaker has spent £1,000 to bring a starving kitten back to England after falling in love with the vulnerable animal on a Greek island holiday.
Rejected by his mum and battling to survive with only half a tail and an injured leg, the tiny kitten was discovered by Ali Gill, of Penzance, Cornwall.
Now the compassionate holidaymakers has paid more than £1,000 in air tickets, taxi fares and vets’ bills in a two-month-long international rescue moggy mission to fly the little bundle of fur back to Britain.
She’s made a loving new home for the twelve-week-old kitten who she’s named Squeak because of the pitiful cries he made when she first saw him.
The story began when Ali went to the tiny island of Tilos in the Aegean just over two months ago to stay with a friend, the author Jennifer Barclay.
Squeak was surviving in a cardboard box in an abandoned house in Megalo Horio. He had only half a tail and was rejected by his mother.
Times continued to be tough for Squeak when a bigger male cat attacked him, leaving him with an injured leg.
‘Despite his injuries he looked so lovely and healthy – not like so many of the other strays on the island and I didn’t want him to end up like all the rest.’
Her first thought was to find a home for Squeak on the island. Ali visited several potential homes for Squeak without any luck.
‘In the meantime, I realised I had grown very attached to Squeak, and started to look into taking him back to Cornwall’ said Ali, who lives with partner Lyn and their four pet cats.
She phoned all the airlines and found the service Airborne Pets, who told her that cats can only be transported from Rhodes to the UK in the hold of the plane.
‘The cost was high – £540 to £680, depending on the flight – but at least I knew he’d be safe, and would only have to endure a few hours of distress for a comfortable, healthy life.’
The main question remaining was how to get Squeak from the kennels on to the plane after his stay in the quarantine kennels, because Ali had to go back to Cornwall ahead of him to return to work.
‘Then I met a taxi driver called Andonis, who had driven me back from the vet to my hotel with Squeak in his box. Andonis had two rescue cats of his own.
‘Thankfully, Andonis kept his promise – on the day of the flight, he picked up Squeak from the kennels and chauffeured him to Rhodes airport.”
At the eleventh hour, Squeak was on board for a four-hour flight to the UK.
‘It ended up being a much more expensive holiday than I thought! Squeak is becoming confident with our other cats.”