Cat reunited with owner 18 months after crossing Irish sea on ferry

Woman has no idea how her pet managed to make it to Liverpool

Updated: 
Cat reunited with owner 18 months after crossing Irish sea on ferry

A cat has been reunited with his owner 266 miles from home - 18 months after he is believed to have mysteriously crossed the Irish Sea on a ferry.

Grey-and-white moggy Zappa was rescued in Speke Hall Road in Liverpool, Merseyside, on 13 July after a member of the public called charity Garston Animal Rescue to report him eating from takeaway bins.

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But staff at the rescue centre were dumbfounded when they scanned the pet's microchip and discovered that the feline was registered to an address in Northern Ireland capital Belfast.

Owner Julie Blair, 43, from Belfast, who works at Irish dog rescue centre Cavaliers in Need, could not believe it when she was contacted to be told her cat had been found 18 months after disappearing without a trace.

The devoted cat lover made the eight-hour ferry trip to Liverpool last week to be reunited with the moggy, who staff had christened Danny Boy after learning of his Irish roots.

But neither Nancy Lindsay of Garston Animal Rescue nor Julie have any idea how Zappa made the 266-mile trip over the water.

Julie said: "I got the call to tell me that my cat had been found after 18 months and I was just expecting to be told that he had been found deceased.

"I was connected directly to Nancy and she was understandably quite cautious and asked me a few questions so I sent her a few photographs showing the distinguishable mark under his chin and it was definitely Zappa.

"As I was speaking to Nancy, I suddenly cottoned on that she was speaking in an English accent so I asked her where she was calling from and she said 'Liverpool'.

"I thought that there must be a Liverpool Street in Belfast so I asked her if it was the city where the Beatles were from and she said 'yes'. I was stunned."

After finally being reunited with her lost pet, Julie insists despite the cost and travelling involved there was never any doubt she would have come to Zappa's aid.

And she said the feline was just as thrilled to see her when the pair met once again on Thursday.

Julie added: "I have absolutely no clue how he got there, I just hope it was not down to malice.

"I had feared that he had been attacked by a fox or shot while hunting because I live in quite a rural area.

"So it was a relieve to see that he is not only okay but he is in tip-top condition. He's as fat as the day he left.

"I had absolutely no hesitation to come and get him because I had bottle-fed him since he was an abandoned kitten and our family have his brothers and sisters.

"It was emotional reunion and he was a bit cautious at first, especially being around the other cats, but he definitely recognised me and he wouldn't stop meowing all the way home."

Nancy said: "In all our 30 years of running a rescue, we've never had a cat that's crossed the sea like this and in such mysterious circumstances.

"It's a total puzzle to us and we're sure there'll be lots of theories put forward.

"We're still getting over the shock of the discovery that this cat has made it across the Irish Sea.

"All our helpers on the one hand are racking their brains to fathom out what may have happened, and on the other hand they're just glad that this story has a wonderful fairytale ending where the cat is reunited with his more than happy human companion."

Donations can be made to Garston Animal Rescue at PO Box 233, Liverpool L69 7LF or via Paypal.

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