Zappa is a grey, tabby-and-white domestic cat. His home is in Belfast, N. Ireland. His human companion is Julie Blair. She works at the Irish dog rescue centre Cavaliers in Need.
Zappa went missing 18 months ago. Julie thought he had died; killed by a fox or shot by a hunter. Then she got a telephone call from Nancy Lindsay of Garston Animal Rescue in Liverpool. Fortunately Zappa had been microchipped indicating that he was registered in Belfast. Nancy telephoned Julie and asked her a few questions and emailed her photographs of Zappa which showed a distinguishing mark under his chin. This confirmed that the cat was Zappa.
What Julie found rather strange was that Nancy’s accident was English so she asked Nancy where she lived. Her response was “Liverpool”. Julie thought she meant Liverpool Street in Belfast but eventually the conversation turned around to the fact that Nancy was calling from Liverpool in England and that Zappa had been found in Speke Hall Road, Liverpool, Merseyside, across the Irish Sea from Northern Ireland. Zappa had been spotted eating from takeaway rubish bins.
Neither Nancy nor Julie have any idea how Zappa ended up in Liverpool except the obvious, namely that he wandered onto a boat and then meandered off it when it docked at Liverpool. For a short while he was the ship’s cat.
Julie travelled to Liverpool, quite possibly on the same boat that Zappa had travelled on to be reunited with her cat.
“I had 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 an emotional reunion and he was a bit cautious at first, especially being around the other cats, but he definitely recognise me and he wouldn’t stop meowing all the way home.”
Nancy Lindsay said:
“In all our 30 years of running a rescue, we’ve never had a cat that crossed the sea like this.”
If you’re a cat owner living near docks…think again.