The Cat That Crossed the Irish Sea

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.

PIC FROM MERCURY PRESS (PICTURED: L-R: ZAPPA AND HER OWNER JULIE BLAIR WITH ANIMAL RESCUES AMY MERCER) A cat has been reunited with his owner 18 months after mysteriously crossing the Irish Sea. The grey-and-white moggy called Zappa was rescued in Speke Hall Road in Liverpool, Merseyside, on July 13 after a member of the public called charity Garston Animal Rescue to report him eating from takeaway bins. But staff at the rescue centre were dumbfounded when they scanned the micro-chip inside the cat and discovered that the feline was registered in Northern Ireland capital Belfast.
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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.

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2 thoughts on “The Cat That Crossed the Irish Sea”

  1. Glad to know about this re-union, and all the others that have been possible only because of the micro-chip. This is one thing that vets do that can actually save cats and dogs. I know that there are some problems with them at times, but I’d take that chance, because without it there’s no way for our pets to be re-united with us, especially when separated by a distance and turned into a shelter. Even if our pet ends up dead from an accident or an intentional killing, at least the micro chip can give us information and closure that we otherwise would never have.

    • Absolutely agree with you Sandy. Even when the cat ends up in an entirely different part of the UK microchipping still works great and as you say it saves lives. The risk of complications from microchipping is far outweighed by the benefits.


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