2 May 2023
A beloved one-year-old pet cat who was found in a pile of donated blankets at Battersea’s Old Windsor centre has now returned home, after it was discovered the stowaway feline had secretly crawled into her owners’ donation bag without them knowing.
Staff at the animal welfare charity’s Berkshire centre were shocked to find the young grey Domestic Short-hair nestled in blankets whilst sorting through donations. Unsure if the cat, who was not microchipped at the time, was a stray or a well-loved pet who had snuck into the bag, Battersea named her Slinky and tried to solve the mystery. After caring for her for two days, staff received a call from her concerned owners looking for their lost pet.
Just a few hours later, her owner Elaine rushed into the centre to retrieve her cat, whose real name was Lola.
The story comes two months after the Government introduced legislation to make the microchipping of all pet cats compulsory, which will make it significantly easier for rescues like Battersea to reunite worried owners with their much-loved pets should they go missing.
Old Windsor Centre Manager Kaye Mughal said: “At Old Windsor we’ve seen a lot of peculiar scenarios in our 40-year history, but a stowaway cat is a Battersea first!
“In this particular scenario we were unable to immediately inform the owners that we had their pet cat at our centre because she wasn’t microchipped, so it was simply a waiting game to see if anyone got in touch about a lost pet. We were so delighted to receive a call two days later asking whether we’d had any cats come in matching Lola’s description.
“We only wish we could have let the worried family know sooner that she was in safe hands here, but are nevertheless so pleased to know she’s now back at home where she belongs.”
It comes as the charity reports that almost two thirds (59 per cent) of the cats brought to its centres in 2022 were not microchipped, compared to only 21 per cent of dogs. Dog microchipping has been mandatory in the UK since 2016.
Lola’s owner Elaine said: “We quickly realised that Lola had gone missing and had just assumed she must have escaped. We spent hours searching and calling her name but nothing. A couple of days had passed with no sign, so we had the idea to ring Battersea to see if someone had found her and taken her there. A lovely lady answered and to my surprise she started to speak about the donations I had dropped off around Friday lunchtime. She then quickly stated that whilst sorting through the donations a little grey head had popped out. Our mischievous Lola had gotten inside the blanket bag, curled up underneath them and must’ve fallen asleep! We couldn’t believe it – we were so shocked!
“We are so grateful for the team at Battersea for taking good care of her until we were reunited. She is now fully back to her playful self and we now know for future reference to always check inside bags!”
Under the new rules, owners will have until 10 June 2024 to microchip their cat and ensure their contact details are stored and kept up-to-date in a pet microchipping database.
Battersea scans every animal for a microchip when they first arrive and will make sure every dog and cat is microchipped before going on to their new homes.
For further advice on pet microchipping, visit the Battersea website here: https://www.battersea.org.uk/.