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Sunday, 30 September, 2001, 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK
Hollywood Tom loves to travel
Family with wandering tomcat
Tom has travelled 225 miles but keeps coming back
A tabby cat from Hollywood in Birmingham who has wanderlust is back home again after a 160-mile solo trip to England's south coast.

Tom's owners are not sure how he managed the long trip to Devon on his own, but they say he disappears quite often.

The two-year-old's latest trip was the sixth time in the last 18 months he has gone for an extended walkabout.

This time he spent seven weeks away from home before being sent back to his owners by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) thanks to a microchip containing his details.

Two boys with handsome tomcat
RSPCA: Keep the cat away from delivery vans

Tom's owner Helen Strange said: "When Tom disappeared for the first time we were prepared never to see him again, but thanks to the microchip he keeps on turning up."

"Devon is the furthest he has travelled yet. We have no idea how he got that far, but can only presume he hitches a lift," she said.

Mrs Strange, her husband Bill and children Tim, 11, and Michael, 8, have even drawn up a map showing Tom's travels.

RSPCA spokesperson Janet Kipling said: "We have no idea how he gets around the country.


He must be one of those curious cats who wants to see the whole of the country

Janet Kipling, RSPCA

"A couple of times he turned up with sore paws, so he may have walked. But there is no way he has walked to Devon.

"He must be one of those curious cats who wants to see the whole of the country," she said.

So far, Tom has clocked up about 225 miles on trips from his home in Hollywood, south Birmingham.

His previous expeditions were to Birmingham city centre - twice - and then to Alvechurch in Worcestershire, Tamworth in Staffordshire and Leamington Spa in Warwickshire.

Ended up in Exeter

His latest odyssey came to an end when he was found in Tedburn St Mary, near Exeter, Devon, at the beginning of September by a couple who fed him for two weeks.

When they went on holiday they handed him over to the RSPCA.

Staff at the centre scanned Tom and revealed a microchip containing a code, which gave his home details.

The RSPCA said it will be a challenge to keep the cat at home, but his owners definitely need to keep Tom away from open delivery vans or parked cars.


Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online

Click here to go to BBC Devon Online
See also:

17 Aug 01 | Wales
Charity's stray dog plea
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