Page last updated at 18:40 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Cat returns from Spain ferry trip

Sandy the cat
Sandy's owners believe he was stolen before ending up on a ferry

A cat that went missing in Hampshire turned up on a cross-channel ferry as it arrived in Bilbao, Spain.

Sandy the ginger tom went missing from his home in Lee-on-Solent on 10 December.

He was discovered on the vehicle deck of the Pride of Bilbao as it docked at the Spanish port on Monday morning and returned to the UK the next day.

Sandy's owners face a bill of about £2,000 for fees while the cat spends six months in quarantine.

Luckily Sandy had been micro chipped so staff on the P&O ferry were able to find out where he was from.

'Sting in tail'

Sandy's owner Tim Austin believes his cat was stolen.

He said: "My wife went and delivered leaflets through doors but he was out of the country all the time.

"We were surprised that he was on a ferry because there was no way he could have got there by himself.

"Without the chip, almost certainly the animal would have been put down and we would have never known."

Sandy was returned to the UK on Tuesday evening but was met by DEFRA officers and has to stay in quarantine for six months.

Mr Austin said: "The fact that the cat is now in quarantine is just something that has to happen.

"But, quite surprising and a sting in the tail, is that it will cost about £2,000 by the time all the bills are paid including the kennel fees if he has to stay there for six months.

"He didn't leave the boat but he left UK waters and that's the issue but we don't have a problem with that. We are allowed to appeal and we will do that and whatever the result, we will abide by that."

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Sandy the ginger tom went missing on 10 December



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