A CAT which was rescued in Kuwait by a Hartlepool woman – and then shipped 3,000 miles to live with her parents in the town – has gone missing.
Louise Draper, 26, took in the cat called Toffee along with its best friend, Phoenix, and paid £2,000 to have them quarantined and shipped to Hartlepool to live with her mum Pat.
But just months after coming to town for a better life, Toffee has gone missing and the Draper family are appealing for her safe return.
Pat, 50, who gave the Middle Eastern cats a home at her house in Dumfries Road, in the Rossmere area of town, said: “I’m really distressed about it.
“It’s such a shame that they didn’t have the best start in life and they’ve travelled all this way from Kuwait to Hartlepool, only for one of them to get lost.
“It’s heartbreaking and I’d really appreciate it if anyone can help us find her.”
Pat was given the cats by Louise after she moved to Kuwait three years ago to pursue a teaching career after leaving Durham University.
She adopted the oldest cat Phoenix, aged three, when she was a volunteer for a Kuwaiti organisation called Paws for cruelly treated and abandoned animals, and took in and cared for two-and-a-half-year-old Toffee after seeing her being used as a football by a gang of youths.
The animal-lover then decided to send the two cats to Hartlepool to live with her parents and saved up the £2,000 for quarantine, passports and other legal costs to get them here at the end of June.
Civil servant Pat, who also lives with her husband, Derrick, 52, a Nissan engineer, gradually introduced the cats to going outdoors and for two months the cats came and went freely, never straying.
But on August 27, Pat says Toffee never returned and has not been seen since.
Pat says she has done everything she can to find her including putting up posters and handing out fliers, searching for her at night by torch-light, and even paying paper boys to seek out the absconding puss.
“The paper boys have been brilliant and have brought me all different coloured cats, a ginger one and black and white ones, but none of them have been the right one,” she said.
“I’ve made sure they took them back to where they found them though because I’d hate this to happen to anyone else.”
The mother-of-two said: “My daughter wanted the cats to come here for a better quality of life and I feel like I’ve let her down.
“She’s paid all of that money to get the pair of them here and I can’t believe Toffee’s gone missing. She doesn’t know how lucky she is.”
She added: “Toffee was always the little terror and would always go a little bit further.
“She was a proper character and was adventurous so I think she’s just gone a bit too far and has got lost.
“She isn’t worth any money, she’s not a pedigree or anything, but she’s my baby, she’s travelled all this way after a bad start in life and I’d love her back.”
Toffee has green eyes, is mainly white with several ginger patches, has a black spot on one ear, and a black and ginger stripy tail.
Anyone who has seen Toffee or knows where she is, can contact Pat on (01429) 290053 or (07742) 764475.