A kitten got trapped inside a furniture lorry travelling to the UK from Romania after it is thought he sneaked in “looking for somewhere cosy to sleep”.
The four-week-old stowaway, named Roman by his rescuers, was severely dehydrated when he was discovered by warehouse staff in Bedford.
He is thought to have been trapped on board the lorry for almost a week in baking temperatures.
Roman needed intensive care and intravenous fluids after he was taken in by volunteers from the Cats Protection charity, and he will spend three months in government-mandated quarantine.
Tamsin Eastwood, who works at the depot, is also the co-ordinator of Cats Protection’s nearby Bedford and Biggleswade Branch, so warehouse staff asked for her help when they found the tiny animal.
“It was clear that this poor kitten was in a bad way and needed urgent help so I grabbed a cat carrier and drove to the depot,” said Ms Eastwood.
“I asked them to check the truck for a mother cat or any other kittens, but there was only this one.
“It was a sad sight.
“The poor little thing was in a bad way.
“His eyes were stuck together and he was very weak.
“How he even had the strength to cry surprised me, but that was a good sign.
“He’s a little fighter and we knew what we had to do.
“We’ll never know Roman’s story or how he became trapped in the truck, but he probably snuck in looking for somewhere cosy to sleep and the next thing he was crossing borders in rising summer temperatures.
“He must have been very hot, frightened and desperately thirsty.
“It’s a miracle he survived at all in this weather.”
Roman was treated by a vet and transferred to a Defra-approved quarantine cattery, where he will stay for up to three months, sponsored by Cats Protection.
Naomi Williams, Cats Protection’s field veterinary officer, said that, on arrival, Roman was found to be underweight and severely dehydrated.
“He was also showing symptoms of cat flu, with swollen, inflamed eyes and lots of discharge that prevented him from being able to open them until they had been bathed by the nursing team,” she said.
“Roman was admitted to the vet’s for intravenous fluids and intensive supportive care, which included antibiotics and lots of TLC.
“Thankfully, he responded really well to the treatments and was well enough to be transferred to the quarantine cattery the following week.
“As Roman is still very young, the staff at the quarantine facility will continue to provide all the extra attention he needs, including a kitten socialisation programme to ensure he grows into a happy, confident cat.”
At around 12 weeks, he will be given a rabies vaccination before being returned to Cats Protection three weeks later for rehoming by the Bedford and Biggleswade Branch.
The cost of treatment is high so volunteers at the Cats Protection branch have launched a JustGiving page to raise money to cover the £1,600 bill.
– To donate, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/romanscpappeal