The McLeod family complete with Tiga a friendly 11 year old ginger Tom Cat and Tara an aging black Labrador set off on a 400 mile journey from Doncaster to Ardtornish Estate for their first, festive Highland retreat.
Tired but relieved to have arrived, Thomas and his wife set about making the remote stone built cottage their home for Christmas 2016. Whilst they were in the process of emptying the car, Tiga, quick as a flash made a dart for it and headed off into the wilderness.
Despite the family and Ardtornish Estates team’s best efforts, hours of searching proved to be fruitless and the family had no option but to reluctantly return home to Doncaster minus Tiga.
Missing cat posters were distributed and social media feeds were lit up with pleas to find the friendly Ginger cat but days passed and with typical West Coast weather hope for his wellbeing was fading.
One Estate resident, Anna, was confident that she had seen him and was certain that she would find him, so she dedicated hours of her personal time both dawn and dusk searching the Estate grounds.
A heart-warming trust was built between them, cemented by fleeting visits by Tiga, the constant cycle of full and empty food bowls and distant, desperate Meows which were always reassured by a comforting reply from Anna.
Her dogged determination was rewarded while we enlisted the help and experience of local Wildlife guide Matt Wilson who set a camouflaged trap which eventually captured Tiga safely.
Warm, comforted and with a full tummy, Tiga was returned to Doncaster and reunited with his family.
Upon reflection, we will never know what this house cat, living in an alien rural environment has endured……. Pine Martens, Foxes and Feral Cats are just a few of the natives he was living side by side with.
If only cats could talk!