By Melissa Clark
A STRAY cat that befriended staff at a Scots nursery turned out to have hitch-hiked from 200 miles away.
Tiger, a five-year-old tabby, turned up at the nursery in Edinburgh and charmed staff and children alike.
But six weeks later the truth emerged – Tiger’s real home was a four-hour drive away in Leeds.
It turned out the cat had jumped in to the back of a vehicle in the Morley area of the West Yorkshire city.
His owners had been frantically searching the streets for their beloved pet, not realising he was making new friends in the Scottish capital.
Tiger, who went missing on July 24, turned up shortly afterwards at the Cowgate under-5s centre in the bustling heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
Lian (corr) Higgins, depute manager at the nursery, said: “Each morning when the janitor arrived at 6am he was waiting at the door for him. That’s when we began to realise he doesn’t have a home.
“We decided to call him Freddie – he was so friendly with people and he would allow the children to pet him.
“He was always coming in to the nursery and making himself comfortable on something warm, like a printer or a hard drive.
“We think he was staying under the wooden play house in the nursery garden. There was a hole that went under the house, so he must have made his home in there.”
Staff eventually contacted the Scottish SPCA and Cats Protection who explained they should take Tiger to a vet to see if he has been microchipped.
The vet was quickly able to establish that Freddie from Edinburgh was, in fact, Tiger from Yorkshire.
Owners Sandra and Tom Hudson, and their children Tom, 17, and Molly, 13, had almost given up on finding Tiger again.
Lian said: “When we found out he had come that far under his own steam we just couldn’t believe it.
“I really am going to miss the guy.
“I was all set to adopt him if no-one came forward, but I am so glad he has been reunited with his owners.”
“The family were so happy to get him back. Tom and his daughter Mollie got the train up on Saturday.
“Tiger was so happy, he was purring away.
“When Mollie arrived at my house and called his name, he ran straight for her.
“The family are delighted.”
Sandra said: “The strangest thing is, Tiger doesn’t wander of roam about the streets, usually he just sits on the step.
“We could not believe how far he had gone- he must have got into a delivery van in our street. Molly is just over the mood to have him back. We can’t thank Lian enough forlooking after him.”
Tom Gatherer, Scottish SPCA deputy chief superintendent, said: “It is quite amazing that this cat managed to travel all the way to Edinburgh from Leeds and we are very glad he has now returned home.
“This incident highlights how important it is to have microchipped as without one it is extremely unlikely this cat would have been reunited with his owner.”