A GRUMPY tomcat was within minutes of being put down when he was adopted – by the vet summoned to end his life.
Drew Robertson, a Normandy war-hero, died aged 92 earlier this year leaving six-year-old Sam without anyone to care for him.
The battle-scarred, semi-feral moggie is notorious among locals in Burghead, Moray, as moody and a “fighter” and no-one would offer him a new home.
But when vet Bethan Fitzgerald arrived to put Sam to sleep she couldn’t go ahead with the procedure.
Sam was purring, and even “bonded” with the student vet sent out to observe his demise. Bethan decided instead to take Sam home and give him a new life.
Bethan said: “I went out to put Sam to sleep after a call from one of Mr Robertson’s friends.
“Because he is classed as ‘feral’ it was very unlikely he would be rehomed, so it was decided to put him down.
“But when we went to put him down he was purring. We had just got into the house when he started purring. It helped that I had a student vet with me who bonded with Sam.
“I decided not to do it.”
“I had been looking for a cat myself but the cat I was meant to be getting fell through, so I decided that I would take Sam because he was less likely to be rehomed.”
Sam is now best pals with Bethan’s five-year-old daughter, Eira.
Bethan said: “He’s just the friendliest cat now, he’s so laid back.
“My daughter says he looks so angry all the time and Sam loves her.”
The vet’s change of heart is all the more remarkable because the pair had met before.
She said: “The first time I met Sam was when he was taken in to us by Mr Robertson’s carers who were worried about him.
“He had really matted fur and he also had a split tooth. He was also a bit podgy which explains why his fur was so matted.
“He actually hissed at me when I went to stroke him.”
After the death of Mr Robertson, a friend, Janet Glendinning, took the difficult decision to call the vet and put him to sleep.
Janet said: “Sam was Drew’s absolute favourite, he had him from a kitten and he would have been devastated to have seen Sam put down.
“It was actually the day before Drew’s funeral when the vet came out and I was so relieved when she said she would take him.”