Lonely Planet Writer

Appeal launched for stowaway cat after epic journey from the Isle of Harris to the Scottish mainland

A stowaway cat took a 240 mile boat trip from its home on the Isle of Harris to the Scottish mainland, reports the Scotsman.

Tarbert Harbour, Isle of Harris.
Isle of Harris. Image by Getty Images

The cat hopped onboard the cruise yacht when it called in at Leverburgh, on Harris, on its way back from the remote island of St Kilda. The cat arrived at the port town of Oban, and is now looking for a passage back to Harris, since there are no direct sailings between Oban and Leverburgh. The stowaway is one of a number of feral cats who keep rats away from local fishermen’s catch. Prawn fisherman Nellie MacAulay told the Scotsman “We used to be pestered with a lot of rats and we had a problem with them biting holes in the creels and leaving a terrible mess, but since the cats have been here there are no rats whatsoever. This one must have just gone on holiday to Oban.”

Intrepid cat finds himself lost in Scotland.
Intrepid cat finds himself lost in Scotland. Image by Sean MacEntee / CC BY 2.0

The cat was identified when an Oban cat lover looked into the boat’s itinerary and realised the animal must have boarded at Leverburgh. A Facebook enquiry confirmed confirmed her hunch, and an appeal has now been launched. “We now have to try and get it back to Harris, that is the bottom line, we need to find some kind soul to take it back up there,” explained Argyll Animal Aid spokesperson Jean Sutherland. “Cats do travel miles, they go in all sorts of things and can end up 500 miles away, I think that is why they have got nine lives.”

Harris has spectacular scenery and is famous for its tweed fabric. It sits in the Outer Hebrides, an island chain to the northwest of Britain. Rugged St Kilda is the Outer Hebrides’ westernmost point. It is a major breeding site for birds and in 1986 became the first Unesco World Heritage Site in Scotland.