Stray cats can be a pain, but one British holidaymaker spent £1,000 bringing one back to Britain as her new pet.
A British holidaymaker ended her Greek Island holiday with a bill for £1,000 after falling in love with a vulnerable kitten she discovered on the tiny island of Tilos. A combination of airfares, vet bills and taxi bills were to blame for the eye watering fee but Ali Gill from Penzance says she has no regrets.
Rejected by his mother and with serious injuries to its leg and tail, 'squeak' had to wait two months for all the correct boxes to be ticked, allowing him to be reunited with his new guardian angel back in comparatively chilly Cornwall.
Ms Gill explained how she'd become so attached to the animal whilst enjoying her holiday. "I arrived at the end of May for a holiday ... and I quickly fell for him. He was very vocal as well as being playful, affectionate, plucky and determined to survive".
Ali's first thought was to attempt to rehouse Squeak on the island itself. However, it quickly became apparent that like on many other Greek Islands, Tilos was knee-deep in abandoned moggies. Greek cat lovers were already caring for far too many strays and with winter approaching the number of strays was only going to rise.
Greeks don't believe in neutering cats so the populations quickly get out of control. Twice a year foreign residents organise vets to arrive from nearby Rhodes to castrate cats in an attempt to contain the issue. With barely 300 residents on the island over winter, many strays are left to fend for themselves.
The journey back to England was never going to be easy. Ali phoned every airline she could think of and finally stumbled across the Airborne Pets service. There were two downsides to the service, firstly Squeak and Ali could only fly from Rhodes requiring a substantial ferry trip. Secondly it wasn't cheap, getting on towards £700 in fact.
Once in Rhodes, getting on the plane wasn't easy either. Ali had to factor in vets' bills for a microchip, inoculations and the cost of a pet passport. To fly to Britain, Squeak had to have flea and earmite treatments and a special crate approved by the airline.
Finally on the plane, Squeak was once again in danger as airport officials forgot to leave any water in the hold. This did in fact break several EU rules governing the transportation of animals.
However, despite the odds stacked against him, little Squeak finally emerged in Blighty, tired and hungry, but alive and ready to start his new life in Cornwall. Ali Gill is delighted with her new pet: 'Now he's settled in at our home. He's very cuddly and playful. He's bigger and stronger, and the wound on his leg hasn't healed completely but he no longer limps.
He may have tripled the cost of a Greek Island break, but in terms of holiday presents Squeak is a million times better than a stick of rock and a postcard. Certainly Ali Gill thinks so.