Mum's epic trip to bring lost cat Tinkerbell home
Amy McNeill with her son
Jake, 5, and her cat Tinkerbell - who went missing 18 months ago,
and ended up in Warwickshire
A disabled mother braved a nine-hour 350-mile round trip to
reunite her young son with a beloved pet - that had been
missing for 18 months.
Jake McNeill, five, was devastated when his tabby cat Tinkerbell
disappeared in July 2011.
For months he asked his mother Amy when the cat would be back,
but there was no trace.
Then, earlier this month Amy received a phone call from a vet's
surgery to say Tinkerbell had been found safe and well - in
Amy, 26, who suffers from the debilitating spinal condition
ankylosing spondylitis and walks with the help of two sticks, set
off on the journey to bring him home.
Speaking from her home in Brunswick Court, Ramsgate, she said:
"I couldn't believe what I was hearing when Vicky from the vet’s
"She said they had managed to trace Tinkerbell through his
"I've moved house since it was inserted, but she did some
detective work and found us. We have absolutely no idea how he
ended up so far away, but I knew I had to get him back."
Amy travelled by train, tube and taxi to get to the surgery in
Southam, seven miles from Leamington Spa.
She said: "My family said I was mad to make the journey, but I
did it. I couldn't have rested knowing that Tinkerbell was safe,
but too far away.
"However, on the way home, I did wonder if I'd done the right
thing because trying to carry a well-fed cat in a carrier onto two
trains and the Tube while walking with sticks is pretty
"But luckily, a few kind strangers took pity on me and helped
every step of the way and if it hadn’t been for their kindness, I
don't know how we would have made it home."
"Jake burst into tears when he saw him, he was so happy. Tinkerbell rolled around as if to say ‘I’m back’ " – Jake's mum Amy
Amy is telling her
story partly to thank everyone who helped her. She said: "It's been
amazing to see how much people will do to help someone who needs
Amy is particularly grateful to student veterinary Vicky Gresty
at Avondale Vets in Southam, who managed to track her down.
She said: “Vicky didn’t give up. When she realised the phone
number on the microchip wasn’t right, she phoned the vet who had
inserted it and they phoned me. The staff at Avondale were all so
“Then there was the taxi driver who picked me up from Leamington
Spa station – he waited outside the vet’s for over an hour and took
me back to the station but only charged me a fraction of the
Amy said the trip was worth it to see the look on Jake's face
when Tinkerbell arrived home.
She said: "Jake burst into tears when he saw him, he was so
happy. Tinkerbell rolled around as if to say ‘I’m back’ and they’ve
been inseparable ever since."
Practice manager Diane Goddard said Tinkerbell was brought to
them as a stray and was having a routine check-up before rehoming.
The vet scanned him as a matter of course, but we were surprised
with the result.
"He was very healthy and had been well looked after.
"Perhaps he jumped into a delivery van in Kent. We don’t know
how he got here but he obviously decided it was time to go
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