FERRY STORY: Stowaway cat reunited with family in Oban after sea crossing

Doug Craig and Tia
Mr Craig brought Tia back to Oban after their 100-mile adventure.

A stowaway cat has been reunited with her owners after travelling a hundred miles in the back of a van to Coll.

Tia sneaked inside her neighbour Doug Craig’s van as he was loading it to fix a broadband connection at Coll’s fire station.

Several hours later, after the Openreach engineer had completed the job, he spotted her in the van.

The pet was reunited with owners Elyse and Martin Hamilton and their children Stanley and Beatrix the following day.

Tia the cat
Tia enjoyed a three-hour ferry crossing to Arinagour

Unbeknown to the driver, Tia was in the van for a three-hour ferry crossing to Arinagour in the Inner Hebrides.

The 31-year-old noticed hairs all over his tool bag and said he got the fright of his life when he saw two eyes shining out from the back of his van.

Mr Craig said: “At first I thought a Coll cat had sneaked in but then I got a closer look and recognised her from home.

“I thought ‘Oh no, I’ve cat-napped my neighbours’ pet’!

“I’ve heard of other curious cats climbing into colleagues’ vans on occasion – but I’ve never heard of one that went to sea on a 100-mile round trip.”

Mr Craig got a message to his mum in Oban to let his neighbours know where Tia was.

He quickly got supplies of tuna and biscuits before the island’s general store closed for the afternoon.

Tia slept in the back of the van while Mr Craig pitched up a tent for the night, before catching a ferry back to Oban the next day.

man and children
Doug Craig with Tia’s humans Stanley, aged seven, and Beatrix, aged five

Her owners hadn’t realised she was missing until Mr Craig’s mum knocked on their door.

Mrs Hamilton said: “She’s snuck off for wee excursions in other cars before – and even gone to work with Martin – but taking a holiday to Coll is wildly adventurous, even for her!

“We’re beyond grateful to Doug for taking such good care of her – as I was trying to fathom how we would manage a trip to Coll to bring her home.

“We’re hoping she’s had quite enough adventures for a while, although she seems to have really warmed up to Doug and we could see her trying it again to get spoiled!”

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