Relay of strangers help elderly rescue cats travel 300 miles to new home

The elderly cats are inseparable.
The elderly cats are inseparable.
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A pair of rescue cats were driven 300 MILES to their new home in a four stage relay made up of strangers who came forward after seeing their plight on Twitter.

Elderly tabbies Benny and Barney were driven down the country during nine hours to their final destination in Portsmouth.

Benny and Barney were helped by strangers on their travels to their new home.

Benny and Barney were helped by strangers on their travels to their new home.

The relay started in Keighley, with a woman from Leeds making the journey to Pontefract.

The second leg was with the help of a volunteer from Pontefract looked after the cats while a woman from Huntingdon drove up to pick up Benny and Barney and then made her way back home.

The third leg was from Hutingdon to Oxford and the final leg from Oxford to Portsmouth.

The cats were originally taken in by Keighley Cat Care rescue centre (KCC) after they were rescued from a home in a joint operation to take in 30 cats from a squalid.

But after six months the feline friends had still not been adopted and an appeal was put out on Twitter.

Welfare officer at KCC, Angela Gray, said: “The problem was that they were so inseparable that they had to be re-homed together.

“Then with the added complication that they are elderly and have some health problems, it meant that they were still here six months later and we were desperately wanting to get them to their forever home.”

Benny is 14-years-old and Barney is also thought to be in his teens.

The rescue centre did not know their history and how they had come to be so close, whether they were related or how long they had been together, but, Angela said: “In all the time I have been here I have never seen anything like it.”

The pair were so close that they follow each other everywhere, they eat together and when they sleep they snuggle together in a little ball.

“You can’t tell where one starts and the other ends,” said Angela.

“They do everything together, they are like a couple who’ve been married for 50 years.”

When the centre appealed on Twitter they managed to find a perfect home within a month - the problem was it was almost 300 miles away.

But amazingly, without any prompting from the centre, followers of their cat call on Twitter started to get together, creating their own group to orchestrate their journey down south.

Angela said: “In the end it was four people, including the owner, who had sorted the journey, the itinerary, with drop off times, rests and collections all arranged.

“We did nothing at all. It was simply the kindness of strangers. Before this, none of the people knew each other.

“It was so heartwarming.”

Their whole overnight hitchhike was documented on Twitter with the hashtag #ProjectB2.

A woman in Italy even helped with the social media and publicised their mammoth drive with a mock-up of car travelling down the country with the two cats’ heads popping out the windows.

They were set off in separate cat carriers but the drivers made sure they were facing each other on the back seats of the cars to make them feel better.

One driver noticed the pair were reaching out to each other with their paws.

They were set off on their journey with a travel pack of toys and treats to keep them going.

The cats’ journey began at 1.20am on Monday January 23, and ended in Portsmouth at 10.21am - a staggering nine hours later.

Angela said: “We cannot thank our Twitter followers enough. What they did is wonderful.”