Pet cat spends three weeks in recycling centre after hopping into neighbour’s van

Pet cat spends three weeks in recycling centre after hopping into neighbour’s van

A pet cat has been found safe and well after spending three weeks in a recycling centre.

Gemma Hutchinson-James, 38, said two-year-old Opie ran out and hopped into a neighbour’s van that was going to Shepperton Community Centre in Surrey on September 25.

When the resident told others on the road about the tabby cat, Gemma quickly realised it was hers and started looking for him, reports Surrey Live.

She said: “From that day onwards I was backwards and forwards from the tip but as you can imagine it’s such a busy, noisy and hectic place that it felt like such a mammoth task. I thought ‘how am I going to get him back?'”

The centre’s manager called her to say Opie had been spotted a few days after she put up posters at the site.

Gemma praised Mark, Adam and Trevor – workers at the site – and said they were “amazing all the way through”.

They regularly gave her phone updates on new sightings and allowed her early access to the centre.

She said: “Nobody could catch him – every time someone went near he ran away. And this went on for three weeks.”

Gemma eventually contacted Surrey Missing Pet Support C.I.C. via Facebook.

The charity organised the setting up of wildlife cameras and bait traps inside the centre to catch Opie.

Gemma, who is a trauma and orthopaedic nurse, had given up hope of finding him after three weeks – but on October 12 the charity managed to find the cat.

She said her daughter Amelie, 11, was worried for their pet due to the machines at the recycling centre.

But Opie did not get hurt, as Gemma explained: “He still managed to come home without a mark on him.

“The funny thing is that when he came home he just looked at me and started purring and jumped in my arms and licked me – it was really sweet.”

However, Opie started making “distressed” and “horrific” crying noises in between the purrs.

She said: “The only way I was going to stop this is to wake up my girl because she and the cat are so attached.

“So I woke Amelie at midnight and I was crying and trying to compose myself. I told her and she ran downstairs and scooped him up and he stopped the weird crying.”

Gemma said her daughter was “really overwhelmed” and kept asking to be pinched because she thought it was a dream.

Opie was checked over by a vet upon his return although is now “very clingy and scared”, the owner said.

But Gemma is grateful to be reunited with their beloved cat, saying it’s like “all her Christmases come at once”.

She added: “The staff at the recycling centre went above and beyond for my family and I took down some goodies for them just to say thank you.

“There were even humble about that saying they didn’t want anything.

“I was just blown away at how lovely there were and I spoke to the site’s manager and they are making a £500 donation to the charity as well – incredible.”