A sailor cat named Sandi travelled from Portsmouth UK to Bilbao Spain by ferry without prior notification to it’s owners Tim and Patricia who were looking desperately for him.
The couple immediately began putting up posters and handing out leaflets to people in their neighbourhood in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hants, but to no avail.
But the pair were surprised to receive a phone call three days later saying Sandie was alive and well in Spain.
He had been discovered onboard the P&O ferry the Pride of Bilbao, on it’s Saturday night sailing from nearby Portsmouth to the Spanish port.
Mr Austin, 67, said: “We know our cat wouldn’t have gotten into a car or van with strangers voluntarily – even we can’t get him into a car. We think he got out of the vehicle on the ferry when someone opened the door and he ran.
“Him being microchipped has been absolutely key to his return – without that he would probably have been put down after they found him.
“And P&O have been fantastic. He’s been well looked after.”
Matt Ford, from Animal Health, the government agency for the safety of animals, said: “The first we knew about it was when P&O contacted us from their Portsmouth office on Monday to say ‘We’ve got this cat, what do we do with it?’.
“We were able to tell them what to do and once they could get it tested for a microchip they were able to get us the data.
“We were the first people to call the Austins – it had been quite a traumatic time for them. They were clearly very happy and rather emotional to find that their pet was safe.”
Brian Rees, P&O spokesman, said: “Since he was found he’s been treated like a VIP – he’s had a cabin to himself for the return journey and been dining on chicken and salmon. ‘I think most of the crew have had a cuddle – they’ll be sad to see him go.”