The owner of a 15 year old Blue Point Siamese cat is refusing to give up hope of finding her beloved pet who went missing onboard a Calmac ferry.
Lindsay Arbuthnott from Perthshire was returning from a holiday on South Uist when her cat Oscar managed to escape from her car on the cardeck of MV Lord of the Isles.
Unaware that the curious cat had managed to climb out of the window, she only discovered he was missing when the vessel arrived in Oban six hours later.
Lindsay believes that Oscar may have gone ashore when the vessel called into Barra to pick up more traffic or managed to get into another vehicle as all passengers were disembarking from the ferry in Oban.
Oscar has been visiting the islands with the family his whole life and Lindsay is just desperate for him to return to his home.
Describing more about what happened she said: “Oscar has been coming to South Uist with us on holiday for all of his life. He quickly adapted to the long trip, staying mercifully quiet in his box while we were driving and being allowed free range of the car along with the two dogs during the ferry crossing. He loved his seaside holidays with the change of smells and would hunt rats along the shore for hours.”
She explained that on March 30th they had boarded the ferry at Lochboisdale early in the morning and with only a small number of cars she was more relaxed about getting out of the car for the crossing leaving the animals inside.
“After opening the driver’s side window a little for some air for the animals, I took the key out of the ignition and left the car, pausing when one of the crew pointed out that I had left the lights on,” she said.
She wasn’t worried as the delayed electric switch on meant they would go off in a couple of minutes but what she didn’t realise was that this meant the windows could still be opened. When she returned to the car hours later the window was wide open and she believes Oscar must have stepped on the control before the electric had switched off.
She said Oscar had been spied by the crew on the car deck at Barra when more traffic came aboard but no announcement was made so she was unaware.
“I think he would have been scared of the noise at that point and hidden, although there were his paw prints on the bonnet of the car where he had tried to get back in,” she said.
When the ferry arrived in Oban, she realised Oscar was missing.
“We searched and called for the half hour that the deck was empty before the next loading but it wasn’t until I was halfway home that the shock began to wear off and I thought I must go back to Barra in case he had gone ashore there.”
The next day she returned to Barra and once again the car deck and the rest of the ship was searched but to no avail.
“The crew were helpful and promised to keep an eye out and everyone on Barra was wonderful and understanding,” said Lindsay. “With a lot of help, particularly from Mairi Campbell and her friends, I put up posters and called for Oscar around Castlebay.”
However she thinks he would have been spotted if he was on Barra and she now suspects that Oscar may have hitched a lift with another passenger who left the vessel at Oban.
If anyone has any information on Oscar’s whereabouts, please contact Lindsay on 01738710279 or text 07970066514.