Cat dubbed ‘Count Catula’ for his unusual looks finally re-homed in Rothwell

Raphael has been re-homed in Rothwell
Raphael has been re-homed in Rothwell

It was love at first sight for nurse Ashleigh Bird when she spotted the rather unusual-looking Raphael on the RSPCA’s website.

Ashleigh, 23, had been looking for a cat who would be happy living an indoor life with her at her flat in Rothwell.

Raphael at home with his new owner Ashleigh

Raphael at home with his new owner Ashleigh

She said: “I saw him online and absolutely loved him for his unique look.

“I sent in an application but then I talked myself out of getting a pet.”

When Ashleigh saw Raphael on the news over Halloween and found out he was still looking for the purr-fect home she felt it was fate and contacted RSPCA Northamptonshire about her earlier application straight away.

She brought him home with her on November 11 and said: “He has been lovely, he settled in straight away.

“I think people were probably put off by his unique looks but it made me want him even more.

“I’m a sucker for an underdog.

“I grew up with a three-legged cat so it would be weird to have a ‘normal’ pet.”

The seven-year-old cat arrived at the charity in June 2015 after his owner died and spent 432 days waiting for a home before being adopted in August 2016.

But he was sadly returned the following May when his adopter’s circumstances changed - before then, finally, being adopted by Ashleigh.

Emma Markham, adoptions manager at RSPCA Northamptonshire, said: “Poor Raphael had spent a total of 601 days in rescue which is too long for any puss.

“As a senior, black cat the odds were already stacked against him with research suggesting they are more difficult to rehome.

“But while Raphael was gorgeous in our eyes, his unusual looks and distinguishing features seemed to put some people off.

“With his prominent canine tooth and his deformed ear - from a suspected old haematoma (a swelling of clotted blood within tissue) - he looked just like a bat so we felt Halloween was the best time to find him the right home - and it worked.

“We’re so pleased Ashleigh fell in love with this lovely boy and that she appreciates him just the way he is.”

And Ashleigh is thrilled to have the feline friend home with her too.

She said: “He sits on the back of the sofa at night and we watch TV together.

“Then he sleeps on the bed but as soon as the alarm goes off in the morning he knows it’s breakfast time.

“He is so lovely.”

Anyone who wants to offer an RSPCA rescue cat a new home can go to www.rspca.org.uk/findapet for more details.

And to support RSPCA Northamptonshire, go to www.rspca.org.uk/local/northamptonshire-branch/help.