Owner of dumped kitten: "We were expecting the worst"

The owner of a kitten found tied in bin bags and dumped in a ditch on the A45 said she felt physically sick when she heard what had happened.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 2:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:01 pm

Margot, a 13-week-old cat, went missing from Station Road, Burton Latimer, on Saturday evening and was found by runners on Sunday morning in two bin bags in a ditch on the A45 near Stanwick.

Harriet Widd had bought Margot from Northampton earlier on Saturday, January 18, and said they had only been home for a few hours before Margot ran off.

They were reunited on Sunday after Margot had been found and Harriet said: "When we found out what had happened we were relieved she was back but I felt physically sick."

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Margot was found in two tied bin bags near Stanwick

Margot had gone missing the night before just hours after coming home for the first time.

Harriet said: "At about half eight, someone knocked on our door asking for a man named Chris."

She said she did not know the man and no-one called Chris lives there, but the knock on the door spooked Margot who bolted out.

Harriet said: "He literally said 'Does Chris live here?', and then the cat ran.

Margot was heard crying from a ditch, where she'd been dumped in two tied up bin bags

"He chased after her and then we didn't see him or anyone after."

She said they spent the rest of the night, until about 1.30am, looking for Margot but with no luck.

Harriet put an appeal on Facebook but said: "We were expecting the worst. We thought she was gone forever."

Being so young and having only had her for a matter of hours, Margot had no vaccinations and had not been micro-chipped.

Margot is now safely back at home

By chance, a group of runners managed to save Margot when they heard her cries as they ran along the A45 from Raunds towards Higham, which is not a regular route for them.

Stephen Banham, part of the running club Team Balancise, managed to climb across the ditch and retrieve the animal.

His running mates opened the sack and found the little kitten and took her to Northlands Vets in Kettering.

Stephen said the discovery was shocking and added: "It's disgusting. You don't have to put it in a bag, because it's got no chance."

He said the cat seemed in distress but he did not think the cat could have been there all night because it had been so cold and Margot still had enough energy to be crying loudly.

Harriet said: "We don't know if she was taken straight away or if she was found and taken later."

Once at Northlands Vets, a veterinary care assistant recognised Margot.

Ellie Driver was on duty at the time and said: "When they showed me the kitten I instantly recognised it from a Facebook post of a kitten missing from Station Road, Burton Latimer that I had seen on various public pages the night before - the kitten had distinctive ears.

"There were no signs of obvious health issues but the kitten was clearly stressed and confused.

"It could only have been three or four months old. I showed my colleagues the photo of the Facebook post and they agreed it was the same kitten so we took it into kennels with the intention of contacting the owner."

Harriet was told on Facebook to contact Northlands and said: "I called the vets and they said 'we think we have your kitten."

When Harriet arrived, the vets asked her a few security questions to make sure she could identify Margot, which she did by showing photos and describing the cat.

Ellie said: "I advised micro-chipping so it would be easier in the future to get the kitten home safely. They were keen on this and while a colleague put in the microchip I registered it and also booked a first vaccination.

"It’s a story with a happy ending but as a practice we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have your pets micro-chipped so they can be reunited if they should ever go missing."

Fortunately Margot has quickly settled into her new home and Harriet said: "It's like nothing every happened, she's just so happy."

But the incident has worried her and her mum, with Harriet saying: "My mum has got outdoor cats and she doesn't want them to be outdoor cats anymore."

It is not known how Margot ended up tied in two bin bags by the A45.

Harriet said she is a bit suspicious of the man who knocked on the door, especially because since the incident other residents of Burton Latimer have been in touch.

Harriet said: "People have been messaging me about their cats going missing."

She said she is worried there is a "sick person getting a thrill out of it [taking cats] or something".

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: "This is obviously a very concerning incident and we are investigating it."

Harriet reported the incident and said she received a visit from an officer today (Tuesday) and advised her to keep an eye out for any evidence through CCTV or other means and to update her crime log if she hears anything else.

"I just want to know who did this," said Harriet.