Stowaway kitten survives 3,000 mile international flight

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A stowaway kitten who survived a 3,000 mile Emirates flight from Cairo, Egypt to Birmingham, UK is being cared for and will find a new home in the UK.

Solihull Council’s Public Protection team took responsibility for the six-week old kitten when she was found in cargo being unloaded from the Cairo flight at Birmingham Airport in late August. After an initial 14 day quarantine, Lina’s Cat Rescue, in Derby was lined up to take responsibility for her.

Kitty has been named Cairo.  She will spend the next few months in quarantine before going into foster care through Lina’s Cat Rescue in preparation for finding a home locally. When Cairo is released from quarantine in late December her foster caregiver will help with her socialization process and try to determine what type of home she would do best in.

Esther Atkins, public protection officer at Solihull Council, is quoted in a Solihull Council news release saying: “A colleague received a report that a kitten had been landed at Birmingham Airport.

“I knew that if we didn’t do something fast the kitten would be put down.

“As an animal lover I couldn’t let that happen.

“I’m so glad we’ve been able to save Cairo and I’m sure someone will come forward to home her once the full quarantine period is over.”

Laurie Berryman, Emirates vice president, UK, is quoted in the news release saying: “We’re delighted Cairo has had so much support and care since her unexpected arrival in the UK.

“When she was spotted sat among the cargo, our colleagues fed her and immediately contacted the appropriate authorities.

“We are very happy that, with our funding, the wonderful team at Lina’s Cat Rescue and Solihull Council are able to give Cairo all the TLC she needs during her quarantine period.”


Lina’s Cat Rescue told Cairo’s story in a blog post, writing:

After much hush-hush and preparation, we are pleased to announce that we, Lina’s Cat Rescue, have taken into our care a very special little girl.

Cairo’ the ‘Stowaway Kitten’ was found hiding when a box of fruit from Egypt was opened on arrival at Birmingham airport. This beautiful girl had survived the freezing temperatures and 3000 mile journey to make it to the UK, and was unsurprisingly extremely afraid on arrival. Staff at Birmingham Airport contacted the authorities and she was placed in quarantine under ‘rabies watch’.

After around 10 days, we were contacted to see whether we would foot the bill for the rest of her 4 month stay in quarantine. Our founder and chairperson, Sheryl Leonardi, said

“We have a strict “No Kill” policy for healthy cats and when contacted by Solihull Council we were happy to take on the responsibility for all her costs.”

Luckily for us, once we contacted Emirates and explained what had happened, they were happy to pay the rest of her quarantine costs. Despite this, she will still have many of the usual costs when she makes it into rescue as she will still need to be neutered and have her usual vet checks and routine treatment before becoming available for adoption.

“We are so grateful to Emirates for offering to fund her quarantine period which means this money can now be spent on other needy cats in our care. As a small group of volunteers totally funded from donations and fundraising events, their generosity is extremely welcome. If anyone wishes to donate to her ongoing care, please email us for details of Cairo’s account at [email protected]. Any funds in excess of those required for Cairo will be used to fund other cats in our care.”

Cairo has another 3 months or so in quarantine before she can be released into our care, but we do go to visit her and are pleased to announce she’s settling in very well.




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