Dubai: When Dubai-based South African expat Darrol Venter found an injured kitten outside his warehouse in Al Quoz over a month ago, neither he nor his wife Shaila De Araujo Venter could have imagined in their wildest of dreams that the presumably six-month-old feline would end up in Hamburg amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s more, one of the little kitten’s legs had been amputated because of a paw injury before he got on a plane to Frankfurt on July 4, following which he travelled by road to Hamburg where a German family lovingly welcomed him into their fold.
As far-fetched as it may seem at a time when thousands of people everywhere remain stranded in the wake of global flight suspensions, the story of this little stray cat is heartening.
As Shaila said, it all began when her husband noticed the injured stray outside his warehouse and brought him home. “We took the kitten to a vet who told us that one of his legs had to be amputated because a paw injury was heavily infected,” she said.
When the surgery was successful, the couple, who already have five other rescue cats at home, started looking for a home for the three-legged kitten.
Shaila said she spread the word around on social media forums. “But what are the odds of getting a response from someone in Hamburg, that too at a time like this?” she asked, explaining how a mum of two, named Josi, from the German city evinced interest in adopting the little kitten.
“She wanted the kitten to join two other disabled cats that she already has. One suffers from incontinence and wears a diaper and the other has no tail. She also has a dog. She happened to be on a social media group I had posted on as she had zeroed in one of her earlier adoptions from there,” she said.
The next thing Shaila knew was that word got around on social media and a hunt for a flight buddy with whom the kitten could travel to Germany began.
“We managed to find a passenger – Vasi – who was already carrying another cat for another family to Germany on July 4. But the flight from Dubai was headed to Frankfurt. As luck would have it, a man called Michael was driving down from Frankfurt to Hamburg the next day. So the kitten could go by road with him. It all worked out really well,” said Shaila.
Both she and her husband never expected that things would turn out the way they did. She said, “We thought it would take forever to find a new home for the kitten in the midst of this pandemic. It was a huge responsibility having picked him up from the street and living up to the commitment of getting him operated. Who could have imagined such an outcome – it all fell into place so nicely.”
She said the kitten’s new family had named him Pettey. “So I made a little sign on his travel box when he flew out, to say his name was Pettey, had only three legs and should be handled with care,” she added.