The accidental stowaway, whom rescuers named Roman, is thought to have survived in the baking lorry for almost a week after sneaking on board “looking for somewhere cosy to sleep”.
Staff at the depot called their colleague Tasmin Eastwood after finding the kitten who, coincidentally, is also coordinator of the Cats Protection charity’s nearby Bedford and Biggleswade branch.
Tasmin rushed to the depot with a cat carrier to help save Roman. On arrival, she asked staff to check the lorry for other kittens, but they found that Roman was alone.
“The poor little thing was in a bad way. His eyes were stuck together and he was very weak,” Tasmin said.
“We’ll never know Roman’s story or how he became trapped in the truck, but he probably snuck in looking for somewhere cosy to sleep and the next thing he knew he was crossing borders in rising summer temperatures.”
She added that the kitten must have been “very hot, frightened and desperately thirsty” and that it’s a “miracle he survived at all in this weather”.
Roman was taken to Cats Protection where was treated by a vet before being transferred to a Defra-approved quarantine cattery, at which he will remain for three months.
Naomi Williams, Cats Protection’s field veterinary officer, said that Roman responded well to antibiotics and was soon ready to move to the cattery.
“He was showing symptoms of cat flu, with swollen, inflamed eyes and lots of discharge that prevented him from being able to open them until they had been bathed by the nursing team,” she said.
“Roman was admitted to the vet’s for intravenous fluids and intensive supportive care, which included antibiotics and lots of TLC.
“Thankfully, he responded really well to the treatments and was well enough to be transferred to the quarantine cattery the following week.”
At the cattery, Roman will participate in a kitten socialisation programme and receive a rabies vaccination before he is returned to Cats Protection for rehoming around three weeks later.
The charity, who are sponsoring Roman’s treatment, have launched a JustGiving page to raise money to cover its £1,600 cost. At the time of writing, they have raised £710.
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