Stubborn traveller digs in claws

WHERE'S WINSTON? Dalan Davidson, of Whakatane, tries to lure Winston out from under the Inglewood railway station.
WHERE'S WINSTON? Dalan Davidson, of Whakatane, tries to lure Winston out from under the Inglewood railway station.

A Whakatane family can resume their trip back home after they came within a whisker of having to leave a much-loved family member hiding under the Inglewood railway station.

Winston, a 3-year-old ginger cat, made a bolt for freedom when the family stopped for lunch and a leg-stretch on Sunday.

It turned into a two-day saga for Sarah Rupe and Dalan Davison as they postponed their trip home to hunt for their pet.

HERE'S WINSTON: Winston, that pesky adventurous ginger cat, with his owners' four-year-old daughter, Betty Jean.
HERE'S WINSTON: Winston, that pesky adventurous ginger cat, with his owners' four-year-old daughter, Betty Jean.

No stone was left unturned and the cemetery was also searched as they hunted high and low for him.

Their perserverance paid off when they finally managed to coax Winston out yesterday afternoon.

Winston was named after politician Winston Peters because of the cat's love for the "best seat in the house", Ms Rupe said.

She was delighted to be able to find Winston, as he was greatly loved by the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Betty-Jean.

"She's the main reason we got the cat," Ms Rupe said. "We got Winston from Taupo's SPCA two years ago."

Ms Rupe said it was not unusual for Winston to be "hopping in and out" of cars and he was "quite good" at getting back in the vehicle again.

However, he refused to co-operate on Sunday, and after a few futile attempts, Ms Rupe had to make the difficult call of leaving Winston in Inglewood for the evening.

The family spent the night with Ms Rupe's family in Taumarunui before recommencing their search operation the next day

"He's quite a well-loved pet, that's why we haven't gone back to Whakatane," Ms Rupe said.

Mr Davison was due at work yesterday and had to ring his employer to explain the situation. Fortunately, his employers were also fond of cats and understood Mr Davison's predicament.

Taranaki Daily News