When Elaine Fairfax was on holiday recently in the south of France, she was adopted by a stray tabby-and-white cat who walked in her back door looking a bit thin and bedraggled. Concerned that he didn’t have a home of his own, Elaine fed him and shared her home with him.

As the end of her holiday approached, Elaine decided she wanted to adopt the cat, now called Pepe, and take him back to the UK with her. Being the founder and MD of Animal Friends Pet Insurance in the UK, Elaine knew that without a pet passport, Pepe would have to spend a few weeks in quarantine. So she contacted Animalcouriers to find out about arranging for him to travel to quarantine in the UK.

In conversations with Elaine we discussed various transport options and alternatives to quarantine. Getting Pepe a pet passport was the first step; but when Pepe was taken to the vet to get the ball rolling, it was discovered that he already had a microchip. So things took a different direction. The new mission was to find out who Pepe’s owners were, with Elaine prepared to cover the costs of Pepe’s journey to be reunited with them.

Finding Pepe’s family

Leaving her friends and family on the beach, Elaine took an entire morning out of her holiday to start looking for Pepe’s family. Animalcouriers also asked Dr Diana James, a British vet living in France and an old friend of ours, to help. Pepe’s microchip records revealed he had a family in the Dijon area of France. As soon as they heard he had been found, the family jumped in their car and set off to collect him!

Very pleased to have been able to do the right thing by Pepe and his owners, Elaine told us: “It’s the best outcome, Pepe is such a character cat and obviously loved by his family.”

What happened next

But the story didn’t end there. Elaine has always been a great supporter of animal welfare charities, both in a personal capacity and through her business. She offered a £3,000 donation to be shared between three charities of Animalcouriers’ choice. We nominated Nine Lives Greece, the Filozoikos Shelter, and Chats du Quercy. The fantastic work of both Greek charities, based in Athens, is well known to us; and Diana James is the nominated vet for Chats du Quercy, a well known cat charity in the Cahors region of France. Here’s how the three charities plan to use their donations.

Nine Lives Greece

Cordelia from Nine Lives Greece tells us:

“We will be spending this extremely generous donation on neutering, vaccinating and providing other necessary veterinary care for illness or injury to a colony of stray cats in central Athens. This colony will be selected judging by how risky their situation is, how many individuals there are, and whether there is a local feeder who is open to the concept and benefits of neutering.

Since we founded Nine Lives Greece in 2006, we have trapped and taken for neutering/spaying more than 5,000 cats in Athens, returning the cats back to their location after sterilisation. We try to work colony by colony, in order to get as many individuals neutered as possible in each place. We make sure to keep visiting each large colony to make sure that all the cats are well, that no-one needs veterinary attention, and to make sure any newcomers are taken to the vet to be neutered too. This way, instead of an ever-increasing group of sickly cats and kittens, with tomcats spraying and caterwauling, and females constantly pregnant or feeding kittens, the neighbourhood gets a healthy colony of cats whose numbers stabilise and gradually decrease.”

Filozoikos Shelter

Kiki from the Filozoikos Shelter says:

“This wonderful gift is very much appreciated as we are in the middle of the summer, and the number of dogs and consequently our needs are at their highest. We are in the middle of treating June, a young female dog who we found suffering from leishmaniasis, mange and ‘aphrodisio’ — a sexually transmitted disease. The treatment plus her neutering is going to cost €500. Elpida, Marina, Haris, Earth and Velvet will be neutered with the rest of the money — neutering costs €100 per dog. They were all found abandoned and all of them except Marina have already found homes.”

Chats du Quercy

Lynn and Ron from Chats du Quercy tell us:

“We would like the £1000 to be the first donation for the start of our new Rescue Facility funding, so it will help immensely, hopefully encouraging others too! Our objective is simple: to help cats in needEach cat receives the best possible care and attention from the first day. Every cat is assessed by a veterinary surgeon before receiving the medical, surgical and emotional treatment and care that they need. We also have a qualified cat behaviourist on hand. All our cats are checked and treated on a daily basis until they are fit to be found good homes.”

Pepe, who started the whole story off

Pepe, who started the whole story off

Nine Lives Greece: kitten saved after a dog attack

Nine Lives Greece: kitten saved after a dog attack

Nine Lives Greece: kittens who needed fostering before being ready for adoption

Nine Lives Greece: kittens who needed fostering before being ready for adoption

June at the Filozoikos Shelter

Filozoikos Shelter: June

Marina — this one-year-old sweetheart is still looking for a new home

Filozoikos Shelter: Marina — this one-year-old sweetheart is still looking for a new home

Filozoikos Shelter: Elpida

Elpida

Harris

Filozoikos Shelter: Harris

Filozoikos Shelter: Earth

Earth

Filozoikos Shelter: Velvet

Velvet

Dr Diana James (L) and Lynn with two kittens recently helped by Chats du Quercy

Chats du Quercy: Dr Diana James (L) and Lynn with two kittens recently helped by Chats du Quercy

Frankie, one of the Chats du Quercy kittens, looking for a home

Chats du Quercy: Frankie, — one of the many kittens looking for a home