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1st July 2019

A female kitten called Zara that was discovered at Heathrow airport in the hand luggage of a passenger who had flown in from Tel Aviv is in the care of Cats Protection.

Tabby white kittenThe passenger was in transit on the way to the United States and didn't want to pay Zara's quarantine fees so Zara was detained under the Rabies Order 1974.

She is currently being held at a facility in Hampshire to ensure she doesn't pose a threat to other animals and humans and Cats Protection will find the tabby-and-white kitten a new home once she has received a clean bill of health.

Ross Hayes, Deputy Manager of the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC), said: “The Centre was alerted to the arrival of Zara - an illegally imported four-week-old kitten that was found within a passenger’s hand luggage. The owner didn't hold the animal’s correct paperwork so she was transferred into quarantine. We carried out the necessary health and welfare checks on Zara and I’m sure she will make a wonderful pet when she’s ready to be rehomed.”

Cats Protection is appealing for contributions to the quarantine fees as the charity is reliant on public donations.

“Zara seems to be no worse for wear despite her adventure,” said Beverley Russell, Cats Protection’s Operations Support Manager. “She must have been very quiet on the plane as she wasn’t discovered until she arrived at Heathrow. Those wishing to help can donate towards Zara’s quarantine costs by phoning 0800 9172287."

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, helping around 200,000 cats each year through its national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres.

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For further information or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911, at, or @CPMediaTeam on Twitter.

Notes to Editors

  1. Heathrow Animal Reception Centre is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation.
  2. Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
  3. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
  4. More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at
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