The 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 email@example.com, or @CPMediaTeam on Twitter.