'KFC cat' rescued from dumped Transit van with help of boneless banquet

Mark Watkins, 53, from Hardwicke with 'KFC cat' Nellie
Mark Watkins, 53, from Hardwicke with 'KFC cat' Nellie -Credit:Watkins family

On a lovely sunny weekend morning, a dad and daughter had decided they were going to go out and pick some wild garlic to bring home. However their plans changed when the dad read a post on Facebook about a cat which had been dumped, so they decided they would go and see if they could help.

Mark Watkins, 53, from Hardwicke, had seen a Facebook post on the Animals Lost and Found Gloucestershire page, and the member of the public had said they were concerned for a cat. The cat was seen in the carpark at KFC in Quedgeley, and the post asked if anyone was nearby to check on the animal which was soon known as the 'KFC cat'.

Mark said: "Normally we all like a sleep in at the weekend when we can. I managed to persuade on of my daughter to come and pick wild garlic with me, and as I was waiting for her, I was having a quick look on Facebook.

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"We were about to leave and I read a post about a cat who was seen at the KFC in Quedgeley and they were worried. The post asked if there was anyone nearby to go and check on the cat, so we decided to go and take a look."

Both drove to the fast food outlet and when they arrived, a man was already in the car park trying to see if the cat was okay. The cat was however racing around the car park and caused the rescuers to worry.

Mark said: "The cat was darting around the traffic and crossing between the cars. Another guy was there as well trying to get the cat.

"Then she was hiding in the engine bay of an abandoned transit van. Both me and the other bloke were really trying to get the cat as it was not safe.

"My daughter asked for some chicken while we were there. So I went in and bought a Boneless Banquet meal.

"Then I decided it may be an idea to get some of the chicken from the Boneless Banquet and put it on the floor, and see if it may encourage the cat to come out. I managed to coax the cat out, and then we picked the cat up with a blanket.

"The next step was to take the cat to Wood Vets in Quedgeley, who are brilliant. They took the cat in, and could not find a chip, so they did not know if she had been neutered."

Mark's daughter had asked if they could keep the cat, who at this point, they had been told the cat was a girl. The family already had two cats at home, and was reluctant to have another.

He said: "I had seen another Facebook post from the vets who posted on their website as well as they were trying to find the owner of the cat. Really I hoped they would find her home.

"I had a call a week later, and I said we would give her a loving home. The team at the vets had called her Popcorn, however when we got home, we decided to call her Nellie."

Mark noticed Nellie was breathing fast. She also seemed to be heaving as though she may be sick, so they returned to the vets for a check-up.

The vet checked Nellie over and soon enough it was confirmed Nellie was going to be a mother. It was not the news Mark was expecting to hear just weeks after taking Nellie in.

Mark said: "The vet told me Nellie was pregnant and after they did a scan, I was told there were three kittens. I could not believe it as she can only be between six and nine months old, and we had not let her out yet as she was due to be neutered.

"Nellie is tiny, yet the vet said she will be fine. I took her home and told the family and they have already got her a pace ready under the stairs where she can go and have the kittens.

"I am a cat lover and even though I had said no initially to taking Nellie home with us, my daughters and wife had brought me round to keeping her. I was outnumbered by the ladies in the house, who love Nellie very much.

"The kittens are not even born yet, and already I know they are going to be able to go to really nice and loving homes."