A Cramlington family have been reunited with their pet cat after it was found dumped in a bottle bank in Blyth with a plastic bag over its head and all four legs tied together.
Piper, a Russian Blue type, had been missing from owner Stephanie Emsley since March 17.
More than a month later she was rescued from a bottle bank at Asda in Cowpen Road last Thursday when a member of staff climbed in to the bank to rescue her.
Stephanie Emsley saw the story on Facebook and said: “I just knew it was her.
“I wasn’t sure whether she was OK or not, and when I rang the vets I was crying my eyes out.
“Everyone has been brilliant – the lady at the vets, the lady at RSPCA Felledge, the inspector and the people who found her and got her out of the bottle bank at Asda.
“Me and my family are so grateful to them and can’t thank them enough.”
Piper disappeared, uncharacteristically, during the daytime as she wouldn’t usually go out in the day, normally spending most of it sleeping and going out at night.
Stephanie said: “She was such a friendly cat, more like a dog in many ways, and would go to the door if she wanted to go out and meow at the fridge when it was time to eat.
“I’m convinced someone took her. Two other cats have gone missing from nearby in the past two months.
“She is much more timid since coming home and seems frightened of our dog, who she used to curl up with.
“But we are just so glad to have her back.”
Customers alerted staff to the cat’s plight just after 11am on Thursday morning after hearing meowing coming from inside the bottle bank. They then called the RSPCA.
Diane Barnes, who works at Asda, climbed into the bottle bank to get the cat out.
She said: “It was so distressing. I just can’t believe what people are capable of doing, she is the loveliest cat.
“After freeing her and getting her out of the bottle bank I just cuddled her until the RSPCA arrived.”
Piper was taken to a local veterinary practice and had no more than a couple of superficial cuts to her back legs.
RSPCA inspector Trevor Walker said: “We don’t know who tied this bag over her head, bound her legs together and dumped her in the bottle bank, but it seems pretty clear what their intentions were.
“I want to appeal for anyone with any information about who did this to call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and ask to leave a message for me.”