How a jog turned into a cat rescue mission for this runner

Sophie knew she had to help the poorly puss she stumbled upon one cold winter morning.

When Sophie Denny went out for a jog on Woolwich Common one bitterly cold, frosty morning last winter, little did she know that it would change her life. Here's Sophie's story...

Sophie approached what she thought was "a dead animal"

"I wouldn't usually go on the common alone as it's not the safest place but I felt brave as I had our dog with me. I saw a track tailing off into the big bramble bushes and decided to follow it. I don't know why I felt the urge to head off into the bushes but I instantly regretted it. I was all snagged up on thorns, it got darker and darker in there. There was drug paraphernalia on the ground, clothes and rubbish on the path. I felt really frightened. I was petrified and genuinely thought I would come to some harm. I remember thinking what a complete idiot I was.

I scrambled out of the bushes and instantly saw a little black heap about 50 yards away. I put the dog on his lead and approached what I thought was a dead animal. I crouched down and soon realised it was a cat. She didn't move even though I had an excited spaniel bouncing about next to me. I carefully lifted her chin up and assumed she must have been hit by a car as she was so flat on the ground. Her head was completely covered in puffy, white things like marshmallows. All over her eyebrows, forehead and leading into her ears. I realised with horror that they were engorged ticks."

The poor cat was in a poorly state and Sophie called us for help

"At that moment, a man stomped towards us with two Staffies off the lead. The cat bolted off towards the bramble bushes. I followed her and crouched next to her. I don't know why, but I said:

Is your name Luna? It's going to be okay now. I am going to help you. She let out a long cry and I called the RSPCA.

I stood in the freezing cold wind and did star jumps to keep warm. I chatted away to my new friend Luna and told her that she would never, ever feel so bad again. The bad times are over, people are coming to help her. She chattered away back to me. 

After almost two hours I got a call from Inspector Nick Wheelhouse who had arrived. I gave him directions to where we were and he soon found us and very diligently managed to get a loop around the cat and caught her. We set off with her in a carrier. We got back to Nick's van and he told me he would rush the cat off to the vet and call me later."

Poor Luna was starving, severely anaemic and covered in ticks

"I had to sit in the bath at home for over an hour just to warm up again! Nick called me and said the cat was very sick and was receiving emergency treatment at the vet. She was starving, severely anaemic with white gums and was covered in ticks. She was in a bad way. The vet had IV lines in her and she would stay there for a few days. I asked Nick, what would happen to her? He said she would stay at the vet's and then go to a rehoming centre. I felt incredibly heartbroken for her. I knew I couldn't have a cat in my first-floor flat in Shooter's Hill.

Over the next few weeks, I couldn't stop thinking about my friend who I'd named Luna. It was meant to be. I would never have gone through those bushes but felt a strong pull to and by doing so, I saved her life. I asked my boyfriend, Gary, if he wanted another cat. He lives in Tunbridge Wells with his own cat Ozzie. He said he couldn't cope with another. A week before Christmas, just as I was imploring my friends to consider adopting her, Gary turned to me and said: 'Let's get her!' I was so happy!"

An "unbreakable bond"

"We went to pick her up on 23 December. In the car on the way home, I reached behind me and put my fingers through the door of the carrier and called out 'Luna?' - she cried back and started licking my fingers! We got her home and got her settled into the spare bedroom. She was very scared and soon retreated under the bed where I fed her little treats and talked to her. She would come out now and again to give me some kisses and to have some head rubs but she was clearly very scared. She ate like a mad, starved animal though! That night, Gary and I went to bed and she started crying from her room. The next thing I knew she'd trotted into our room, climbed up onto my chest, laid down and purred and purred. She fell asleep with a paw around my neck. We have been like that ever since!

Her recovery was a slow process that went on for weeks but all the time our bond was growing. She did recover, even though her breathing is still a little laboured and her back legs are very stiff. She walks like a little, furry John Wayne!

She is the light of our lives. Gary and I are completely besotted! She's full of character, very funny and always tries to engage with us. She tries to talk and answers with little mews if we talk to her. She craves cuddles and just wants to lie on my chest, upside down with her wet nose pressed against my chin. Sometimes at night, I will lie with my arm around Gary, Luna lies in the small of my back with her arm around me. We have an unbreakable bond.'

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