MEET "miracle" cat Winston who had just hours to live after spending 40 days and nights lost in strange surroundings without food and drink.

Even a private pet detective failed to track down the one-year-old moggie who was starving and dehydrated when he was eventually discovered a few days ago and rushed to a local vet.

His owner, University of York student Katie Carr, had all but given up hope of finding Winston after days of frantic searching which included hiring leading UK pet detective Robert Kenny.

But now Katie, 24, is looking forward to settling Winston into a new life in York after he has completed his treatment and recovery - which has come at a price. Katie expects to face a £7,000 vets' bill and has now set up a GoFundMe page which has already raised almost £2,500 in aid of Winston's recovery.

Katie told The Press: "It is really touching to know that so many people care about Winston. He is my baby. He is like family to me.

York Press: Winston - photographed before he wandered off for 40 days and nightsWinston - photographed before he wandered off for 40 days and nights

"Some people might think it is ridiculous to spend so much money on a cat. But I have been blown away that so many people think his life is important and want to help him."

The search for Winston began on September 6 when the cat jumped out of a window at Katie's parents' house in Manchester.

Katie was staying with them in between moving home from Kent to York, where she was about to begin post-graduate study.

Winston was a "house cat" and Katie was immediately alarmed that he was outside. She thought he would not have gone far, but a search of the surroundings and local neighbourhood was fruitless.

So she called in pet detective Robert Kenny, who spent three days also looking for Winston, at a cost of almost £900 to cover his expenses in travelling over from Ireland. But again, there was no luck.

Heartbroken, Katie moved to York to begin her studies, fearful that she would never see Winston again. She held on to one hope - that Winston was microchipped, and if he was found, he could be traced back to her.

Then some good news: 40 days after he went missing she received a call from Vets4Pets in Bolton saying Winston had been brought in by a Good Samaritan. But the worrying news was that Winston was so poorly he might not survive.

York Press: Katie with Winston who is being fed by a tube after his ordealKatie with Winston who is being fed by a tube after his ordeal

Katie said: "He was alive - but barely. He was having seizures, was deaf and blind - he had been starved so severely that he needed to be fed by an IV drip because they could not feed him normally as it would kill him."

Thankfully, the treatment is working and Winston is getting stronger by the day. He has been discharged, but needs to return to the vets every second day to have his feeding tube checked and for bloods to be taken. Every visit costs a further £400.


Katie, who did not have Winston insured, said: "Pet insurance might be a good idea."  To support Winston's recovery you can donate to the GoFundMe page at 


Katie said: "His seizures have stopped, he is starting to hear again and his eyes are getting better. He will recover and go on to have a really good quality of life. He is a little miracle."

Vet Tom Briscoe, who initially treated Winston, said: "Throughout the early stages there was real risk that we may have lost Winston. Compared to when he first came in he is like a completely different cat, he has gained weight and his bloods are all showing improvements.

York Press: Vet Tom Briscoe who treated WinstonVet Tom Briscoe who treated Winston (Image: Supplied)

"While he still has a long way to go, I am hopeful that Winston will continue to recover and live a long, normal life back with his family, who have been amazingly dedicated to him."

Katie hopes Winston's story helps other animal lovers whose pets are missing. "There is always hope that your pet might be found. They might be far away but there are lots of people out there who care and might bring them in. Don't lose hope."

She also wanted to thank everyone who has supported her GoFundMe appeal. "Thank you for reading his story. Every £1 that is donated really means the world and makes a difference to his care."


What lengths have you gone to save your pet? Or have you lost your family pet - and found it again against the odds? We'd love to hear your York pet stories. Contact us via the 'send now' tab below...