Monday, 13 January 2020

Grieving cat inspires 750 mile charity bike ride

The sad tale of a Lindfield cat has driven two Haywards Heath men to cycle an incredible 750 miles from Sussex to Scotland to raise money for Cats Protection.

David McKevitt and Connor Dawson will set off on their mammoth nine-day bike ride on Saturday 25 April. After leaving from the National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex they will cycle up the country to John O’Groats, Scotland, cheered along the route by teams from Cats Protection.

two men wearing Cats Protection cycling tops
David and Connor in their cycling gear
David, 54, and his partner’s son Connor, 21, are no strangers to spending days in the saddle. They have already undertaken a number of long distance charity bike rides but this is by far their greatest challenge to date; carrying all their own equipment on a journey more than twice as far as their previous best ride.

The cat-loving family includes four three-year-old cats; Sebastian, Mia, Link and Zelda. But it was the sorry state of Buddy, a beautiful black-and-white, which prompted the bike ride.

white-and-black cat sitting on the floor
Buddy the cat who needed the family's help
David said: “Buddy started coming to our garden and using our cat flap. Our cats were stressed so we had to do something. We tried to discourage Buddy but then we were woken by the sound of him wolfing down our cats’ food as if it were his last meal.

"That’s when a neighbour told us about Buddy’s owner, who had passed away at his home and lay undiscovered for over a week. The reason for Buddy's unusual behaviour became clear and our hearts went out to him, so we started putting out extra food and leaving our cat flap open.

“We were thinking that we might adopt him but our cats were not happy with Buddy being around. That's when we made contact with Cats Protection to explain his situation. I managed to catch Buddy and, one morning after feeding him well, I took him in.

two men wearing Cats Protection cycling tops and holding a black cat
David and Connor with one of the family cats 
“It broke my heart listening to his cries during the journey, but the team at the National Cat Adoption Centre was amazing and assured me that Buddy would be well looked after. Some time later, we were overwhelmed to hear that they were able to find him a loving new forever home. Buddy was one of the lucky ones and his story prompted us to plan this bike ride to raise money for Cats Protection.”

Danielle Draper, Manager of Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre, said: “It is amazing when people are so willing to push their limits to raise much-needed cash for Cats Protection.

“It costs a great deal to help around 200,000 cats in care at our centres and branches every year, so we are always appreciative of any contributions, large or small. Without people like David and Connor, we couldn’t do what we need to do and Buddy could still be fending for himself on the streets. So we will be waving them off with our very best wishes.”

To donate to the challenge, visit David and Connor’s JustGiving page. You can also track their progress via their Facebook page

To find out how to take part in your own challenge event to raise money for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/support-us/events/challenge-events

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