A SALON owner who has spent almost a year and £12,000 to rescue two stray cats she met on holiday in Turkey is expecting a special delivery tomorrow.
Kelly Walker - owner of Vanilla hair salon on Sheffield Road - is set to receive the cats from a courier after trying to get them on the 2,500-mile trip having ‘fallen in love with them’ on holiday.
Kelly was travelling during the November lockdown last year when she ended up in Turkey and came across two stray cats in ‘urgent need of help’.
She had seen the cats throughout her week’s stay at Akra Hotel in Antalya - and on the last day of her holiday she had seen them by a dangerous cliff edge and realised they were in urgent need of veterinary treatment.
“One of them quite urgently needed an operation,” said the 43-year-old, of Blacker Road in Mapplewell.
“I’d just fallen in love with them - so I took them to the vets and got some help, and paid for passports for them straight away - that was £3,000 straight-up.
“I wasn’t able to take them straight home due to Covid-19 guidelines and things, so I booked them into a cattery and planned to come back for them.
“When I tried to return for them I was detained at Istanbul airport by the Turkish authorities for entering the country against Covid-19 guidelines - which I don’t believe I was breaking as it wasn’t a holiday trip - so I was forced to come back to the UK without the cats.
“I messaged the cattery I’d booked them into every day and they were amazing at sending me updates.
“I’ve been trying since to get them safely here with me - it’s been so hard because of the pandemic - and I’ve finally got a courier bringing them across who is due this Saturday with my babies.”
When Kelly found the two cats - now lovingly named Harriet and Delilah - one was just six weeks old and had to have her eye removed, whilst the other was older and ‘wouldn’t leave the younger one’s side’.
“It’s been the most heart-wrenching time and it’s certainly been a labour of love,” she said.
“I’ll just be so glad to have them home with me.”