12 September 2010, 06:00
A woman from Milton Keynes is spending thousands of pounds helping six injured cats from Malaysia.
Ailsa McKnight - who lives in Great Linford - found the cats while she was on a trip to the country in May.
As she was walking through the complex where she was staying, she heard a cat wailing. Thinking it was stuck, Ailsa investigated further, and found the six cats, along with several rabbits and a dog in a cage, with no protection from the sun or rain.
Ailsa told Heart:
"They were skin and bone and they had lots of infestations. Open wounds that had maggots in them, they had bites and cuts all over them, some of them had broken tails - there was one that was missing half his tail as well, and one that couldn't walk properly."
At first Ailsa thought the most humane option would be to have the cats put down. However, after talking it through with a vet, the business woman decided she would pay for their treatment herself and arrange for them to be re-homed in the UK.
The cats came to Britain in June and are currently half way through their time in quarantine.
And they've brought another surprise with them - eight weeks ago one of the cats gave birth to four kittens. As the kittens were born in the UK, they've been allowed out of quarantine early and are now at home with Ailsa and her partner, Dave. The 'fab four' were initially named after the members of The Beatles, but after discovering two were female, they've been re-named as George, Ringo, Linda and Yoko.
By the time all of the cats are out of quarantine in December, Ailsa estimates they will have cost between £12,000 and £14,000:
"What we thought might have been 2 or 3 hundred pounds per cat, has obviously spiralled there. When we started it was never envisaged to spend that much but, at what point do you stop?"
Ailsa - who says she has exhausted the funds which she had available for the treatment - is now hoping local people will want to help with some of the costs. You can find out more at www.animalssos.org.uk
The rabbits which Ailsa found have been re-homed with ex-pats in Malaysia. Sadly, the dog died.