Saturday 23 March 2019

A cat's tale of trip to Sligo from Cavan

Sligo Animal Rescue set to benefit from one cat's true story

'Louie' the cat who inspired the new book
'Louie' the cat who inspired the new book

Sorcha Crowley

The true survival story of a cat's 70 mile journey under a van's engine from Cavan to Skreen has inspired one cat lover to put pen to paper.

UK-based sports therapist Elizabeth Valentine is the author of 'The Cavan Cat and The Meadow Cat', her first foray into children's fiction.

"It's based on a true story of a beautiful ginger kitten left on the road outside my parent's house in Ballinfull last year," Elizabeth told The Sligo Champion.

"A neighbour watched somebody dump him outside the house. This person had been to Cavan and found the kitten in the engine of his van," she said.

'Louie' became a much loved member of their family but his life was cut short when he was just six months old.

"He was just turning into a beautiful ginger Tom. But it spurred me on to write a story and give him the 'Happy Ever After' he deserved," said Elizabeth.

"I normally write poetry and this is my first children's story. Everything fell into place: I found a publisher, I found an editor who believed in the story and she helped me find an illustrator.

Her book is now on sale at Liber, Eason's, Shells in Strandhill and at the Folk Park in Riverstown, with Sligo Animal Rescue the beneficiaries of €1 of every book sale from Shells and the Folk Park.

For Elizabeth, donating some of the proceeds to a Sligo charity was paramount given her strong emotional ties to the county and love of cats.

"The main reason for me bringing it to Sligo Animal Rescue is because there is such a massive need for help with animals in Ireland. There needs to be more people like Dorothy doing good work. If we didn't have her I don't know what would happen to many of the animals at home at the moment. I really saddens my heart going home to see such distress . They're treated as a hindrance and not something that we can love and look after.

"Sligo is my spiritual home, so much of my childhood was spent in Sligo. My uncle had a beautiful dairy farm in Skreen and had lots of cats about the place," she said.

The sports therapist turned author is coming to the Folk Park Christmas Grotto in Riverstown from December 19th. She's also bulk bought from the publishers to sell directly on her website in order to donate more funds to Sligo Animal Rescue -

" I'm really passionate about this cause, as I know how much work it takes to do the work that Sligo Animal Resuce does, and they get no funding, which is even more the reason to help them."

Her previous careers in advertising in London, as a sports therapist to the rich and famous and running a delicatessen in West Hampstead is now a far cry from spending her time now writing in Sligo, her spiritual home.

Sligo Champion