A family travelled 530 miles from their home to an RSPCA rehoming centre to adopt an unwanted black cat who had waited over 230 days in rescue.

Debbie Hughes, her husband Steve and their teenage daughter Lydia travelled from Oxshott in Surrey to Great Ayton in North Yorkshire - a round trip of nearly 530 miles - to adopt Eddie who had only had one rehoming enquiry in eight months.

The two-year-old cat had arrived at the Yarm Lane centre with a serious infection in both ears and had been nursed back to health by staff after being rescued by an RSPCA officer from a shed in the Stockton-on-Tees area in September last year.

But despite his loving and easy-going personality, rehoming enquiries were few and far between, prompting the centre to put out a special appeal for him back in May.

Debbie and her family were one of hundreds of people from all over the country who read about Eddie’s plight and came forward to offer him a forever home.

Their previous cat, Sylvester, had died last year and they hadn't yet felt ready to welcome another cat into their home. 

Darlington and Stockton Times: Eddie the catEddie the cat (Image: RSPCA)

“We read about Eddie and his story really pulled on our heartstrings,” said Mrs Hughes.

“I really wanted to give him a happy life and a nice home. We thought we met the criteria, so we put in an application and it all went from there. We didn’t really think about the distance we’d have to travel to adopt him, we just knew we wanted him!” 

Darlington and Stockton Times: The family travelled 530 miles to adopt EddieThe family travelled 530 miles to adopt Eddie (Image: RSPCA)

Eddie has spent the last eight weeks settling into his new home after the family set off at 5.30am to make the journey to North Yorkshire. 

“We said we had come for Eddie and I think the staff still couldn’t quite believe it," added Mrs Hughes.

“We spent about 20 minutes playing with him and getting to know him, but straight away we were smitten.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Eddie had been at RSPCA in Great Ayton for over 200 days Eddie had been at RSPCA in Great Ayton for over 200 days (Image: RSPCA)

"He meowed a little bit to start with as we set off, but my daughter was sitting in the back with him, and she’s brilliant with cats, and he soon relaxed and fell asleep for most of the journey.

“It was a great day bringing him home. He’s met our two older sons and lots of other family members and he’s settled in really well. He’s a very affectionate cat who loves to play and be close to people and we’re so pleased we found him.”   

Staff at Great Ayton think Eddie’s colour had been putting people off adopting him - with black, or black and white cats, often taking far longer to rehome than their colourful counterparts.

Beverely Dunn, cattery supervisor at the centre, said: “We’re over the moon that Debbie and her family, who lived so far away, were committed enough to come and meet Eddie and offer him his forever home after he’d been with us for such a long time.

"We were overwhelmed by the interest we had in him after we put out the appeal, and it just goes to show that the right home is always out there - even if it’s not always on your doorstep!”