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Southampton cats sail away for new life in Guernsey

Two cats from a Southampton pet charity have started a new island life over the water, after being rehomed by a couple from Guernsey.

When Gemma Sparkes and her fiancé Graham Laine started a search for a new pet, black cats turned out to be particularly hard to find on their home island of Guernsey. So when a friend showed them an article in a newspaper about black cats struggling to find new homes in the UK, they decided to take their search further afield.

On discovering that Blue Cross had a rehoming centre in Southampton, it wasn’t long before Gemma and Graham had spotted George and Jethro on the pet charity’s website and fallen in love. Just a week later after a phone interview and a visit to the centre to be introduced, they were on the ferry back to Guernsey with their new pets, who they had renamed Dodger and Fagin.

Gemma said: “We love black cats so were really surprised to find that they were being left on the shelf in the UK. It is a bit of a way to go for a pet, but Dodger and Fagin were definitely worth the journey. They’ve settled in really quickly, particularly Dodger who was drinking out of the loo 20 minutes after we got home!

“The team at Blue Cross Southampton were really helpful and made it easy for us to rehome from a distance. We feel really lucky to have found such lovely cats.”

Laura Boyle, Rehoming Supervisor at Blue Cross in Southampton, said: “I don’t think we’ve ever had any pets go off to live on an island before, but if someone can offer a good home to any of our pets, we’ll always try to do what we can to make it work. Gemma and Graham were the perfect family for Dodger and Fagin and we’re really happy to hear how well they’re settling in.”

If you’re looking for a new pet, the team at Blue Cross will work hard to find one that’s the right match for you, looking at each case individually, rather than having fixed rules about what makes the perfect home. To find out more about the pets looking for homes at Blue Cross Southampton, or to fill out a homefinder form, visit


Notes to Editors

• Photos of Dodger and Fagin available on request.
• The Blue Cross Southampton pet rehoming centre opened in 1991 and successfully rehomes hundreds of cats and dogs every year, serving communities across Hampshire. In 2009 a new welfare veterinary clinic opened to treat the pets of owners on a low income who live in postcode areas SO18, SO19 and SO30.
• To contact the centre please call 0300 777 1530. The address is Blue Cross animal rehoming centre, Bubb Lane, West End, Southampton, Hants SO30 2HL. The centre is open daily between 11.00am and 4.00pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 11.00am until 2.00pm, closed on Thursdays.
• Blue Cross has been dedicated to helping poorly, injured and abandoned pets for over 100 years. We opened the world’s first animal hospital in 1906 and since then our doors have never closed to sick and homeless animals.
• Today we run 12 rehoming centres, a network of volunteer foster carers and four animal hospitals across the UK, which provide treatment and seek happy homes for thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses every year.
• Blue Cross actively campaigns to improve all aspects of animal welfare, working with the government, schools and others to improve the lives of pets and their owners. For more information, please visit

Media contact

Sophia Khan, Media Officer: 020 7932 4070 / [email protected]