Traumatised cats found living under floorboards after their owner died

A bonded pair of cats have gone through two years of rehabilitation after they were found in a boarded-up property.

Luke and Leia were rescued from a house near Burnley back in February 2021 after the death of their owner.

The cats were left so traumatised by what they’d been through that it took two years to help them get past their anxiety and learn to be with people again. 

After the RSPCA was given access to the property and put out traps to catch them, the pair, who’ve been named after famous Star Wars characters, were taken to the charity’s cattery at Stapeley Grange.

They were nervous and scared of being approached after all that time spent living under floorboards, so it was decided that the two would do better in a foster home so they could get used to domesticity again.

Now, after two years, they’re finally ready to find a forever home together.

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It took a lot of time for Luke and Leia to come out of their shells, and they’re definitely still scaredy-cats.

At first, they’d spend the day hiding away from their foster parent, only coming out at night to eat and play together.

But with time, they started to open up, accepting pets and scratches and learning to take freshly-cooked chicken – a favourite of theirs – from a hand.

Nicola Chilton, Stapeley Grange’s cattery supervisor, said: ‘It was a harrowing experience for Luke and Leia so they were understandably very nervous when they first arrived in our care. They were clearly comfortable in each other’s company, but less so with us, especially when they needed to be examined or treated. 

‘They would sometimes take treats from our hands, but they didn’t know how to interact with people – when they saw a big hand looming towards them, they would back away.

‘Their foster carer has done an absolutely incredible job and their progress is a testament to her perseverance, time, and patience and the wider work of our incredible team of fosterers. 

‘It’s been a very long journey for them, and they are going to need very understanding owners who are going to be fully invested in helping Luke and Leia with this next stage of their recovery. We’d love to see them settled in a forever home and we’re appealing to anyone who thinks they may be able to provide a suitable home to get in touch.’

The pair are still stressed out by sudden movements and will need owners who are patient and willing to spend the time to earn their trust.

They still enjoy having places to hide, and will benefit from a quiet, calm home with people who will give them space to settle. Therefore, they shouldn’t live with children or other pets.

If you think your home could be right for Luke and Leia, then you can ring the cattery on 0300 123 0748 between 11am and 3pm every day (except Wednesday when they’re closed) or email [email protected].

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