Big-hearted woman spends mortgage savings rescuing stray kittens found on trip

A hairdresser has revealed how she spent one year and £13,700 on rescuing two stray cats while on holiday in Turkey.

After going though a divorce and moving back in with her mum, Kelly Walker booked herself a seaside holiday to get away.

The 43-year-old, from Barnsley, headed to Antalya just before the face of another lockdown in November 2020.

She found two kittens, Delilah and Harriet, living rough on the cliffs that surrounded the seaside resort.

When she saw the cats were close to death, Kelly spent one year and £13,700 rescuing them and bringing them back to the UK.

Kelly said: "There are millions of cats. It's like what cat do you choose?

"But there were these two, and the littlest one, she was so thin. She was starving."

She decided to set up feeding stations to gain the kittens' trust and eventually took them to a vet for medical attention.

This cost Kelly £3,000 which came out of the savings pot she started for a mortgage.

The kittens were vaccinated, neutered and looked after at the veterinary surgery while she returned to England.

Kelly said the money wasn't spent on nothing, but instead on these "poor little souls".

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She added: "I thought well, it's not that bad.

"People in this lockdown have been buying dogs for like thousands of pounds, and I'm actually helping two cats."

In January this year, Kelly attempted to fly back to Antalya, but was stopped at Istanbul airport due to Turkey's strict Covid laws.

She was stranded in the airport with limited access to food and drink before she decided to return to the UK without the kittens.

She was told Delilah and Harriet could either be let back onto the streets or put down.

However she managed to find accommodation for the pair in a "pet hotel" which she paid for until she flew back in October 2021.

But once again Kelly returned home empty-handed due to strict export protocols on live animals.

At that point she had spent £12,000, although she wasn't prepared to give up on her furry friends just yet.

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Eventually she got in touch with an animal rights group who were able to get the kittens back to the UK.

Kelly was finally reunited with Delilah and Harriet after October 23 and all the trouble was worth it.

She concluded: "I know I spent that money, and I don't make a lot, but it made me feel like I'd done something worthwhile.

"I absolutely love animals, they're my passion."

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