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Just when you thought the football/cat news cycle was about to wind down, along comes another twist in the tale/tail - it turns out the so-called 'Hillsborough cat' had been missing for seven months.
The cat ran on to the pitch during Sheffield Wednesday's home match against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday (8 February), in the wake of Kurt Zouma coming under fire after a video emerged of him volleying his pet cat.
The players were praised for the conscientious way they handled the pitch invasion by stopping play and carrying the cat gently out of harm's way.
The cat has since been identified as Topsey, who had actually been missing for seven months prior to the timely pitch invasion that launched her into the spotlight.
Owner Alison Jubb, from Sheffield, was contacted by the vets after they checked Topsey's microchip.
The feline went missing in June after she escaped from a cat box on the way to the cattery.
Alison searched for her beloved pet, putting up signs and seeking help on social media, but eventually gave up hope of ever seeing her again - until the Sheffield Wednesday vs. Wigan Athletic match, that is.
Speaking to ITV on Wednesday (9 February), she recalled: "My daughter-in-law rang me last night and said, 'are you watching the football match?'
"I said 'no', and she said 'there's a cat that ran on the football pitch and it just looks like Topsey', and I sort of laughed it off because I thought it won't be.
"Then this morning I got a phone call from the vet to say that they'd got her because she's chipped."
The little fella left the stadium safe and sound 🐈 pic.twitter.com/cqL4owVWmS— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) February 8, 2022
Topsey has picked up a few nicks to the neck during her seven months missing, but vets said her blood results were 'satisfactory'.
Alison expressed her thanks to everyone at Hillsborough for the way they handled her cat.
She said: "Everybody has been brilliant – my phone's not stopped all day, it's amazing.
"And the players, I'd just like to say thank you for being so gentle and kind with her and everybody who looked after her last night because they've all been so nice with her and that's lovely."
Meanwhile, West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has had his cats taken off him by the RSPCA.
The RSPCA said in a statement: "The two cats are now in RSPCA care. Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.
"They've been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.
"We're grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation."
The club drew criticism for starting him in their match against Watford after the video emerged, but they said they had fined him the 'maximum amount possible' of two weeks' wages - reported to be in the region of £250,000 ($339,000).
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