How stray Chatham Islands cat found a new home in Christchurch

Henry right with his new best mate, Greg Johns.
Henry right with his new best mate, Greg Johns. Photo credit: Supplied via RNZ

Maja Burry for RNZ

A stray Chatham Islands cat which stole the hearts of a remotely based construction crew is getting a second chance at life in Ōtautahi / Christchurch.

Transport supervisor and Christchurch resident Greg Johns spent much of last year working on the Chatham Islands, where a major airport expansion project is underway.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, a stray black and white cat turned up on the isolated and barren site, about 20km from the Island's township.

"It was about 8am and [Henry] sort of walked up to the first person that he saw and gave them a bit of a smooch, and basically he just never went away."

Johns said it was believed Henry had been abandoned somewhere nearby, and had been sleeping in the bushes around the airport.

Henry likely had not been sleeping rough for long, but Johns said the young male cat was definitely in need of a home and very quickly won over the crew, who rallied together to feed and care for him.

"There was a couple of guys that actually stay on site, so he pretty much moved in with them ... he didn't mind curling up on their beds if he was invited."

When Christmas approached and the team prepared to leave the island, Johns said he hated the thought of Henry being left behind with nobody to look after him.

"How could you not give him a home? He's such a friendly cat and he's and he's a real people cat, so it'd be a shame for him to just be left out there."

Henry settles into his new life in Christchurch.
Henry settles into his new life in Christchurch. Photo credit: Supplied via RNZ

Airport terminal staff said they would be unable to care for Henry as they could not have stray animals around, so Johns bundled Henry into a cat carrier and took him on the two-hour flight back to Christchurch.

He said over the past few weeks Henry had settled in extremely well to his new life on the mainland, and had been adopted by Johns' eldest daughter who "jumped" at the opportunity to take Henry on.

Henry had been to the vet to get all the necessary shots and be microchipped, and Johns said he was pleased the cat was living the life it deserved.

"He was just too nice a cat to just leave on his own again."