A Peterborough family made five tries to cross the war-torn Ukrainian border with their cat, ultimately rescuing it from its previous family home.
A family from Peterborough has rescued their cat from a war-torn Ukrainian house.
Murchik, the family’s six-year-old cat, made five attempts to cross the Ukrainian border before making the 2,500-mile trek back to the family’s home in Thorney.
Frank Anderson, 56, and his Ukrainian wife Olha, 48, had intended to bring Murchik back to Peterborough when Olha’s mother passed away in August 2021.
Pavlo Udovychenko (10) with his father Frank Anderson and his brother Murchik in their Thorney home (image: David Lowndes)
Because of the UK’s exit from the European Union, Mr Anderson claimed the family was not permitted to bring Murchik back until at least February 1 this year – after which Russia’s invasion of Ukraine formally started on February 24.
‘He’s been fired at, bombarded, and constantly hears sirens,’ says the narrator.
Mr Anderson said, “As far as my wife Olha is concerned, the cat is part of the family – therefore rescuing the cat was the equivalent of saving her mother if she were still living.”
“We were on the verge of completing the preparations when the invasion occurred.”
“On Tuesday, we received the cat back” (April 5). He spent half of his trip in the heart of a warzone, where he was fired at, shelled, and constantly heard sirens.
“I have no doubt that during the first week that he was at Irpin, he saw and heard things that we would all be in a horrible position if we experienced.”
Their cat had previously been cared for by Olha’s old family neighbors, who had to flee their house one week into the battle due to constant shelling and were unable to take Murchik with them.
‘It’s a case of getting him over the border,’ says the speaker.
“Eventually, the shelling and fighting became too much for the neighbors, and they said, ‘We have to move out of here – but we won’t be able to take the cat because there won’t be enough place in our vehicle,'” he said.
“We were able to persuade her to leave the cat with a friend in North Kyiv. He stayed with us for a couple of weeks while we worked out the details, but it wasn’t safe for anybody to fly across the country. We ultimately found someone who was on their way to Laviv and was willing to transport the cat with them. We were able to get the cat to Laviv, so we knew he was secure. Then it was only a matter of getting him across the border.”
Murchik was smuggled over the Romanian border four times.
The family made touch with a guy escaping Ukraine on his way to Austria. It took him five tries to cross the border, and he finally made it to Romania before continuing on to Austria.
“Any guys of fighting age are not permitted to leave the nation; they must remain and fight,” he said.
“He was a student in his twenties, and we attempted to get him over the Polish border, but the Ukrainians handed him a rifle and ordered him to drop the cat and leave, despite the fact that students are exempt provided they have the proper documents.”
He had to try four more times to cross the Romanian border, so it wasn’t as simple as showing up and getting him through.”
‘He’s been strolling around and being pleasant for the most part.’
Olha went to Austria at the beginning of the week, picked up Murchik, and traveled by rail through Germany and France, where Frank picked them up in his vehicle.
“Plan B,” he said, “was to simply get in the vehicle and go to Laviv and do it ourselves, which would take three days.” “We weren’t going to move on from Plan A until we’d explored all other possibilities.” We would have had to do it if there was no other way to get the cat back.
“My wife was preparing to do just that the week before the invasion.” I was on the verge of concealing the passport. I couldn’t handle the idea of her being trapped there while we were here.”
Murchik has returned home and is making a full recovery.