The cat – who was known to staff and inmates at HMP Grampian in Peterhead as ‘one-eyed Joe’ – was discovered in a store aboard an oil rig in the North Sea.
Described as ‘friendly’, he is believed to have stowed away in a shipping container at an oil industry supply yard in Peterhead where he was also regularly fed by staff.
The container was loaded onto a supply vessel and delivered to the rig where the fearless feline went to roam the grappling hook again for a meal.
After befriending the workers, Joe became a celebrity guest, albeit briefly, as the owners of the facility adhered to strict health and safety rules and sounded the alarm about his offshore presence.
The Scottish SPCA then sent one of its animal rescuers to meet Joe after he was taken from the rig to Aberdeen Heliport and onto dry land.
It wasn’t until he was back at the national animal charity’s shelter that his true identity was revealed by a scan of his implanted microchip.
And far from being a feral cat no one wanted, Joe turned out to be a much-loved extinct pet named Dexter.
The stray cat disappeared from its owners’ home in Peterhead more than five years ago and survived largely thanks to its good nature, foraging for food at the local jail, residents and Asco workers , an oil and gas exploration service in the city.
News of his discovery aboard the rig first appeared in a social media post from an oil worker’s wife, along with a photo of the cat and a plea to its owners. for them to show up.
The message read: “My husband is off at the moment on a night shift and this poor cat was found in a shopping container last night.”
He said, “Is anyone missing a black cat with one eye with a very faint white mark on the chest?”
“Believe it or not, it appeared offshore, was found in one of the stores containers. Very friendly cat and needs to find its owner.”
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Following the post, dozens of people claimed to know him, with many Peterhead residents claiming they fed him or knew someone who did.
The Scottish SPCA were alerted to the Dexter’s presence on the rig on Thursday and he was flown back to Aberdeen on a helicopter flight scheduled for Friday morning.
Animal Rescue Officer, Aimee Findlay said: ‘We have been alerted to an incident where a cat has been found offshore.
“We have no idea how the cat ended up there, but we went to the helipad this morning to pick him up.
‘The cat had been nicknamed ‘one-eyed Joe’ by the prison who had been feeding him for five years, but after checking him for a microchip, it turns out his real name is Dexter and he’s been missing for five years .
“We are delighted that he was well cared for during the time he disappeared, but we were even more delighted to be able to reunite him with his original owner thanks to his updated microchip.”