9th Dec, 2016

Tigger the kitten earns his stripes after stowing-away in Royal Navy pilot's car at Birmingham Airport

Solihull Editorial 20th Jun, 2016 Updated: 24th Oct, 2016

A KITTEN who stowed-away inside a navy helicopter pilot’s car on a 300-mile journey from Birmingham to Cornwall has found a new home.

The feline – lovingly christened Tigger – is thought to have climbed inside the rear bumper of Lieutenant Nick Grimmer’s BMW at Birmingham airport, only to be discovered when the 32-year-old arrived back at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.

Pulling up at the Cornwall base, Lt Grimmer heard a quiet meowing coming from his car.

“I’d landed at Birmingham after a holiday and travelled via Bristol and Bath before arriving in Cornwall quite late,” Nick explained.

“I looked in the boot, under the bonnet and climbed all over and under it and still couldn’t find what was making the noise.

“Enlisting the help of our air engineers, they came and helped me to start dismantling my pride and joy BMW.”

Carefully taking the rear bumper off the car, the group were greeted by a tiny, terrified striped kitten.

And, conscious not to be late for work, submarine–hunting helicopter pilot Nick took his new furry companion into work with him.

“He was understandably distressed,” Nick told the Observer.

“I tried to put him in a box, but he wouldn’t stay in there so a colleague of mine suggested putting him in my helmet.

“He crawled into it, snuggled up and fell asleep – he’s barely left it since.”

Enamored by their new furry companion, the squadron christened him Tigger – his stripes bearing a remarkable resemblance to the striped markings on their multi-million-pound grey and white helicopters.

Nick added: “The 814 Naval Air Squadron are unofficially named the Flying Tigers, so we have a tiger face on our crest and on our nose cones.

“So it only seemed right to name the little kitten Tigger in honour of that.

“He’s not microchipped and we are waiting for his owners to come forward and claim him.

“Though in the meantime our Commander, who has two young daughters, have taken Tigger in and given him a loving home.”

And with the squadron preparing to head out to the Mediterranean sea on a NATO exercise in the coming weeks, it is hoped that Tigger settles in to his new home.

Nick’s friend and colleague, Lieutenant Max White, added: “I walked into work and Nick just said, he had a new mascot to show me.

“I was expecting it to be a teddy or something, but instead he showed me a tiny cat curled up asleep in his helmet.

“Obviously we’re delighted to have him – as if you look back to Napoleon’s time, it was tradition for Royal Naval units to have ships cats to catch rats.

“But nowadays, if you look at it practically, we’re an operational squadron with helicopters flying around so we can’t have a little cat roaming about.

“Tigger will always be a great mascot who can come visit, but we think it’s best he do his duties from the comfort and safety of the Commanding Officer’s home.”