cats often make “presents” of birds or mice to their owners – but not many have brought home a lizard.
So Jane Cheney was stunned when she discovered a gecko in her Livingston home after it was apparently rescued by her pet moggy, six-year-old Mufasa.
The grandmother-of-three named the creature Charlie and contacted the Scottish SPCA for help.
He is now being cared for at the animal welfare charity’s Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Balerno, where experts say he would not have survived outside in the cold for much longer had he not been found by Mufasa.
Ms Cheney, 54, of Shiel Walk, said: “I got up in the night to make myself a cup of tea because I couldn’t sleep and that’s when I found the gecko in the hall. Mufasa was sitting not far from it.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes. The only way he could have got into the house is by Mufasa bringing him in.
“He hasn’t brought me any presents in ages. In my last house, he used to bring presents in all the time – birds, mice and moles – but I’ve only been here for a year and this is the first time he’s brought me a present; it just so happened to be a lizard. He’s a gentle giant so I’m not surprised he didn’t hurt the gecko.”
She added: “I’m a big animal lover so I popped Charlie into a basin with some water and put my heating on to warm him up until the Scottish SPCA officer arrived.”
The SSPCA is now seeking the lost lizard’s owner and urged anyone with information to come forward.
Animal rescue officer Fiona Thorburn said: “This little gecko is slightly thin but otherwise in good condition and remarkably doesn’t have a scratch on him.
“He has dropped his tail, which is a defence mechanism lizards have which helps them escape from predators. He probably did this when Mufasa picked him up, but it will grow back in time.
“It’s very lucky that Charlie was found as geckos need heat and can’t survive for long outside in the cold. They also feed on insects which would be very difficult to find at this time of year. It’s likely that Charlie has escaped from home. However, we can’t rule out the possibility that he has been abandoned.
“If he’s a stray we’d love to reunite him with his owner. If no-one comes forward to claim him we’ll be looking to find him a loving new home with someone who has lizard experience.”
Anyone with information relating to Charlie, or wishing to rehome him, should call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.