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  1. ITV Report

Meet Matilda - the cat that looks like Bagpuss found dumped in a bin

The dumped cat - named Matilda - bears a striking resemblance to TV character Bagpuss. Credit: RSPCA

Meet Matilda - the sorry-looking cat that bears a striking resemblance to children's TV character Bagpuss.

The Persian cat was found by refuse collectors, seemingly dumped in a chest-high bin and in a very poor state.

Just like the loveable 1970s TV "bit loose at the seams" star, Matilda is showing signs of wear and tear.

Thought to be aged about 12, she does not have a microchip but was wearing a pink collar.

Council workers knocked on doors at nearby flats in New Addington, Croydon, south London but could not find her owner.

Matilda is thought to be aged about 12 but has no microchip. Credit: RSPCA

Tom Goldsmith, one of those who discovered her, said: “She did have sticky eyes and seemed unwell so we took her to RSPCA Putney for a check over.

“I think it’s unlikely she got into the bin herself because of the position and height of it, so sadly this may have been done deliberately.”

Jo Elmes, from RSPCA Putney, said: “As soon as we saw poor Matilda she reminded us of the much-loved childhood character Bagpuss.

"We can’t believe someone thought she was rubbish, she is such a sweet girl.

RSPCA staff think Matilda looks like TV character Bagpuss. Credit: PA

“She is doing really well here, though, so if no one comes forward, hopefully we can find her a loving new home - although perhaps not with a woodpecker and some mice!" added Jo.

Bagpuss featured in just 13 episodes in 1974, starring alongside Professor Yaffle (a woodpecker), mice and a rag doll called Madeleine.

On the show, he was described as "a saggy, old cloth cat, baggy, and a bit loose at the seams".

It seems Matilda is also not in tip-top shape. As well as showing symptoms of cat flu, she may also be suffering because of her breed.

Persians are bred with extremely short, flat faces (known as brachycephalic) and as a result can experience health and welfare issues including breathing difficulties and problems with their tear ducts.

If anyone recognises Matilda or knows how she came to be in the bin they can ring the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

Bagpuss creator Peter Firmin received a British Academy Children's Award in 2014. Credit: AP
  • What to do if you can no longer care for your pet

Thousands of pets, not just cats and dogs, are dumped every year in the UK.

But there are dozens of charities that can help rehome a furry friend.

Many are well known with branches nationwide - such as the RSPCA, Blue Cross, PAWS and the Dogs Trust - while others are smaller, local animal charities and rescue centres.

If you're struggling to look after your pet - your new landlord doesn't accept pets, your dog has behavioural issues, you can't afford vet bills etc - rather than dump it at the roadside, contact one of the charities.

Many have specialist rehoming services, while larger ones - such as Battersea - take in unwanted animals.