A Westminster woman has started a petition after her beloved kitten Ghost died due to a hereditary heart disease which was only discovered after she arrived home.
Dianna Voyatzis, 23, purchased Ghost, a grey tabby, for £400 on Gumtree during the first lockdown in April, though was shocked when her parents brought home a different kitten than the long-haired tabby the seller had sent photos of.
However, the Maida Vale resident felt an instant connection and bonded with Ghost, making the decision to keep the kitten despite the alarm bells.
Dianna said: “I was too ill to pick up the kitten as I had MRSA on my arm. When my family brought Ghost home, I noticed straight away it was the wrong kitten. She looked completely different.
“I didn’t say anything to the breeder at first, because she was such a special kitten. I instantly bonded with her and I fell in love with her straight away.”
Due to being at high risk of the virus, Dianna was unable to take Ghost for her routine vaccinations as early as she would have liked, though the vet reassured Dianna that Ghost would be safe indoors.
When she was able to take Ghost to the vets, Dianna was devastated to be told that the kitten had a heart condition and was given just days to live, leaving the family heartbroken.
“When we took her for her routine vaccinations the vet said: ‘I’m really sorry but I can’t vaccinate her because she’s got a heart murmur’,” said Dianna.
“We took her to another vet and when they drained the fluid from her stomach it was consistent with heart failure, and they gave Ghost two days to two weeks to live.
“I just couldn’t believe it. Ghost appeared to be completely fine. She never showed any symptoms of being unwell.”
Dianna did everything in her power to save Ghost, taking her to the Royal Veterinary College, who eventually decided not to operate on the kitten due to the stunted growth caused by the heart failure.
Just days later on the 7th December, Dianna was due to take Ghost to the Davis Veterinary Specialists in Luton to correct the valve in her heart, but the kitten didn’t make it through the night.
Dianna said: “The next day we were taking her to the Davis Veterinary Specialists in Luton, because there are only three clinics in Europe that can provide the treatment.
“The appointment was at 9am and she died at 5:13am, so we were a matter of hours away from taking her.”
After Ghost’s passing, Dianna tried to make contact with the breeder in search of answers, though the seller ignored all communication.
“We knew that something wasn’t right, but it wasn’t until after Ghost died that we contacted him,” said Dianna.
“Looking back now there are so many things that went wrong. He advertised under a different name and the only way we found out his real name was through the bank transfer; he didn’t let us come to his house and he gave us the wrong kitten.”
Determined to use Ghost’s story as a vehicle for positive change, Dianna started a petition named ‘Ghost’s law’, which has received over 9,000 signatures, and aims to ensure veterinary checks are mandatory before a kitten can be sold online.
Dianna said: “Ghost was still alive when I started the petition. Now when I think about it its more about leaving a legacy for her.
“I know it’s not going to get rid of every dishonest breeder in the world but at least it will raise awareness. That’s all I want. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I’ve gone through.
“During lockdown a lot of people have been exploited by these people and it’s just not right. I’ve had so many people message me saying the same thing has happened to them.”
Dianna’s petition to implement Ghost’s law will require a government response once it reaches 10,000 signatures.
Anyone who wants to support the petition can do so by clicking here.