Missing cat Dave reunited with sibling Chas after 16 months
- Credit: Cats Protection
A cat owner was brought to tears after receiving a phone call 16 months later to tell her that her missing cat was safe and sound.
Helen Kybert, 45, moved to Watlington, near Downham Market in October 2019 with her two cats Chas and Dave, but Dave went missing a few weeks after the move when he got out of the house and failed to return.
At the time, his owner, who is a data officer at Downham Market Academy, asked her new neighbours to check their garages and garden sheds but there had been no sightings of the feline.
Worried that he was lost in an unfamiliar area, she then put posters on lamp posts and noticeboards and appealed for help on local Facebook groups.
She said: “I was devastated. The thought that Dave was gone for good terrified me.
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"I had only moved into my home two weeks before he went missing and I felt that maybe I had been too trusting in letting him go out so soon. I regretted that decision every day he was gone.
“I had recently left a relationship and was starting life on my own, so they were very important to me. They were and always will be a great comfort to me."
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The owner said it took her many months to come to terms with probably never seeing Dave again.
But that turned out not to be the case thanks to her updating Dave's contact details on the microchip database and flagging him as lost.
Cats Protection said this enabled its Downham Market adoption centre to reunite Dave with his owner and brother Chas 16 months later.
The data officer said: "It only takes a few minutes to do.
"If I hadn’t updated my address, Dave and Chas wouldn't be together at home today. I urge anyone with a microchipped cat to ensure their details are up to date.
"When they said they had my boy and he was alive and well, I cried and cried."
Becky Piggott, senior cat care assistant at the charity's Downham Market adoption centre, said: “We were called about a stray cat that had been found and, after evading capture a couple of times, he came into our care.
"When we saw that he had been marked as missing and his details on the database had recently been updated, we were thrilled."
His owner said: “Becky brought him back to me later that day and to see him again was amazing.
"He was a bit timid at first but before long he was sat on my lap purring, happy to be home where he belonged.
"He looked surprisingly well too - although a bit bigger around the middle.
“Someone must have been feeding him and I have to be grateful to them for that. Without that care and people reporting him as a stray, Dave wouldn’t have survived to return home to us."
She added that the feline quickly settled back to life with with her and Chas.
She said: "It's like he's never been away.
"They play fight, snuggle up and wash each other just like when they were kittens.
"I honestly believe he remembers everything from before he strayed. I couldn't ask for a better outcome.”
Cats Protection has said it supports government proposals that would make microchipping a legal requirement for pet cats, and recommends microchipping to ensure more cats could be reunited with their owners if they went missing.
Madison Rogers, senior advocacy and government relations officer at Cats Protection, said: "It is vital that contact details are kept up to date on microchips.
"Moving house is a busy time but it is really important owners update their details before letting their cats out as they could get lost in the new surroundings.”
"Thankfully, Chas and Dave are back together, oblivious to all the drama around Dave’s long absence."