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REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Cloud the lost cat from Upper Hutt Wellington Wednesday 25 April 2018 @ 13:00

REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Cloud from Upper Hutt

"I adopted my wee kitten, Cloud, from the SPCA four months ago along with his brother Link when they were only 9 weeks old. We had been wanting kittens for a long time and as we had just bought our first home together we knew adopting fur babies would make our lives complete.

They were inseparable, would always play together and sleep together. They have always been indoor cats and only go outside when mummy or daddy are around to watch over them. Cloud had never been off the property (except for vet visits) until the morning of the 20th of April 2018, around 8:30am, when I heard fighting between cats and saw him dart over the fence into an area with a block of flats.

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He had been chased over the fence by a cat from another property. I was so scared I didn’t know what to do but call him and run after him. He didn’t respond to me calling his name and by the time I got around the other side of the fence he was no where to be seen.

I kept calling and calling, I wasn’t allowed to search the property I believed he was still on as it was a block of respite/recovery units and the office had declined my request to door knock or simply wonder around calling him and shaking his bag of treats. At about 1pm I called everyone I could think of to report Cloud missing after a couple of hours: Vets, the SPCA, the city council. I posted on social media and community pages and asked our friends to spread the word.

I registered with every website I could find to post about my missing fur baby including Lost Pet Finders. My partner and I searched the neighbourhood, calling his name and shaking the treat bag but still couldn’t find him, we couldn’t hear him, we thought surely if he was trapped in a garage or garden shed or even under a house he would hear us calling for him and meow to let us know he was there, but with the sound of the wind blowing, cars driving down the street and other day time noises it was nearly impossible to be able to hear the faint noise of a kitten trapped or hiding anywhere.

We printed flyers, went door knocking and asked to put up flyers in local stores around my area, everyone was happy to help and to provide suggestions. The one suggestion I thought was weird but a very good idea is to put Clouds bedding, kitty litter tray and our dirty laundry outside so if he was lost he could find his way home by following the scent.

Clouds brother was inconsolable and cried, loudly, for most of the day once he realised his brother was gone. I felt like such a bad parent, loosing my fur baby when I swore I would always look after him and never let anything bad happen to him or his brother. At about 6pm we made our way back home and ordered takeaways as neither of us were able to comprehend the idea of cooking and were too beside ourselves to concentrate on such a task.

It was getting dark and I was becoming more are more concerned, I even ended up in tears thinking of all the bad things that could have happened to my sweet boy. Trying to stay positive I attempted to distract myself with some TV, it didn’t work that well but well enough that I gave myself some time to get through my dinner and try to calm down.

At about 8pm I gave Clouds brother, Link, his Wiskers squishy food (the pouches) and automatically dished Clouds up as well. They say cats usually come home when they are hungry or it is their usual feeding time, for us that time is usually about 7pm and Cloud wasn’t home yet. I took the plate of food outside up to the fence where he had jumped from when he had disappeared, I tapped the plate and called out “squishy” - they associate this with dinner time as it’s what we usually call out, and called his name over and over.

I thought I heard him meow so I did it again and heard him meow louder, I knew it had to be him so I attempted to jump the fence, it worked but I slightly injured myself In the process (wouldn't recommend when you don’t have a lot of upper body strength) I saw him pop his head out of the broke hatch leading to under the floor of the units that back onto our property (the ones I wasn’t allowed to search earlier) so I went to the boundary line and continued to call him to me, he wouldn’t budge he was so scared.

Luckily the resident of the unit came out to see what all the fuss was so I asked for her permission to try to get Cloud out so I could take him home. It took quite a bit of work and coaxing to get him out and he was cold and shaking in fear but I wrapped him tightly against me in my cardigan and walked him home. He is now warm and safe back where he belongs with his family.

The key to being reunited is to make as many people as possible aware of your missing pet and to ask them to keep an eye out and search their section especially garages under the house, even if it’s just calling the pets name and listening for a response. I haven’t yet come across anyone unwilling to help, if anything they are more than happy to point you in the direction of what to do when you lose a pet." - Sacha

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