Legal battle for disputed feline ends in 'Christmas miracle'
Christmas could not be better for Auckland woman Joyce Quah who was reunited with her beloved cat Chloe after a year-long tussle for ownership.
Quah picked up her pedigree chinchilla persian cat on Wednesday evening at the Point Chevalier Veterinary Clinic after she went missing from her home almost a year ago.
Quah was overwhelmed to be reunited with her "baby".
"I'm so overwhelmed, this is really good," Quah said.
She said Chloe seemed to recognise her, and although her coat had a few knots, she seemed alright.
"I've booked a visit to the vets for her to be checked over tomorrow."
A custody battle over the cat, between Quah and an Auckland social media doyen, has involved public posts, police, demands for DNA tests, visitation rights and finally went to court with the Disputes Tribunal ordering Chloe be returned to Quah.
Quah, 25, was ecstatic to learn the tribunal ruled in her favour on Wednesday morning.
"I'm so happy! I'm shouting and crying and hugging my other cat, I'm getting my baby back!" Quah said.
At the start of the year, Chloe went missing from Quah's Point Chevalier home.
Then Auckland teen Caitlin Davidson (known as Caito Potatoe online) introduced a cat to her half-a-million social media followers which was strikingly similar to Chloe.
She named it Darling on one of her video monologues and said she had found Darling wandering the streets.
Davidson posts frequent short clips of herself ranting about what has happened in her life. Her posts often get thousands of likes, shares and comments on YouTube and Facebook, so it was not long before her new cat caught the eye of Quah's friends.
They alerted Quah to the possibility that Darling was in fact the missing Chloe.
But Davidson refused Quah's pleas to return the cat - the case headed to the Disputes Tribunal and Quah said on Wednesday it ruled that Darling was in fact Chloe and had to be returned.
Davidson's father, Tom, said he was disappointed with the tribunal result.
"All we did was rescue a cat, love it and look after it as any civilised person would. We will miss Darling terribly but wish her a long and happy life with Miss Quah. Thank you to friends and family who have supported us throughout," Davidson said.
Quah said she was now happy to leave the situation in the past and move on.
"I hope there's no more drama, I want to start fresh for 2016, it's been such an insane year.
"I'm really glad this is all over... nobody prepares for something like this. I'm so thankful to everyone who has helped and supported me through this."
Quah thanked her lawyer Thomas Bloy who worked pro bono and the thousands of supporters she gained.
Quah's Facebook page, Friends of Chloe, generated more than 2000 followers who supported Quah through her year-long battle.
"Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart for all your support. I could not have done this without legal help from my lawyer... This was such a long battle to get my baby back."
Quah said she would arrange a 'Meet Chloe' event for fans early in 2016, but in the meantime she wanted to settle Chloe back home.
"This feels so right, this day is incredible," Quah said.