Mum's beloved cat comes back
Clairvoyants, tracker dogs and hundreds of people all helped in the search for Moo the cat.
Now the black and white feline, who is Paige and Ashleigh Joy's last link to the their mum Judy, has returned home.
Moo was found on Monday hanging around a Flat Bush property about a kilometre from where he went missing on July 28.
"The whole of East Auckland had their eyes out. We tried everything but the Westpac helicopter," Paige said.
Paige and her sister Ashleigh have had a rough year with the death of their mother Judy Joy to cancer.
But when Moo, Judy Joy's companion when she was sick, went missing from his new home in Flat Bush four weeks later the sisters were left feeling empty.
Their mum's last wish on her hospital bed was that Moo be looked after.
The sisters are elated by the cat's return. "It's the happiest I've felt in a long time," Ashleigh said. "Maybe our luck's changing."
A suburb-wide cat hunt was sparked after a story about Moo's disappearance appeared in the Eastern Courier on August 6.
Paige said they were inundated by messages of support. Volunteers helped them deliver more than 2000 pamphlets - sometimes when it was raining.
"It just helped that the first newspaper article generated awareness."
Tracker dogs from Pukekohe joined in, following Moo's scent to a bush where the trail was lost.
Several clairvoyants called to say he was distressed but alive and would return by September.
Unfortunately the areas they suggested searching were close but not spot on.
Paige said the public caught at least six incorrect cats during the search.
"All the people in the neighbourhood who must have heard ‘Moo, Moo' for the past month ... if only he knew how famous he was."
Judy Joy ran the Sommerville Veterinary Centre's cattery before she fell ill.
Raewyn Smith from the centre said Moo was found by a woman who had just shifted in to a new Flat Bush address and found the cat hanging around.
"He turned up and the kids loved him and she realised ‘this cat belongs somewhere'."
The woman was unaware of the extensive hunt for the feline but found a missing cat listing at petsonthe net.co.nz and made contact.
"There's so many people we would like to thank, it's just insurmountable," Smith said. "It was a real community effort, everybody kept a good eye out for him."
Paige said Moo was skinny and spooked when he got back back and "in need of a good wash and some TLC".
When he first returned he went around the house calling for their mum. The sisters believe he went missing trying to make his way back to the family home in Howick. Ashleigh said they have someone in mind who might take in Moo.
"We want to keep him but he needs somebody who's around all the time."