Pets stage great escape from cattery

Several South Canterbury pet owners have had a dampener put on their seasonal festivities after nine cats escaped from a Woodbury cattery on Christmas Eve.

One of the fugitives had been spotted in the vicinity yesterday afternoon and its owners were trying to catch it.

Carol Seaton, owner of the Seaton Cattery, said it looked as though the escapees had made a hole through the double chicken-wire fence of their enclosure.

"This has never happened before in the 35 years [of the cattery]. I'm really upset."

Seaton said she was really sorry for the owners. She was unsure what had led to the cats running away.

"Maybe they were frightened by dogs barking in the neighbourhood, or maybe the cats had a confrontation," she said.

Geraldine woman Rae Hughes is devastated that her cat, Tigger, a regular visitor to the cattery, has disappeared.

Tigger, 7, has been lodged there about 15 times, for vacations or when the family has people staying over as it does not cope well with lots of people. Hughes has a full house over the festive season.

After opening presents on Christmas morning, she was informed Tigger had run away.

"Carol rang, crying. I said: 'There's no time for crying' and got in the truck and went to look for him," Hughes said.

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She said Tigger should have been put in in a cage overnight, not left in the enclosure, as it was known to be feisty.

Hughes will keep looking but is hoping Tigger may just turn up at home, though it could take a few days to cover the 8 kilometres. She is also offering a $100 reward for her pet's return.

SPCA manager Barry Fairbrother said if a cat was determined it could claw or chew wire, pulling and weakening it over time.

"They don't need much of a gap, they are pretty slinky."

He said it was amazing what some cats could do, though the SPCA facility had not had such an issue with cats.

"They have all day to think about how to get out," he said.

It is not the first time a cat has gone missing from a South Canterbury cattery. In May the Herald reported that an owner collected the wrong cat. The correct owner of Tui, Heather Divan, still hopes the cat will turn up, or has adopted another family and is being looked after.

"I really feel sorry for [the owners]. Hopefully they will still be in the area," Divan said. 

 - The Timaru Herald

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