Warm welcome awaits cat three years on

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2013
Colleen Creswell
FAIRFAX NZ

CAT CUDDLES: Colleen Creswell with Wicket, her daughter’s cat that went missing in Wellington three years ago.

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A Southland woman will be reunited with her beloved cat three years after it went missing in Wellington.

Winton-based vet Keryn Schuster (nee Cresswell) said her family never expected to see their cat Wicket again and were in "total shock" this week after being told it was alive and had been found just down the road from where it went missing.

It had been living under a house for three years.

Schuster and her family had lived in Townsville, Australia, for about 10 years before deciding to move home to New Zealand in 2010.

Wicket had been a stray kitten a jogger had brought into Mrs Schuster's Townsville clinic. Her family adopted the kitten.

The family were devastated when only a few days after they arrived in Wellington to stay with Mrs Schuster's mum, Colleen Cresswell, Wicket disappeared.

The family put up posters, contacted the SPCA and veterinary clinics and searched the area surrounding her mother's Korokoro home.

After six months they gave up hope of finding Wicket and moved to Southland where Schuster started work with VetSouth.

On Monday, Schuster's mother called from Wellington to give her the good news - a nearby home owner had found her long-lost pet.

It had been living under a house, just over the hill from her parents.

Donna Pettit had moved into a unit of a house in October and had been told a wild cat had lived under it for about three years.

A cat owner, she took pity on it, feeding it and she had decided to adopt it and named it Boots.

She took it to a vet in Wellington to get it vaccinated and the vet discovered it had a microchip, registered in Australia.

After contacting the SPCA and the central animal registry in Australia, she was given a database to search.

She phoned Colleen Cresswell because the cat had been registered under her address.

"We were in shock because my two daughters and I had been talking about Wicket the other day saying we still missed her," Schuster said.

The family were grateful to Ms Pettit for going to so much trouble to find the family when she had cared for the animal.

Pettit took the cat to her mother's house yesterday and her mother was arranging to put the cat on a plane to Invercargill in coming days.

Schuster hoped the well- travelled, 12-year-old pet would make itself at home in Southland.

Her daughters were ecstatic Wicket was coming home and could not wait to see the cat.

As a vet, she usually dished out advice about microchipping pets, but now she could tell clients her story and to never give up hope.

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- The Southland Times

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