Family reunited with missing moggy

Cat not so fat after draining experience

Last updated 08:00 30/01/2013
Catalina Smith
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
LOST AND FOUND: Catalina Smith, 16, with Bella the cat who went missing for three months and was returned after it was rescued from a stormwater drain.

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Bella the cat is a shadow of her former self, the result her Nelson owners believe of having been stuck in a drain for three months.

Before the fluffy tortoiseshell cat went missing from her Murphy St home she was so fat she couldn't jump up the stairs, said Diana Weinlich. "Now she's literally skin and bone."

The former SPCA cat who ruled the roost at their home for three years went missing for so long they thought she wasn't coming back, and replaced her with a new puppy.

It wasn't that they didn't want her. Dad David Smith, who works on a fishing boat, distributed notices and searched for her every day until he had to go back to sea.

The family was resigned to not seeing her again until the phone rang on Monday, with the caller asking if they had lost a cat.

A woman had alerted him to meowing coming from a stormwater drain in Orsman Crescent by his property. He opened the grille and a skinny cat looked up at him. He managed to get her out and rang the number on her collar.

"No way," was Miss Weinlich's disbelieving reaction. "We thought she was history."

She believes Bella must have got into the drain which goes from Murphy St to Orsman Cres and been unable to get out.

"I've no idea what she lived on, she's always been a hunter or maybe she lived off her own body fat."

Daughter Catalina, 16, said Bella was happy to be home and hadn't left her side since walking through the door. "It's good to have her back but my dad will be shocked to see her when he gets home from sea in six weeks because Bella was his cat and he loved her.

"We are very very thankful to the man who rescued our cat from the drain and the lady who heard her meowing."

Bella is making herself at home again, and keeping the puppy in his place.

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