It’s a cat-as­tro­phe

Res­i­dents get their backs up with claims of cat-nap­ping at Monto aged care home then fur flies as Health Min­is­ter steps in

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Emily Smith

MONTO’S aged care res­i­dents have been left shaken by a dis­turb­ing cat-nap­ping in­ci­dent on Mon­day.

With­out any warn­ing, Ridge­haven Aged Care’s two pet cats, Missy and Tommy, were re­port­edly trapped and re­lo­cated to some­where on Langs Rd.

Af­ter dis­tressed el­derly res­i­dents spent the weekend search­ing in vain for the two miss­ing fe­lines, the mat­ter has now reached Health Min­is­ter Lawrence Spring­borg’s of­fice.

“It was very dis­tress­ing to hear that the loved cats of Ridge­haven have gone astray,” said a spokes­woman from the Of­fice of the Health Min­is­ter.

“This of­fice un­der­stands Queens­land Health is fully co-op­er­at­ing with Ridge­haven man­age­ment to lo­cate the miss­ing cats.”

A BE­WIL­DER­ING cat ab­duc­tion from Ridge­haven Aged Care Cen­tre by a Monto Hospi­tal em­ployee has es­ca­lated to the of­fice of the Queens­land Health Min­is­ter.

The four-year-old cats Tommy and Missy were re­ported miss­ing on Mon­day, July 7, the same day a feral cat trap was hired from North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil.

Monto Aged Care Cen­tre pres­i­dent Paul Lobegeier said af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by el­derly res­i­dents, he un­der­stood a hospi­tal staff mem­ber had trapped and re­lo­cated the cats.

How­ever, the an­i­mals’ fate is still un­known.

“We were told on Fri­day, af­ter a se­ries of other sto­ries, that the cats were caught and re­lo­cated to Langs Rd,” Mr Lobegeier said.

Hours of search­ing on Satur­day failed to find them.

“If they (the staff mem­ber) re­ally did re­lo­cate them, it would be help­ful if they would come and mark the ex­act spot they let the cats go,” Mr Lobegeier said.

“My big con­cern is that we may have been given false in­for­ma­tion, which may be giv­ing false hope to so many people.

“Missy and Tommy on many oc­ca­sions have shared the last mo­ments of life with our res­i­dents and their fam­i­lies.”

Monto Hospi­tal is only me­tres away from Ridge­haven Aged Care fa­cil­ity, so it is pos­si­ble the cats strayed onto hospi­tal grounds. Ridge­haven staff had not re­ceived a com­plaint from the hospi­tal or Queens­land Health about the cats be­ing a nui­sance.

A spokes­woman for Queens­land Health Min­is­ter Lawrence Spring­borg said the depart­ment was co-op­er­at­ing with Ridge­haven to find the cats.

She said the depart­ment had spo­ken to Wide Bay Hospi­tal and Health Board chair­man Do­minic Devine, who had of­fered as­sur­ances to Ridge­haven.

The cats were mi­crochipped and de­sexed.

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