In­cred­i­ble jour­ney: 100km walk home

Waitaki Herald - - NEWS - By NI­COLA WOLFE Own­ers Vic and Mar­lene San­dri, with neigh­bour Peter Simp­son, left, where be­yond happy when Frankie re­turned home from a two year so­journ last week.

When Vic and Mar­lene San­dri’s beloved cat Frankie accidentally went for a trip to Macraes Mines al­most 24 months ago, he was pre­sumed lost, prob­a­bly dead.

But the Oa­maru cou­ple got the big­gest sur­prise of their life last week when Frankie turned up at home out of the blue.

The 4- year- old cat was vis­it­ing neigh­bour Peter Simp­son, a Macraes bus driver, about two years ago, when his adventure started.

‘‘I was wash­ing the bus and left the door open, and went away to let it dry. Un­be­known to me the cat must have jumped in the back.

‘‘When I came back I shut the door to drive up to Macraes,’’ Simp­son said. ‘‘When we ar­rived and opened the door the cat jumped out and ran off.’’

Three days later, af­ter the San­dris had scoured the neigh­bour­hood, Simp­son heard Frankie had gone miss­ing and told them what hap­pened.

They searched Macraes Flat, a North Otago town about 100 kilo­me­tres south of Oa­maru, ask­ing around and putting up posters. ‘‘ No one spot­ted him,’’ said Simp­son. About two weeks later he saw a dead cat on the side of

the road near Macraes, with sim­i­lar mark­ings so it was pre­sumed Frankie was dead.

‘‘I didn’t like the neigh­bour for a while,’’ said Mar­lene.

‘‘I was in the pits,’’ Simp­son added.

‘‘The thing that wor­ried us the most was that (Frankie) doesn’t like peo­ple. He’s very wary and very timid,’’ Mar­lene said.

To make mat­ters worse, Frankie had lost an eye years ear­lier.

‘‘He had a big­ger chal­lenge then most other cats,’’ Vic said.

‘‘He wouldn’t have sur­vived up there. They shoot feral cats.’’

‘‘And he had all those rivers to cross,’’ Mar­lene added.

But al­most two years later, Frankie came home.

‘‘He turned up here af­ter all this time,’’ Mar­lene said.

Frankie was spot­ted by a neigh­bour who ran to tell the San­dris.

They couldn’t see him at first, so they sat and qui­etly called his name. ‘‘And he came to us. ‘‘He was re­ally, re­ally ex­hausted. He was very hun­gry, very de­hy­drated and his fur was very dry. I rushed and got him a big bowl of food.

‘‘We all cried and cried. I think I was still cry­ing when I went to bed.

‘‘ It’s lovely to see him again.’’

Mar­lene said Frankie had been ‘‘a bit jumpy’’ for the first few days

‘‘We’ve let him rest and eat. He’s been eat­ing a lot since he came home.’’

Simp­son and the San­dris are be­mused by Frankie’s jour­ney.

‘‘I don’t think he was looked af­ter be­cause of the state he was in. I wish he could tell us the story,’’ Mar­lene said.

‘‘ Some peo­ple think an­i­mals don’t care but ob­vi­ously they do. They are far more in­tel­li­gent then we give them credit.

‘‘It makes you feel per­son­ally good that an an­i­mal cares that much to make such a jour­ney home.

‘‘Good things do hap­pen to good peo­ple.’’

‘‘There aren’t many sto­ries like that,’’ said Vic.

‘‘Frankie’’ went for a trip to Macraes Mines al­most 24 months ago.

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