Incredible journey: 100km walk home
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.