the If you’ve lost your cat, in neighbourhood – who you gonna call? The cat hunter! Meet Louise Davies, Pet Detective...
Turning my car into a residential street, I gasped. About 20 people were lining the roadside, awaiting my arrival!
Or, more precisely, the arrival of the cat in a carrier on my back seat.
‘I can’t believe you found him,’ his owner wept.
Henry, a Norwegian forest cat, had been missing for two-and-a- half years and, although skinny and flea-bitten, he was finally home.
It was August 2017, and this was all in a day’s work for me.
I’m a cat detective, reuniting lost pets with their families, and successes like this make the job worthwhile.
I hadn’t even been looking for Henry, but a lady had called to say there was a stray in her garden.
Dashing over, I scanned his microchip and called the details
through to the charity I work with.
Five minutes later, I was on the phone to Henry’s owner, telling her the incredible news.
It all started when my one-yearold Bengal, Daisy, didn’t come in for tea one afternoon, back in September 2015. I was devastated.
‘It’s just not like her,’ I fretted to my husband, Paul, 58.
I rang the microchip company and reported her missing, put leaflets through doors and posted her picture on every Facebook missing pets page. Daisy has an extra toe, I wrote.
At work as a home help, I kept bursting into tears.
Back home, I was constantly tense, listening for a thump through the cat flap, heralding her return.
Then, eight days after Daisy disappeared, a carer at the Sue Ryder Hospice, two miles away, called.
‘There’s a cat lurking in our flower bed,’ he said. ‘I spotted your Facebook post and this cat is identical to yours – and even has an extra toe.’
Sure enough, when I arrived at the hospice and called Daisy’s name, she emerged from a rose bush and ran towards me, meowing.
‘Thank you so much,’ I gulped to the staff, overcome.
I reckon Daisy must have jumped into the back of a delivery van visiting ours – stopping at the hospice as she tried to make her way home.
I shared my good news on all the Facebook pages.
Then a lady called Jean contacted me…
I’ve lost my Persian and
I’m distraught, she wrote.
I’ve been in your shoes and it’s horrible, I replied.
But don’t give up hope.
A fortnight later, someone spotted her cat in their garden.
Seeing a need for someone who could offer advice and support to people who’d lost their pets, I set up two Facebook pages for cats missing in Gloucestershire.
Soon, I was spending up to six hours every day on the computer, sharing pictures of missing cats and emailing people advice on how to find them.
My cats – three Bengals and a rescue Siamese called Harvey – helped, sitting on my lap as I typed my messages.
Last year, charity Animals Lost and Found in Kent asked if I’d be its Gloucestershire volunteer. ‘Yes!’ I cried, thrilled. Having official status allowed me access to the database that lists the address linked to every cat’s microchip.
So I’d scan a stray with my microchip scanner, then call in the chip number to the database.
Within five minutes, I’d be on the phone to a relieved owner.
Sadly, not every story has a happy ending, and I’m often called out to scan dead cats found on the roadside.
Calling their owners is heartbreaking, but at least they have closure.
My biggest success has been finding a cat who’d been missing for eight years.
He was hanging around our local Waitrose but was extremely shy. It took me several visits – and lots of treats – to make him trust me. When I rang the owners to tell them Kit-kat was in my car, they couldn’t believe it.
‘We have to pay you,’ they wept when I delivered him to their door. But any money
I receive, I donate to different cat charities. Helping cats and their humans is reward enough. I won’t paws until every missing moggy is back home and safe.
Louise Davies, 58, Cheltenham,
Don’t give up hope…
My job is very rewarding
I love cats and want to help other owners
This is a device to scan the cats’ microchips
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Getting Daisy back was the best feeling