Owner spotted ‘missing cat’ appeal by one of the charity’s animal centres
An elderly cat has been reunited with her family who gave up hope of ever seeing her again after she vanished more than 10 years ago.
Whiskas, who is 16 years old, was underweight and in a poor condition when she was found straying in Chilton Moor near Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear, a short distance from where she went missing. She was being fed by a local resident, who managed to gain her trust to take her to a vets, where it was found her out-of-date microchip originated from an RSPCA branch in the North East many years ago.
After receiving medical treatment, Whiskas was taken into care at RSPCA Felledge Animal Centre who placed an appeal on the centre’s website and social media in December.
Amazingly, Linda Ellerton (pictured) spotted the post and recognised the black and white feline, whom she had last seen in 2013. She contacted the RSPCA and the charity’s animal rescue officer David Dawson was quickly able to reunite her and her family with Whiskas.
Whiskas has now settled in with Linda’s brother, David Jeffrey, who can offer her the care and the quiet life in her later years she deserves as Linda, herself, now has a large dog at her home.
She recalls how the rescue cat, whom she adopted after finding her abandoned under a hedge as a tiny kitten in Scotland in 2007, vanished from her large garden one night. Since her disappearance, Linda’s family have moved away from the area to Hazelrigg near Newcastle-upon-Tyne and her owner said: “When I saw the RSPCA Facebook post it mentioned the DH4 postal area where we’d lived and I thought it can’t possibly be Whiskas after all these years. I thought the photos looked like her, but it had been so long and we’d never thought we’d see her again.
“We microchipped Whiskas when we lived in Gateshead after we rescued her and another cat as kittens. They both went on to have litters with most of the cats having since been rehomed. We’d moved (to Houghton le Spring) and we had a few cats at that point and she just disappeared. We thought she had found somewhere else to live when she didn’t come in one night.
“I’ve been in touch with the gentleman who found her, apparently she was living in his garden shed, and we can’t thank him and the RSPCA enough.
“She is 16 and I’ve now got a dog, so it would be difficult for a cat her age to live with me, but my brother, David, was only too happy to take her and keep her in the family. When the RSPCA officer brought her to my brother’s, she came over to me straight away.”
David said: “It was pleasing that we were able to reunite Linda with Whiskas after all these years. She had a cuddle with her and it was very emotional to see.
“The family had given up hope of seeing the cat again, but fortunately, the man who had been feeding her for several months was so concerned about her condition that he managed to get her to a vets.
“It is important that owners keep microchip details up to date when they move home as it makes the task of reuniting them with their pets so much easier.”
Whiskas has put on weight and is making a good recovery after, possibly, many years of living as a stray. She is suffering from a kidney problem and will need ongoing vet treatment, which the RSPCA has advised her owner about.
Under new Government legislation, which was announced in March last year, from June 10, 2024 it will be a legal requirement to microchip pet cats once they reach 20 weeks of age. Owners will also be required to keep their contact details up-to-date on a pet microchipping database. Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to get one implanted or may face a fine of up to £500.
This year the RSPCA celebrates its 200th birthday. To mark this special anniversary the animal welfare charity wants to inspire one million people to join their movement to improve animals’ lives. To find out how you can join their million-strong movement for animals visit www.rspca.org.uk/200.