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Padme home after 16 months

Source: - Bay of Plenty Times,


Owner says gleeful reunion ‘reward for hard work’ trying to locate prodigal pet.

A Tauranga family has been reunited with their beloved cat 16 months after it went missing.

Padme the black shorthair went missing from Melissa Winn's Pillan's Point home in January last year. Despite weeks of searching, calling and wild goose chases, Padme had not been seen since.

However, a call from Tauranga SPCA last week changed that.

Ms Winn said she became so excited when a message from the SPCA suggested there might have been a development in the search for the cat.

"We ended up playing phone tag over the course of a day. Then, when I was able to answer the phone, they told me the story, really calmly. I was like 'what?!' It was pathetic. I started crying. They found my cat. It was so exciting but how embarrassing," Ms Winn said.

A couple in Greerton had noticed a hungry and friendly black cat hanging about, so they fed it and called the SPCA to see if it had been reported lost. The SPCA advised the couple to bring the cat in to see if it had a microchip.

Because it was a former SPCA moggy, it did. SPCA staff found Padme's details and those of her owners were listed on the NZ Companion Animals Register. The SPCA was able to contact Ms Winn straight away.

"It was really nice. It was a bit like a reward for all the hard work I've done," Ms Winn said.

The mother of four, including a 3-month-old baby, said it had been a busy and exhausting time for the family who had since moved to Bureta.

"That's something that truly made my heart jump," she said. "I was really happy. I wanted to go straight away to get her."

Ms Winn brought some love heart treats along with her which she usually used when teaching Padme tricks.

"When we got there I got a love heart out and I was like 'Hi Padme'. I did a shake and she shook my hand. No cats do dog tricks like Padme. She also picked which hand the treats were in. She's super cool."

Ms Winn said the family were over the moon with Padme's return, especially her young son who originally named the cat.

"It's from Star Wars. When we got her from the SPCA, my son, who was obsessed with Star Wars at the time, wanted to call her Darth.

"But we couldn't really name her Darth because she was a girl, so we named her Padme because Padme was the girl in Star Wars."

Padme is now comfortable at home, with fellow cat Badeira, Barnaby the Jack Russell and a couple of rabbits. "She was really, really nervous when she came home but she seems to be getting on okay with the others. It's nice she's home. She puts Barnaby in his place."

Tauranga SPCA could not be reached yesterday, but said on their Facebook page this was a great example of the benefits of microchipping pets.

Kiara - reunited after two months

Another microchip success story!

Kiara has been reunited after 2 months. Lost from Avondale, she was found in Castor Bay North Shore.

That is a long long way away!

When listed as found on Pets on the Net, they suggested a visit to the vet to check for a chip and fortunately Kiara was on the NZCAR and her owner's contact details were all up to date.

Well done to all those involved in getting Kiara home.

kiara foundcat

Sintra's Story - back home and recovering

sintra back home
(Photo is of Sintra with our boys on the day we brought her home - they are ecstatic to have her back!)

Our cat Sintra had been with our family for seven years, and was one of those cats that everybody loved - she just had to be around people, was super friendly and absolutely adored by our two sons, who are now eleven and nine years old. One day last May she didn’t come home, which we thought was unusual, but we assumed maybe she had stayed at our neighbour’s house (she was well loved over there as well). She didn’t return the next day or night either, and we started to worry. After she hadn’t reappeared for several days we became very worried, thinking maybe she was locked in a shed or up a tree, and we put together a flyer that we delivered all around our neighbourhood. I put a note out on Facebook, and on Pets on the Net, but to no avail. Gradually time went on, and although we always hoped one day she would be found and her microchip scanned, our hope began to fade week by week. Months began to pass and we gradually started to accept the fact we would never see her again, or to find out what happened. It was the not knowing that was especially hard - we just wanted to know where she was and that she was ok.

Then, on the 27th of December, more than seven months after she disappeared, we received an email. It was from an emergency vet in Henderson, miles away from where we live in One Tree Hill. They said a cat had been brought in and our details were on the microchip. We couldn’t believe it, we were so excited, but our joy was short lived, as the vet explained that she was extremely sick, and her prognosis was not good. Our hearts sank, so my husband and I left the boys with relatives and went to see her - we didn’t want them upset by whatever state she was in. When we got to the vet, we saw our beloved pet, and could see that she recognised us straight away. She was so weak and thin, she couldn’t sit up, had lost half her body weight, was on an iv drip, her blood tests were all over the place and she had uncontrollable diarrhoea. The vet said we could keep treating her, to give her a chance, but he thought it was unlikely she would recover. We couldn’t bear the thought of her being found, then putting her straight to sleep, so we decided to give her a chance. She gradually began to show small improvements, so we transferred her to our own vet. Over the next week she improved more each day, until we were allowed to try treating her at home. We syringe fed her for four days, then with the help of an appetite stimulant she began eating and drinking again on her own. Now, only three and a half weeks after she was found at death’s door, she is looking amazing - she has put on over 1kg, her behaviour and disposition have returned to how she was before we lost her, and she is the happy, purring, content cat that we know and love. She is still a bit wobbly and trying to get her jumping skills back, but that will be a matter of time. She has amazed and delighted our vet and the nurses there, who cannot believe her recovery. She has become quite a celebrity amongst our family and friends with her miraculous recovery - if only she could tell her tale.

We have our beloved pet back only because a kind stranger saw how ill she was and took her to a vet, and then only because she was microchipped. The microchip saved her life, as we were able to be contacted and to give her a chance to recover. If our story can in any way help you to persuade others of the benefits of microchipping their beloved pets, then please feel free to use it. We can’t thank you enough for providing such a wonderful service, getting Sintra back was the best Christmas present we ever could have hoped for.

Best regards

Nicky and family

Is it really a stray cat?

pghdr dandelions


Our first instinct when we see a cat hanging about our property is to presume it is a stray. Often this is not the case.

Most experts recommend that if the cat looks healthy then make a bowl of water available, and if cold offer a sheltered place to sleep outside under a porch or in a shed. Food should usually be avoided at first unless the cat looks like it is in distress, skinny, injured or looks uncared for. Providing food can simply mean the cat will set up base with you rather than return home.

If you can approach the cat a paper collar with your phone number and a note to give you a call will be appreciated by owners who probably do not realise what their cats are doing - it may be simply that they are at work during the day. If the cat remains for more than a couple of days then contacting neighbours, posting a found notice on, or getting the animal checked for a microchip can also be worthwhile.

If the cat has been with you for a reasonable period of time and you are not wanting to offer it a home, then contacting the SPCA or any of the major shelters is probably advisable.

If a cat is unapproachable it could be an "unsocialised" cat. Such cats usually do not like to be touched and keep a good distance from you. In these cases it pays to seek advice or assistance with capturing humanely. Again the SPCA will be able to advise on this, also most larger centres in New Zealand have dedicated groups caring for unsocialised cats and colonies.

If you find a kitten, then these should not be left to fend for themselves as they are most likely unable to do so. Ideally a kitten should be given proper care while the owner is located, or the SPCA contacted so they can provide proper care and rehome once the kitten is well enough.

Prepared by the NZCAR team, with input from the RNZSPCA.