A woman from Doncaster was left “distraught” after her elderly cat was accidentally relocated nearly 120 miles from Bedford.
In February 2018, Deborah Spencer and her partner moved “literally two villages apart” from one area of Doncaster to another.
At the time, the couple had no way of knowing their move would result in the loss of their beloved cat, Oscar, whom Deborah, 54, adopted from the RSPCA in 2004.
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Oscar, who had been taken in by Deborah when he was only 18 months old, has spent most of his life living happily in Doncaster – but now lives 118 miles away in Bedford, after a “cruel blow from the fate ”which has seen nearly 20 -a one-year-old cat be adopted by mistake.
Deborah said Yorkshire Live : “Basically we moved and he lived quite happily here with his longtime companion, Poppy, until his tragic death.
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“So I adopted another senior cat for company and then one day in early February 2020 he went out one morning and never came home.”
Deborah, devastated by the loss of her beloved feline, said she “did all the usual research” including flyers, calls around her local vets and other rescue centers in the area.
“And nothing. No news, nothing at all,” Deborah said, adding that she had finally resigned herself to believing that Oscar, being old and crippled, was probably dead from exposure after being missing for so long. .
But what Deborah hadn’t counted on was that in fact Oscar had found his way 100 miles on the M62 and was in Liverpool.
Unbeknownst to Deborah, he had spent the last few years living in the wild on a college campus and was sometimes cared for by kind students, who fed him during school time.
And it wasn’t until last week that Deborah decided to make one last attempt to find her lost cat, suddenly struck – after nearly two years – by the relentless feeling that he might still be alive.
Deborah said: “I was sitting watching TV last Sunday night and something, I can’t explain what, occurred to me to go to the lost and found animals website in Doncaster and to watch.”
That’s when Deborah is confronted with an ad for a lost cat, found in Liverpool, and she knows it’s about Oscar.
She was eventually reported to a local Liverpool cat rescue charity and told them Oscar had been put back there – and was due to be relocated soon.
So she said she started texting and emailing, with all of Oscar’s details and photos of him, telling them it was her cat.
“The next morning I called constantly, I texted and e-mailed, sent a message giving the microchip details, I sent an e-mail marking it as urgent, but they never responded, ”Deborah said.
Frantic with worry, Deborah claims she didn’t hear about the cat’s rescue until later that afternoon, but by then it was too late because Oscar had already been relocated.
And, to make matters worse, he had been relocated to Bedford.
Deborah said: “I begged them and begged them to give the number or details of where he had been, so that I could ask for the cat to be taken home. I just couldn’t understand why anyone. one would do it, knowing that I was trying to get in touch with them.
“I’m upset about this, I really am, because he only has a few months to live as he suffers from various health issues and the cat rescue place was judge, jury and played god to decide who my cat is going to. “
But June Watkins, who owns and runs the lifesaving charity in Liverpool, said Yorkshire Live that she had tried several times to contact Deborah before repatriating Oscar.
She said: “We asked two girls to hand us a cat, they brought the cat to me, signed the forms and when they went I noticed the cat was really in a very, very , very bad condition.
“I scanned the cat and once I scanned it I contacted the microchip company and there were two numbers, one was unobtainable and the other there was never had an answer. “
In what Deborah described as a “cruel twist of fate,” the rescue center was unable to contact her because details of Oscar’s microchip were out of date.
Deborah said: “You know what an upsetting move is, you have to change everything and I had filled out the little slip at the bottom of the Certificate of Identity and went to send it.
“But, among all the papers that had to be done, it got lost and was put away in a closet and was not sent. [the rescue centre] couldn’t contact me because they didn’t have my number or address. “
Although details of Oscar’s microchip are out of date, June said she and her colleagues at Liverpool have tried several ways to find Deborah, including contacting local vets to see if they have a transfer address.
But when none of those attempts worked, June said they made the decision to propose Oscar for adoption and received more than 100 requests to relocate him.
She said: “We have done everything imaginable [to find Deborah] and we have found a nice home for Oscar, we have paid all the vet bills and will continue to do so.
“We followed the letter of the law, he stayed with us for over eight days and the person with the cat has now made a 360 mile round trip to adopt him.
“I really love animals and understand that I would feel upset [if I were Deborah] but I think my sane side would think I’m so grateful that someone helped my almost 20-year-old cat, other places would have put him to sleep. “
But, realizing her mistake with the microchip address, Deborah now makes an emotional appeal to Oscar’s new owner to allow him to get her beloved cat back.
She said: “I know I made a mistake in not updating his contact details and I realize it and it is very unfortunate, but it was a mistake and I don’t want him to be able to coming home just because of that.
“He’s always been a much loved cat, he slept on my bed every night and all I want is my cat to be returned, to know he’s finally home. “
Although June has offered to keep Deborah up to date by sending her photos and videos of Oscar in her new home, all Deborah wants is for her cat to come home with her.
She said: “I always have a picture of him hanging on my bedroom wall. Time is not on Oscar’s side and all I want is for him to come home – he did not ask to meet at Liverpool. “
Deborah asked Oscar’s new owner to contact her on 07766 859 293.
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