I was inspired to write this letter of gratitude and thanks to the community of West Swindon, in particular of Nine Elms, Middleleaze, Shaw and The Elms, following the overwhelming response to the disappearance of our beloved family cat, Monster.
I have lived in the community since 1993 and was sad to move away temporarily last October, whilst our house underwent major renovation. After six months away one of the most exciting things about coming home was bringing back our two cats, particularly Monster. She stared out of the window, stuck her tail straight in the air and let out a loud purr; she was home.
A few months later we were packed ready to go on a long awaited holiday when Monster made a dash for it and couldn’t be recaptured. We were forced to leave her at home, to be fed by our neighbour, whilst our other cat went to Chimneys Cattery as planned. We arrived home on my birthday to discover that Monster was missing. We were totally devastated. There was no evidence either at the time or since of her being injured or deceased. We could only conclude that her disappearance was due to further building work disrupting her territory and routine.
After an initial and frantic search of our house and garden we appealed to our immediate neighbours to look in sheds and garages and any small space she may have crawled into. We scoured the ditches, hedgerows, fields, parks and public buildings nearby. Not a trace. We made posters and fliers and started asking if anyone might have seen her. We were encouraged by initial sightings but it was either a case of mistaken identity or we couldn’t find any further trace of her.
Internet based research informed us that if she were hiding out of fear she was unlikely to call out and may even run further away. All the time the kindness and generosity by our neighbours to search was heartwarming. It didn’t stop there. As I moved into Middleleaze and spoke to people previously unknown to me the sentiment remained the same.
By now, thanks to the owners of Chimneys cattery, face-booking information on our behalf, news was spreading and empathy and practical information were being offered. Another resident put me onto Streetlife, another form of social media. We even resorted to employing professional pet search detectives to make posters, deliver fliers and talk to residents.
It would’ve been easy to give up searching were it not for the encouragement and experiences that local residents have shared. One gentleman told me that his wife cried her eyes out after they’d given up hope of their missing cat returning. A week later they looked out the window to see him in their garden. Another couple had personal experience of their cat travelling seven miles to their former residence and as he explained, not just the once.
Residents and staff in local businesses that I have talked to have cited numerous other stories of their missing cats turning up a bit grubby and hungry after a few days or several weeks. Some residents have even given up their own time to deliver fliers themselves and enquire after Monster.
The children of Brookfield School are on the lookout for the missing cat and reporting possible sightings. Local businesses ( Asda, Tescos, Public houses of Brookhouse Farm, The Nine Elms and The Village Inn, Alana’s hairdressers and Lower Shaw Farm) have displayed posters and made their customers or employees aware. Some residents I haven’t met face to face but blog or text regularly to see if there have been any more sightings and to give well wishes..
She has only ever gone missing once before when my due date loomed of our precious daughter. After missing for four nights she dragged herself home after being mauled, bite marks either side of her spine. She was rushed into the care of Vets Now Referrals and later went to our local vets Shaw Veterinary Centre. Despite tender care she wasn’t making progress and had to be transferred back to Veterinary Hospital.
When she came home her torso was bandaged and she was dubbed ‘sausage cat’. The Monster and our newborn slept together. After her prolonged fight to recover from Septiceamia inspired others, Monster was voted “Bravest Cat of Swindon 2012”. www.yourcat.co.uk/Your-Cat/bravest-cats-revealed.html
Our most hopeful sighting has been by our neighbour who saw Monster at the junction of Castleton Road and Middleleaze Drive but that was over a week ago. She is a small tortoiseshell tabby female 9yr old cat. She has been neutered and cannot be used for breeding. She was not wearing a collar but is micro-chipped.
Any vet will scan her free of charge or please call RSPCA North Wilts 01793 640136. We believe that she is either still trapped somewhere or has been hiding and too scared to show herself or call out. She may only be 20-30yrds out of her territory but effectively lost.
Someone may have started feeding her or adopted a new cat around the time of Monster’s disappearance. If you think that you see Monster please try and take a photo so that her owners can identify the cat if it has gone before they get there.
Please call the Animal Search team on 0800 4 320 340 Quote ref 254304 or Helen on 07597 962 971 with any information or sightings.
We have many pairs of eyes and ears in the community now looking and listening out for Monster.
However, we’ve haven’t covered all of the 200-300yrd radius area from our home, where she is most likely to be. We would appeal to residents in Shaw and the Swinley Drive area to make a note of any new cats in the area and to also check any outbuildings and gardens.
We are hopeful that with so many animal lovers and kind residents out there that we will be reunited with our Monster cat soon.