Heartbreak twist after beloved pet missing for years found
AN IPSWICH couple's grief turned to heartbreak when they received an unexpected call regarding a cat they'd given up for dead or stolen almost eight years ago.
Don and Irma Dawson, from Collingwood Park, returned from an overseas trip in early 2012 to find their then-10-year-old Tonkinese cat Chloe missing.
Despite an extensive search and distributing hundreds of fliers in their neighbourhood, poor old Chloe was never seen again.
That was until Monday, when the RSPCA called to report the discovery of a blind, arthritic, 17-year-old cat whose microchip came up as the missing cat Chloe.
Even stranger, the Dawsons later discovered the cat was reported as being located as a stray only 15 minutes from their house.
"The RSPCA called and said they've got Chloe," Mr Dawson said.
"I couldn't believe it. I told them she's been missing for seven-and-a-half years."
The Dawsons had one last cuddle with Chloe at the RSPCA before deciding to end her suffering. Blindness and severe arthritis meant her quality of life was poor.
"She was still very loving towards us and cuddling up," Mrs Dawson said.
"We always thought someone must have taken her and it really irks me that even though we put out all those fliers when she went missing that nobody told us they had seen her."
Putting Chloe down was a difficult decision for the couple to make, especially given the fact she went missing under such mysterious circumstances.
She was also an important part of Mr Dawson's rehabilitation from post traumatic stress disorder and a severe back injury. Mr Dawson is a former navy serviceman.
"A lot of vets with PTSD find peace with their animals. They become extremely close and attached to them," he said.
"Whoever had her for all those years must not have taken her to a vet for fear that they would scan the microchip and realise she belonged to someone else.
"They didn't do the right thing and contact the RSPCA or a vet back when she originally went missing.
"Then as soon as she required treatment, they have reported her as a stray."
The couple hopes that by telling their story, somebody might realise a cat they had seen regularly over the past eight years was actually Chloe, and report it.
"I think it has got to be considered theft if someone has just decided to keep someone else's cat. If they deliberately stole her it is even worse," Mrs Dawson said.