A cat that had been missing for three weeks was found “eating insects and drinking rainwater” in a garage.
Wispa, Molly Rayment’s cat, disappeared from her St. Albans home, and she instantly knew the worst. When Molly woke up at 3 am on May 8 to discover that her cat wasn’t home, she realised that something was wrong because it was quite uncommon for the black-and-white moggy to be gone for more than a few hours.
After thoroughly searching the home and the streets around it, Molly went door-to-door and distributed over 200 fliers to her neighbours, pleading with them to check their sheds and garages in case her cat was locked inside.
Since Wispa is known as a non-meowing cat, Molly said, “I knew that if she was locked in someplace, she would have been quite afraid but wouldn’t be able to let anyone know she was there.”
When none of her neighbours returned with any updates, Molly started making announcements about Wispa on social media, placing flyers on lampposts and bus stops, and getting in touch with neighbourhood organisations like Cats Protection’s St. Albans Branch. Wispa informed the chip manufacturer that she was microchipped and made sure her information was current.
Molly said, “I couldn’t have done any more to find her. I went to areas at night where people had indicated she may have been seen so I could call for her when it was quieter. I didn’t sleep because I didn’t want to miss her if she did come home.
In case they had found any dead cats, I contacted the neighbourhood veterinarians and even the city council. To see if it was her, people started giving me pictures of dead cats. Although it was really stressful, the toughest part was simply not knowing.
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Then, on May 27, Molly received a call from one of her neighbours, 20 days after she had last seen Wispa. They believed the cat they discovered in their garage to be her missing pet. “I feared the worst right away,” Molly stated. She wouldn’t have survived 20 days on her alone, in my opinion.
They later told me that she was still hiding in the garage and was still alive. When Molly turned around right away, she saw Wispa inside the garage as soon as she opened the door. Her black and white fur was visible all over the floor. She had to be dragging it out because she was so frightened.
Molly was shocked to see Wispa in the horrible state she was in when she finally did. She was quite skinny and dirty. She must have been struggling to live on insects or small mice, along with rainwater that seeped in from the area around the door.
Wispa weighed just 1.9kg, which is 2kg less than her ideal healthy weight, when we took her to the vet. After being placed on a drip for the following three days, Molly had to be careful to only feed her small amounts periodically for the following three weeks.
She requested more than the quarter of the small pack I could give her since she was so hungry, but if I had given her more food too soon, her heart would have stopped. The doctor predicted that she wouldn’t have lived for more than a few days.
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Thankfully, Wispa is almost back to her normal weight and is once more getting loads of attention and cuddles. I have four cats, and while I know I shouldn’t have favourites, Wispa is my little cuddle partner, said Molly.
Molly is now eager to advise the general people to be more watchful if they learn that a cat is missing in their area. The owner of the garage felt terrible, Molly added. “She said that after I first mentioned Wispa was missing, she had searched and that she has since opened the shed once a week to get the lawnmower out.
“I would urge everyone to make sure they have a thorough check, not just a quick look. Otherwise, she would have been too afraid of the mower to come out. Look below any boxes, tables, etc. Never assume that there won’t be a cat inside. Wispa might have been found on day 1 rather than day 20. This is not what she deserved”.
Sad to say, situations like Wispa’s are all too frequent, and not all of them end well. Over the past year, Cats Protection’s National Information Line received nearly 2,000 reports regarding missing cats, with the largest numbers recorded in the previous two months. As more cats are reported missing via social media and directly to each of the charity’s 250 branches and 36 centres located throughout the UK, these numbers are only the tip of the iceberg.
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Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow, explained that since the UK has been suffering such a heatwave, “cats tend to wander more during warmer weather, which is why we’ve noticed a surge in missing cats over the last couple of months.”
They are known for being curious and exploring their environment, therefore they frequently become stuck in outbuildings. We advise having a thorough check before shutting up any outbuildings, particularly if you are aware of any cats missing in your neighbourhood, because cats won’t always cry for attention if they are scared, making it harder to realise they are there.
Cats Protection has started the LookBeforeYouLock campaign to urge people to regularly check their sheds, garages, and other outbuildings for missing cats in an effort to minimize the suffering of other cats like Wispa.
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