Jess the Tesco's cat

On the 15th November a cat was reported in the Tesco warehouse at Sandhurst by Angela one of the staff at the store.  The cat was described as looking like Postman Pat’s cat, so was named Jess by the staff there.  They think she must have sneaked in with one of the lorries.  Sadly, at the time, there were no places available to foster Jess, so they looked after her in the warehouse and fed her.

On the 11th December a place became available and Chris from Cat’s Protection went in to catch the cat.  The place is an enormous rabbit warren of cages, boxes and trolley laden with all sorts of supermarket goods and extremely cold.  After an hour there freezing to bits, Chris still hadn’t managed to catch Jess. Then Angela arrived after her shift and called Jess who immediately came over to see her, they had clearly formed a friendship.  Finally they manage to get hold of her.  On closer inspection …… they got hold of him!

Lily now takes over the next episode.

Chris delivered ‘Jess’ to our pen on Friday 14th December 2012. The first thing my partner and I noticed was how big he was. He looked like a previous neighbour’s cat called Dave, but we couldn’t call him Dave. We tried to think of something Christmassy that would stick, so decided on Frankie (short for Frankincense). Frankie had obviously belonged to someone once. He was very social, but also confused and scared and these mixed feelings would show in bouts of friendliness one minute then hissing the next. The trick was to keep calm and reassure him that all was OK. Despite the conflict of behaviour, he quickly settled in and became quite trusting. By the Monday I managed to get hold of a micro-chip scanner and was thrilled when I discovered he was chipped. Next day, from work (I work in a veterinary practice) I called the micro-chip company and was given the contact details for Frankie’s owner. Frankie’s real name was actually Sylvester (figures, because he is a big black and white pusscat) and belonged to a lady living in Wiltshire. However, the contact telephone number did not connect and as the address was a military one, I contacted the British Army Homing Information Centre (BAHIC), who although were extremely friendly and sympathetic, could not help me as the name I had did not tally with anyone at that address. So it was back to the micro-chip company to find out where Frankie/Sylvester had had his chip installed which lead me to a vets in Hampshire. They, too, had the mobile number that didn’t work but told me that they had been asked earlier in the year (by Frankie/Sylvester’s owner) to forward his details to a vets in Wiltshire. Confusingly, they also had Frankie/Sylvester’s owner as living in Sandhurst, Surrey. I contacted the said vets in Wiltshire, who had Sylvester’s details – registered to a lady in barracks nearby with a different surname (now married, possibly?). I was very confused by now, almost as much as poor Frankie! Anyway, I went back to the BAHIC armed with the new surname. A kind lady on the other end of the phone told me that she would send an email to the husband (as it transpired that it was his name registered at the initial address in Wiltshire) to say that a cat registered to someone at that address was currently in the care of a Cats Protection fosterer. All this leg-work took place on the first Monday (17th December) that we had Frankie and lasted the whole morning!

In the mean time, Frankie was getting used to his two (or sometimes three!) square meals a day, and, bit by bit, came out of his shell and was more relaxed. Christmas and New Year came and went but still no contact from Frankie’s owner. By now we had had him health checked, screened for FIV and FeLV (he was clear-thankfully), wormed, flea’d, and of course, loved. His poster was on the CP website and he was generating some interest. Then, on Thursday 10th January at 2100hrs (4 weeks after he had first arrived) I received a phone call on my mobile. The lady on the other end of the phone asked if I was a CP volunteer, to which I said ‘yes’. She then said, ‘I think you have my baby!’ Turns out Frankie lived at the Sandhurst address, 500 metres from the site from where he was being fed as a ‘stray’! His owner said he would often stay out at night or for long periods at a time. When I asked how long Frankie, sorry, Sylvester(!) had been missing she replied ‘about a month’, which would tally with the length of time he had been with us. He was probably being fed at the warehouse then going home at night until we ‘nabbed’ him thinking he was a waif. I asked his owner if she knew who had passed on my number to her, to which she said she wasn’t entirely sure but said that her husband, who had been away, had had an email to get in touch with me (from the BAHIC lady, maybe?).

Moral of the story: Perseverance pays!

It was so rewarding to reunite Sylvester with his owner; she had clearly missed him and he recognised her instantly despite the time apart. We did urge Sylvester’s owner to update her details with the micro-chip company as soon as possible to minimise further confusion should he ‘stray’ again. We’re just so glad to have been able to help, even if Sylvester was to-ing and fro-ing between home and another source of bed and board, cheeky boy!