Family

After 18 months missing, Dewie reunited with his family

Among the lucky few stray cats that are microchipped, Dewie was reunited with his family after missing from his Blair Athol home 18 months ago.

When scanning reveals an implanted microchip on stray cats brought into RSPCA South Australia, it’s always cause for celebration – especially when the microchip details are up-to-date, enabling the owner to be contacted and the cat returned home.

Currently, just 3% of stray cats coming into RSPCA South Australia’s shelters are microchipped – compared to nearly 50% of all stray dogs. The charity had 919 cats and kittens in care during April and May this year compared to 587 for the same period last year, and more than 70% of them came in as strays.

Among the lucky few stray cats that have come in with microchips was five-year-old Dewie, who went missing from his Blair Athol home about a year and half ago. Owner Jacquii Steen admitted she didn’t quite believe it when she received a call from someone from the RSPCA to say her cat had been brought in.

“Dewie was strictly an indoor cat, but he managed to slip through the door one night and leapt over the fence,” Jacquii said.

“I chased after him but he just took off.

“I door-knocked the area, looked in neighbours’ sheds, put our flyers, phoned vets and rescues, searched the lost pages constantly, but he had vanished and I feared the worst.”

Fast-forward 18 months, and a group of North Brighton residents, concerned about the potential impact for wildlife living in their suburb’s conservation area – Minda Dunes – called in a pest controller to help catch a stray black and white cat.

Just how Dewie found himself more than 20km from his Blair Athol home, and how he’s survived for the past year and a half, remains a mystery. The pest controller set a cat trap, and within 24 hours Dewie’s roaming days were over.

From the cat’s calm temperament, it was immediately clear he was not a feral animal. He’s now back with Jacquii and her 13-year-old daughter Annabelle, enjoying all the comforts of the home he left.

Jacquii adopted Dewie after fostering him as a kitten, along with his siblings. At the same time, she owned a miniature Fox Terrier named Rocky, and recalled that Dewie and Rocky were great mates and slept on a bed together each night. In a bitter-sweet twist, Rocky was put to sleep, just short of turning 20, on the day before Jacquii received the call from RSPCA telling her Dewie had been found.

“It was like Rocky led him home,” Jacquii said, adding that quite a few tears have been shed in the past few days.

Home at last – Dewie with owner Jacquii Steen, daughter Annabelle and their dog Minty.

To encourage cat owners to register their cats on DACO (Dogs and Cats Online), the Dog and Cat
Management Board (DCMB) is currently running a competition. Anyone who registers their cat from
May to November will go into the draw to win one of 20 prizes each month.

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