You can pat the dog, but Pat the cat is an altogether more tricky proposition.
For eight months, Whakamarama's Sue Forbes hasn't been able to pat, stroke, feed or even talk to her cat as he has been AWOL somewhere in Te Puke.
Having jumped into Sue's car when she headed to visit friends in Te Puke, he jumped out when she arrived - and disappeared.
"I went out straight away to try to get him, but I couldn't. And I didn't see him again," she says.
Two weeks ago Pat was taken to Te Puke Veterinary Centre. His microchip was checked, but the linked phone number wasn't Sue's and the cat was handed to the SPCA.
But nifty detective work found Sue - who hadn't updated the microchip details when she got a new phone.
"I'm just over the moon," says Sue.
Despite being away from home for eight months, Pat is in good condition, has clearly been well looked after and looks like he has avoided any scrapes.
"My flatmate thinks that Pat is fatter than he was," says Sue. "He's aged eight months, but interestingly enough, his face is as perfect as it ever was and his beautiful white paws are still white."
When Sue got him home, it was as though he had never been away.
"He knew where his food bowl was, he sniffed under the house, vanished for about two hours then came back for food."
That first day he was already earning his keep, catching a mouse.
"It's like he's never been gone - he's not even traumatised and that's amazing."
Sue has heard people from a group of houses kept an eye out for him and fed him. When she knew he was safe, she put a post on Facebook.
"I am so indebted and grateful to those people. I thought maybe he was finding his way from Te Puke to Whakamarama.
"I'm blown away by what those people did for him and if I can track down any of those people I'd be more than happy to share my home cooking with them."
She says Pat's disappearance has taught her at least one lesson - to make sure details linked to the microchip are kept up to date.
Te Puke Veterinary Centre vet nurse Kate Harston doesn't know where Pat was found or who brought him in.
"We held him for a week until the SPCA were able to pick him up. We weren't able to track down the owner because the microchip information wasn't updated so when the SPCA came, we asked them if they would continue the search."
She says finding Pat's home was a good outcome.
"He's a lovely cat. He was great, perfect, well fed, nothing wrong with him and he was a happy cat.
"A nice cat like that, he was probably just going from house to house and getting fed all around the neighbourhood. He got a lot of attention from all the nurses."
• Anyone who can shed any light on where Pat might have been for the past eight months can email firstname.lastname@example.org.