A cat that went missing from Hastings has turned up four years later in Gisborne, its former home, 230km away.
Peanut the cat was caught at the Gisborne SPCA haven but is lucky his owners had fitted a microchip implant -- a rice grain-sized chip that stores ownership and registration details of animals.
"This is a great example of the benefits of a microchip," said Gisborne SPCA animal welfare inspector Bernice David-Goodwin.
"It helps reunite owners with their pets. Animals can slip out of their collars but microchips are for life."
Mrs David-Goodwin said she was unsure how Peanut made it to the animal haven but when found he was in good health.
"He did not look like he had been roughing it," she says.
"He is very friendly and smooches lots, and he has a funny personality.
"We have no idea how he got here but it is great that we found him with information about his home and owner," she says.
Mrs David-Goodwin contacted Peanut's owner in Hastings, who happened to be a former Gisborne SPCA volunteer.
The details on the microchip were not up to date but because staff were familiar with the owner, they had alternative contact details, Mrs David-Goodwin says.
Photo / Liam Clayton
"The first question I asked her was if Peanut had been re-homed, because that happens a lot and people do not update microchip information on the New Zealand Animal Companion Register.
"She told me Peanut went missing soon after she moved to Hastings and had been gone since," she says.
"She is very grateful we have found Peanut and that he is in good health and is safe."
Eastland Veterinary Services veterinarian Karina Wilde says it is not uncommon for cats to wander in quite large territories.
"Usually they home in a distance of a few kilometres but I have not heard of many cats homing that far.
"Maybe he hitched a ride on a vehicle -- cats sometimes do that. It seems a little far for him to have navigated on his own."
In a perfect ending to a mysterious tale, arrangements are being made between the Gisborne SPCA and Peanut's owner to get him home safely.
With nine lives intact and a number of kilometres clocked up under his paws, hopefully Peanut will stay put this time and resist the urge for any more long-distance adventures.
Pets can be microchipped at a vet or at the SPCA. To update your pet's microchip information go to www.animalregister.co.nz.
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- Gisborne Herald