The owner of a cat which went missing for two days and returned neutered says she is "dumbfounded" to discover her neighbours were responsible.
Michelle Curtis was called on Thursday by a neighbour who had read a newspaper report about Siamese-Bengal Buddy's mysterious disappearance.
The neighbour told Curtis another local had Buddy neutered last weekend to "save his life".
Curtis said her pet was neutered after a woman called Patty trapped him in a cage, intending to have him put down because he had been defecating in her garden and attacking other cats.
Patty, a 78-year-old who wanted her surname withheld, denied that. "Absolutely not. I'm no cat killer."
She said there was no malicious intent in her actions, or those of the neighbour who paid for Buddy to be neutered.
She said other neighbours in her Tauranga cul-de-sac believed he was a stray. There was no evidence that he was someone's pet and his behaviour was "quite wild".
In desperation she and a neighbour sought advice from the SPCA who provided the cage. The SPCA advised it would be difficult to rehouse him because of his behaviour. They had no room for Buddy and a vet agreed castration was the best course of action.
Curtis, a former cat breeder, said she had owned Buddy for almost two years and had intended using him as a stud cat.
"I'm absolutely dumbfounded that someone could do this," she said.