A cat which became the focus of a national campaign to find it when it went missing In Marton is lost again, and this time the tabby cat is hiding out in Taranaki.
In June this year, Rodney the tabby cat hit the headlines after it was revealed he had been dumped in the wild by an employee at the hardware store the cat had called home for over 10 years. The manager, who later stepped down from his job, had taken the cat from the Central ITM Marton store and left it in the wild about 15km away from the store.
A nationwide campaign began, with thousands of people wanting to help find the missing moggie and over a month after he was dumped he was found on a farm and successfully caught. He was then rehomed with one of the many people who had offered to give him a new home.
While it seemed Rodney's story had ended happily, it now seems that was not the case, says Beverley Dowling of Rodney's Rescues.
"It seems through a series of unfortunate events, Rodney was in fact surrendered to the SPCA some time after July this year."
Rodney's Rescues is an animal rescue service dedicated to the care and rescue of lost and abandoned cats, which was originally set up to help find Rodney when he went missing in June. Since then, the group have successfully rescued and rehomed numerous cats and kittens.
Beverley says from what she and other volunteers from both Rodney's Rescues and Marton Moggies have worked out, it seems Rodney kept trying to return to the shop he had called home for over a decade and so his new owners had given him to the SPCA.
"It's a shame, as we did have a plan B in place if he hadn't settled, but somehow the communication didn't happen and so Rodney ended up with the SPCA."
For some reason, Rodney was then renamed Robbie and transferred to the New Plymouth SPCA where he was rehomed with a family.
"From the sound of it, the man was a tradie, so Robbie / Rodney would have immediately bonded with him when they visited, he had spent all his life surrounded by tradies. They took him home, but as they got to their front door, a dog barked and spooked Rodney / Robbie. It seems he managed to get out the cage and run off."
Rodney/ Robbie has no idea of the new area he is now running wild in, and Beverley is appealing for help from the public to once again find Rodney.
"We know it takes 1000 eyes to find one cat, so we are calling on the Taranaki community to help us find him."
Last time he was missing, Beverley and her team printed and delivered over 1400 flyers and made hundreds of posters and social media posts trying to get the word out, and she says they are ready to do that again to help find the cat again.
As Rodney / Robbie has already been caught in a trap, he will be trap shy, says Beverley, and as they discovered last time he was missing, he doesn't respond to people calling for him.
"We actually know he goes to ground and hides more if he hears people, so we are asking people to look out for him, but not to try to catch him as that will scare him more. "
Instead, she says, they are asking anyone who sees him to report the sighting and if possible, provide a photo as well to help identify him correctly. A reward of $250 is available for information that leads to his safe capture by the rescue.
She says it is important people focus on keeping their eyes out for the tabby cat, who was last seen in the Spotswood area of New Plymouth, rather than waste time blaming anyone for the series of events that led up to his disappearance.
"Everyone involved just wants him to be found safe and well. That is the focus of this campaign."
Robbie / Rodney is a 10-year-old tabby cat with a white flame on the right side of his forehead. He also has a white tummy and chest area and socks. He is microchipped and neutered.
If you see Robbie / Rodney, please contact Beverley on 027 218 2820 or send a message to the Rodney's Rescues Facebook page.