Canton of AargauCat reappears after 7 years: ‘We no longer believed he was alive’
It turns out that a stray animal recently recovered by an association belongs to a family that has been looking for it for a long time.
“It pulled the rug out from under me,” says a resident of Rheinfelden (AG). She has just learned that her 16-year-old cat has been found… 7 years after she disappeared. The animal had run away from home barely a week after being adopted from an animal shelter in Muttenz (BL).
“At the time, I had left it on my balcony, which I had specially protected with a cat net. But he had to somehow manage to untie it and escape,” she recalls. “We searched for him for months. With flyers and a notice of disappearance on the website of the Swiss Animal Call Center (STMZ). But without success.”
Finally, Winnetou resurfaced 7 years later, as if by magic. Animal welfare organization Netap took in the cat in August. She was informed by telephone by a resident of the neighborhood that a cat was in the vicinity, that it was regularly fed, but that it still seemed to be tired. On site, Netap was able to examine the stray cat’s chip.
The pet database (Anis), however, did not contain any valid phone numbers. With the help of the municipal administration of Rheinfelden, the organization finally managed to contact the former owner, who had meanwhile moved. “She no longer believed he was alive,” says Esther Geisser, president of Netap.
Unfortunately, Winnetou’s owners could no longer take him in, as they have two new cats who did not tolerate him. Winnetou, who is now called Perlios, was taken in by a home in Muttenz and is now waiting for a new home.
“Ask the neighborhood if anyone knows the cat”
A question arises all the same: how Winnetou, alias Perlios, could have gone unnoticed for 7 long years? “All too often, cats are fed by local residents without checking whether the animal has disappeared somewhere,” says Esther Geisser.
“If you see an unfamiliar cat, we recommend first asking the neighborhood if anyone knows it. If this is not the case, it is necessary to check the notice of disappearance on the call center for animals (STMZ)”, she advises. It is also worth making a paper collar for foreign cats who may not have a home, with the inscription “To whom do I belong? Please contact me at…”. Pet owners could thus come forward to concerned residents and inform them about their pet.
“We find it tragic that in seven years, no one has ever had the idea of having the chip read or going to the vet with this stray animal”, regrets Esther Geisser. Netap regularly finds elderly, sick or injured cats on the streets, which too often are not microchipped.