Toni Jarvis and Ben Smith’s four-year-old cats Duchess and Queenie went missing from their front garden in August and, after extensive local searches, they lost all hope of seeing them again. Then two months later, Duchess was found in Glasgow, 400 miles from their home in Great Yarmouth. She was returned home, thanks to her microchip. Sadly, Queenie is still missing.
Toni, a health support worker, of Gorleston, said: “I remember the day they went missing as if it were yesterday. We had to go out and both cats were playing in the front garden. We wouldn’t be out long, so my partner Ben said let’s leave them to play. I felt oddly nervous, but I left anyway. With hindsight, I should have trusted my instincts.
“When we got back the cats were nowhere to be seen. I knocked on my neighbour’s door and she said she seen two workmen in our street fussing both cats but since they had gone, she hadn’t seen the cats. I called their names repeatedly as normally they would come running home, but nothing.
“I waited until after the school run and asked everyone on my road if they had seen them and no one had so we went looking for them, walking and calling their names for over two hours but there was neither sight nor sound of them. It was very odd that they had both gone missing.”
The next day, Toni posted on local Facebook pages, appealing for any news about the family cats. She also made posters and put them up in streets around their neighbourhood and called local vets and cat rescues to see if the cats had perhaps been injured and taken into care. Sadly, nobody had seen Queenie or Duchess.
That was until October, when Christine Cutts, Cat Welfare Team Leader at Cats Protection’s Anglia Coastal Branch, received a call from a microchip database company to check on a chipped cat that had been found in Glasgow, some 400 miles away from its registered address in Norfolk.
Branch volunteer Lynne Pothecary said: “When the situation was explained Ben was very shocked and pleased to find out that Duchess had been found. He and his partner had thought that the cats were gone for good. They couldn’t believe she’d been found so far away in Scotland and couldn’t imagine how she got there.”
Toni added: “I was at work when Ben called to say Duchess had been found. I remember asking if it was real, I couldn’t believe him. I was crying down the phone, with my colleagues asking if I was ok and Ben telling me to calm down. I had to wait for another phone call an hour later when he had more details. It felt like a life time.”
That later call revealed that Duchess had been found roaming the Glasgow streets and was taken to a vet by a lady who assumed she was lost. Lucky for Duchess, her owners could be traced, thanks to her microchip. In the coming days, a neighbour who had been visiting Scotland brought Duchess home to the family.
Ben and Toni believe the inseparable pair might have followed each other into misadventure and maybe Queenie could be in Glasgow still. Toni said: “All we can assume is that they stowed away together aboard a van and the driver didn't realise they were there. That’s why we hope Queenie might still be found.”
Lynne said: “Duchess’ return to her family is credit to the cat being microchipped. That is the hope for Queenie, that she might be traced by her microchip. Our Cats Protection team in Glasgow has appealed for any information but we didn’t hear anything positive so far. If anyone in Glasgow can help us locate Queenie, please get in touch.”
Toni and Ben are desperate to reunite their family in time for the new year. “Duchess is very playful but she does seem to be missing her sister. She’s not her usual self but our kids are trying to make her feel like everything is normal. But nothing beats playing with your sister. The only downside to our joy is that Queenie is still missing.
“We would love Queenie to come home to us,’ said Toni. “We appeal for anyone with any information to please get in touch. It would be a Christmas miracle.”
If you have information about Queenie, please contact Cats Protection’s Anglia Coastal Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org.