Deborah Spencer and her partner lost their cat Oscar when they moved house in February 2018. Deborah eventually convinced herself Oscar had died due to how long he had been missing and his old age
A woman who spent years searching her lost cat says she has been told she is unable to have it returned after it was found.
Deborah Spencer and her partner lost their cat Oscar when they moved house in February 2018.
Oscar, who had been taken in by Deborah when he was just 18-months-old in 2004, spent most of his life living happily in Doncaster before he went missing during the house move.
Devastated, Deborah said she did all the usual searches, including making leaflets and ringing local vets and rescue centres.
She later convinced herself Oscar had died due to how long he had been missing and his old age.
However, Oscar had somehow found his way 100 miles up the M62 and was in-fact living in Liverpool.
He had spent the last few years living feral on a college campus and being looked after occasionally by kind college students, who would feed him during term time.
And it was not until last week that Deborah decided to make one last-ditch attempt at finding her lost cat.
Deborah said: “I was sat watching TV last Sunday night and something, I can’t explain what, came into my mind to go on the lost and found pet website in Doncaster and look.”
It was at that moment Deborah was confronted with an advert for a lost cat, found in Liverpool, and she knew that it was Oscar.
She was eventually signposted to a local cat rescue charity in Liverpool and told that Oscar had been handed in there – and was due to be rehomed soon.
So she said that she set about sending texts and emails, with all of Oscar’s details and photographs of him, telling them that this was her cat.
She said: “The following morning I rang constantly, I sent text messages and emails, I sent a message giving the details of the microchip, I emailed marking it as urgent pleading with them, but they never responded.”
Frantic with worry, Deborah claims that she did not hear back from the cat rescue until later that afternoon but, by then, it was too late as Oscar had already been rehomed.
And, to make matters worse, he had been rehomed in Bedford.
Deborah said: “I was pleading with them and begging with them to give the number or any details as to where he’d gone, so I could ask for the cat to be returned to his home. I just could not understand why somebody would do that, knowing that I was trying to get in touch with them.
“I’m distraught about it I really am, because he’s only got a few months to live as he’s got various medical conditions and the cat rescue place has been judge, jury and played God in deciding who my cat goes to.”
But June Watkins, who owns and runs the rescue charity in Liverpool, told YorkshireLive that she had tried multiple times to contact Deborah before rehoming Oscar.
She said: “We had two girls hand a cat in to us, they brought the cat in to me, signed the forms and, when they went, I noticed the cat was really in a very, very, very poor condition.
“I scanned the cat and once I had scanned it I contacted the microchip company and there were two numbers, one was unobtainable and the other there was never any answer.”
In what Deborah has described as a “cruel twist of fate”, the rescue centre had been unable to get in touch with her because Oscar’s microchip details were out of date.
Deborah said: “You know what an upheaval moving house is, you’ve got everything to change and I’d filled in the little slip that’s on the bottom of the Identichip certificate and gone to send it in.
“But, among all the papers that had to be done, it got lost and filed away in a cupboard and not been sent off. They [the rescue centre] couldn’t get in touch with me because they didn’t have my number or address.”
Despite Oscar’s microchip details being out of date, June said that she and her colleagues in Liverpool tried multiple avenues to find Deborah – including contacting the local vets to see if they had a forwarding address.
But when none of these attempts worked, June said that they made the decision to put Oscar up for adoption and received more than 100 applications to rehome him.
She said: “We did every conceivable thing [to find Deborah] and we have found a lovely home for Oscar, we’ve paid every vet bill and will continue to do so.
“We followed the letter of the law, he stayed with us for over eight days and the person who has the cat now has made a 360 mile round journey to adopt him.
“I really love animals and I do understand that I would feel upset [if I were Deborah] but I think the common sense side of me would think I’m so grateful that someone has helped my almost 20-year-old cat, other places would have put him to sleep.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.