'Pretty crazy story': Missing Auckland cat returns after more than three years
Isabel Connor is thrilled to have Leo the cat back with her, after not seeing her feline companion for more than three-and-a-half years.
Leo went missing in June 2018, when Connor lived in Westmere.
"We looked for ages, put his litter and food outside to help him find his way, posted on local Facebook groups and had no luck," his owner recalled.
Days turned into weeks, that turned into months, that turned into years and Connor, who moved to Botany two years ago, lost all hope of ever seeing her beloved Leo again.
"We assumed the worst and thought we would never see him again."
But this month Connor got a phone call saying Leo had been found.
"Over three years later, on Friday, we get a call from the vet to say Leo has been found and his microchip was scanned. A lovely lady, Rebecca, recently moved to the community and found him hanging around and scanned him from her house. Once we confirmed it was him, we had to try and catch him," Connor said.
She put a call out on the local Facebook group, with photos of Leo, asking anyone who spotted him to try to get him inside so she could pick him up.
Leo wasn't overly friendly and it took three days to be able to get him and put him in a cat carrier so he could be reunited with his owners.
Connor still can't quite believe her cat is alive and well and has thanked the Westmere community for helping to reunite him with his family.
"It's still a little surreal," she told the Herald after getting Leo back, now settling into his new Botany home.
"I'm a little shocked that only one person got him scanned during the three years he's been out there but am grateful for anyone who has fed or patted him. He's home and happy now, purring as I scratch his chin."
Leo's whereabouts of the past three years could very well remain a mystery - but, for Connor, the most important thing is that he is home, safe and sound. And he's taught her a great lesson on never giving up hope.