A cat named Master Sox has arrived home to Adelaide after being found 400 kilometres away in Mildura, over the Victorian border.
The much-loved pet had been missing since January before his owners got a call out of the blue earlier this month.
HOW DID HE END UP IN MILDURA?
The seven-year-old cat was caught in a trap set up by a vet in Mildura, in Victoria’s northwest, after someone saw him wandering around a yard for a number of days.
Sophie McInnes and her parents, Carol and Jamie, had all but given up hope after the “cheeky” pet didn’t show up for dinner one night in January at their home in Glenelg South.
The family still have the cat’s mum who they fostered when she was pregnant and decided to keep Soxies, as he’s affectionately known, out of her litter of six.
“All of a sudden, we couldn’t find him,” Ms McInnes told news.com.au on September 11.
“He’s the friendliest cat, comes in, says hello, meow meow.
“We thought it was strange because he would always come to you.”
They searched the streets, went doorknocking, put up posters and scanned Facebook groups for lost pets, spurred on by one woman who found her pet after it was missing for four years.
Ms McInnes made countless trips around the suburb but by April, they thought the worst.
“He’s gone and not coming back,” she recounted.
She said she would answer calls from private numbers just in case someone had found him.
Eventually, “the microchip saved him”.
“Eight months later, we get a call and he’s in a different state,” Ms McInnes said.
“My mum rang me, she was in tears, and I could heard my dad crying in the background.
“She said: ‘They’ve got Sox.’
“I said: ‘What do you mean? Who? Mildura vet?’
“It was crazy. Now it’s getting him back.”
THE RESCUE MISSION
Ms McInnes said Sox must have been pinched.
“There is no way that a cat could’ve walked that far unless he’s a little Superman cat,” she told news.com.au.
“He had to have been taken and dumped because the condition he was found in, he wasn’t looked after.
“He was skinny, he has an abscess on his right paw, he was really frightened and very alert.”
However, the vet called on September 10 to say “he’s purring now” and – like many of us in COVID-19 lockdown – Sox has put on heaps of weight.
“We don’t know his story,” Ms McInnes said.
“I wish he could talk.”
The find was “bittersweet” as the family were faced with a “waiting game” as the border between South Australia and Victoria holds firm.
“People aren’t even able to get to see their dying relatives across the border, or go to funerals, how are we supposed to get a little cat back?” Ms McInnes said.
She said they had been peppered with suggestions to call police or border control but they are “not saying anything”.
“The vet is trying to see if they are able to drive to the border and we go down to the border, at Renmark or Yamba, and we just do a quick swap but you also have to do so much paperwork,” she said.
Since August 28, a 40km “travel buffer zone” has been in place for cross border communities in Victoria and South Australia.
Travellers from Victoria, other than approved categories of essential travellers, are not permitted to travel to South Australia.
In an update to news.com.au, Ms McInnes said she and her mum drove to Berri – 150 kilometres west of Mildura – on Tuesday morning to get their cat back.
“He was couriered to Berri from Mildura,” she said.
“He’s doing extremely well!
“Super happy, purring and full love even letting us play with him and getting lots of kisses!”
Ms McInnes said her mum is urging people to check their microchip details are up-to-date as her phone number had changed.