A COUPLE have been left heartbroken after leaving their pet at a cattery which handed him over to the wrong owners.
Tadeu and Fernanda Vaccari dropped Bengal Brucey at Christchurch Cattery in Iford before travelling to Brazil for 20 days.
But 10 days into their trip they received the devastating news that he was missing.
“We had an email from the owner of the cattery to tell us Brucey had been given to the wrong people, who had let him out into their garden,” Tadeu told the A&T.
“Apparently it was relatives of the owner who had gone to fetch the cat.”
The couple, from Sea Road in Boscombe, said their pet was taken back to a property two miles away in Collingbourne Avenue, Southbourne, and has not been seen since.
Brucey, who is two, is mainly an indoor cat and is not familiar with the local area.
“He doesn’t wander any further than our garden,” said Tadeu. “He’s neutered and chipped but does not wear a collar.
“He’s a very docile cat but he’s very shy and he’s not used to other people. If someone were to call him he wouldn’t come.
“Some people would say he’s just a cat, but he’s very special to us and we miss him so much. He’s our baby and we are desperate to get him home safe and well.”
Tadeu added: “The garden he escaped from was near the train line, and my fear is that he may go there to hide. Trains go through very regularly so I’m afraid he may get hit.”
The couple have been desperately trying to find Brucey, searching the area and putting up posters and appeals via social media.
In an email to Tadeu and Fernanda, the owner of Christchurch Cattery was apologetic and admitted the mistake “should not have happened”.
They explained: “The other cat and Brucey were similar in looks and were in pens next to each other, and the relative, we have since found out, was not familiar with the look or characteristics of the cat they were collecting.
“My daughter was deputising for me whilst I was attending an appointment when the owners’ relative arrived unexpectedly three hours early. He went to Brucey’s pen and put him in his carrier.
“After they had left my daughter realised what had happened within minutes and started trying to contact the person. When she eventually got through Brucey had already been released into the garden of the owners’ property. This property is approximately two miles from your address.”
The cattery owner went on to say they had already started taking steps to find Brucey, including putting up posters on the route he may have tried to take to get back to Tadeu and Fernanda’s house.
Notes had also been posted through letterboxes in the Southbourne area, and they had been regularly driving and walking around the area in the hope they would spot him.
A reward has also been offered by the cattery to anyone who finds him, although the amount was unspecified.
The email concluded: “I know all of this is going to be shock to you and your family, but you may be able to take some comfort knowing that, because Brucey is chipped, 80-85% of lost cats are eventually reunited with their owners.”
Christchurch Cattery did not respond to requests for comment by the A&T.
Anyone who spots Brucey or knows of his whereabouts is urged to call Tadeu on 07895 649801.