Hero cat rescuer Peter tells how he caught missing George after nine days lost in the Forest
A CAT tracker went to extreme lengths to find a missing feline that was suspected of having been kidnapped – even camping out in his car.
Peter Hawkins, who runs Cats Lost Found Stolen in Dorset, used drones, thermal cameras and humane traps in his hunt for George, who was reunited with his owners in Pennington after the community rallied round to find him.
After receiving a report of a sighting of a cat being dumped at Beaulieu aerodrome, Peter spent three days looking for George, who went missing on 2nd February.
He has now told of his “absolute delight” at being able to reunite him with his owners, Eileen Lemon and Julia Town, who live in Gordon Road.
Describing George's homecoming, Peter said: “He literally strolled out of his cage and into the house as if he was saying, ‘Oh, I’m home!’ It was a fantastic feeling to finally get him.
"There were a lot of smiles and tears from Eileen and Julia. When they first saw him, they just couldn’t speak.
“I think they feared they’d never see him again.”
Peter, from Poole, said he has managed to find around 50 lost cats, and was "determined" to find George.
“It was frustrating at times," he said. "One night I looked over a hedge and saw these eyes staring back at me and it was George.
“He managed to evade capture that day, but I was not going to give up.
“There were sightings of him which helped to pin down the area he was in. He appeared in the small car park at Hatchet Pond at about the same time every day, chasing mice and rats.
"It seemed he was going between the pond and Bartley Barn; that helped me to know where to place the humane traps. If something goes in them a notification is sent to my phone.
"I baited them with chicken the first time – George came and sniffed but didn’t go in any of them.
“The next time he managed to go into a trap, eat the chicken, but didn’t set off the trapdoor.”
Undeterred, Peter slept in his car, and used drones and cameras to keep tabs on the cat’s movements – once managing to get a photo of him sat on a grass verge.
Peter said: “He seemed quite happy, but I don’t know how long he could have kept going. It was starting to get very cold. The last night I baited the trap with dead mice I had got from a reptile pet shop. This time the trap worked perfectly.”
He was helped in his hunt by Harriett Innes of Wreckits Rescue, from whom Eileen and Julia adopted George, and pet lover Penny McCarthy, from East Boldre.
He said: "All three of us were just delighted that George was found."
Eileen and Julia had been devastated when George went missing. They were told by a dog walker that two people had been seen taking a cat matching George’s description out of a car at the aerodrome and "shooing" it away.
The police are now investigating the circumstances of George’s disappearance.
Eileen and Julia said: “We are both so overwhelmingly relieved and ecstatic to have him home. All thanks to the dedication, determination, and humanity of amazing people.
"The little love is following us everywhere – when he is not sleeping or eating, that is.
“Without Peter we might not have got George home, and we cannot thank him enough. He’s just wonderful.”