Getting Gucci back and saving Saroo


Written by Adri Coetzee and Cathy Lempereur

Ginger Persian cat Gucci went missing from his home in Clifton in mid-December 2016. It was over six months before he was found…

Gucci goes missing

When my friend Annerette had to travel extensively overseas, I became his second “mom”. He would stay with me, sometimes for several months, and he seemed to enjoy having two mommies to pamper him! He was staying with Annerette in 1st Beach, Clifton, when he disappeared; he was strictly an indoor cat, so how he got out remains a mystery.

We were devastated when we discovered he was missing and immediately started looking everywhere. We went to all the vets and doggie parlours in the area who know him very well; I posted photos and pleaded on social media for help. But Gucci was nowhere to be seen. My heart was broken and I refused to give up looking for him.

On the 1st of March 2017 a lady contacted me asking if I’d ever found my cat. I was so excited that I can’t even remember her name. She told me that the Animal Welfare Society in Gordon’s Bay had a cat that looked like Gucci – the person who’d brought him in said he’d found the cat in Bantry Bay, which is right next to Clifton. 

Meeting Mika

When she sent me the photo, I was convinced it was Gucci. Excitedly, I leapt into my car and rushed to Gordon’s Bay.

I peered into the cage and saw a gorgeous ginger long-haired cat huddled in his litter box. The poor thing was so stressed that he didn’t look up or left or right. He didn’t respond to anything, just sat sadly in his cage. The vet said that he’d been like that since he’d come in four days before and that he was really depressed. 

My heart went out to the poor, scared cat. But, sadly, this was not Gucci. However, I knew there was no way I could leave him there and immediately put the wheels in motion to adopt Mika, as they’d named him. When he first came to me, he was terrified and I spent so much time winning his trust. Now, Saroo, as I named him, is the most loving and cuddly little boy. I love him so much and am so glad I adopted him.

But in all this time I never stopped looking for Gucci. 

He ran straight to me

On the evening of the 26th of June 2017, like déjà vu, I received a call from a woman asking me if I’d ever found Gucci. Again I said no and she sent me a picture of a stray cat that a woman in Clifton had posted to Facebook earlier that day.

This time I was 100% sure it was Gucci. I immediately got in contact with the woman who’d found him and, even though it was 21h00, I hurried to her place to go and fetch him. But Gucci was nowhere to be seen as he was wandering around outside. Forty minutes ticked by and I could barely control my excitement. And then, like a dream, there he was.

I saw him through the window and called him – and he ran straight to me. I was so overjoyed to see him and he was just as happy to see me, and purred away. After many cuddles and thanks to the woman who’d looked out for him, I took him home.

BFFs

I was nervous about introducing the two cats. What if they didn’t get on? While Saroo immediately wanted to make friends, Gucci, although curious, was a little unsure. Slowly, they began getting used to each other. Saroo kept trying to get Gucci to play with him and, despite the fact that Gucci initially ran away, he didn’t give up. 

Today, two months later, Gucci and Saroo are best mates. They play hide ‘n’ seek, and chase each other all over the place. I’m so happy it worked out like this. Although it was absolutely awful, Gucci’s disappearance led me to Saroo. It was destiny.

I am so grateful to Cathy Lempereur, with whom Gucci ended up, for looking after him until I found him again.

Cathy Lempereur, Gucci’s rescuer, shares…

My friend, who was staying in my house, noticed that food was being “stolen” from one of my other cats. Initially, the culprit was never seen but, eventually, in January 2017, she finally saw him – a fluffy ginger cat whose coat was matted and who didn’t come near. Over the next week, my friend slowly got nearer to him until he trusted us enough to let us help him. He was full of knots and fleas so I deflead and brushed him (which he was not at all keen on).

I called all the vets in the area (Camps Bay, Sea Point and Green Point), contacted DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group), the SPCA and AWS, but to no avail – nobody had reported a lost Persian cat.

At the time, I was staying in my flat downstairs with my three Bull Mastiffs and two of my cats (the third was staying upstairs with my friend). When, two months later, I moved back to the main house with my dogs, Gucci was not happy. I moved him into the flat where he was safe from the dogs and had his own garden.

I often brought him upstairs to sit in the sun with me and he enjoyed the attention. I brushed him every day and he got to like it. I would spend time with him, stroking him in his little domain downstairs. Although the dogs were very curious at this huge ball of fluff, only one of my cats liked him. I think he was a little lonely in the flat.

Because I only have a simple phone, the pictures I took of him – which I posted on Facebook – didn’t really show what he looked like. It was only when my cousin came to visit with her fancy phone and took fabulous pictures of him to post that he finally found his owner.

When Adri called, I could tell how excited she was; she came over the very same evening. I knew she was the owner when she said the fur on his stomach was shorter than on the rest of him (as it had been shaved), and that he’d gone missing from 1st Beach, Clifton, and I live on 3rd Beach, Clifton. Although he’d had a collar when he went missing, he hadn’t been wearing one when he arrived at our place. He only turned up at my house after having been lost for over a month, so who knows where he was in December or what had happened to him. My cats’ food had been disappearing at a rapid rate, so maybe Gucci had already been sneaking in then.

I’m absolutely thrilled that he has been reunited with Adri!