Written and photographed by Liz Szabo
Chloe and her son, Tiger, came to us early in 2018 (around March, I think). Their original owner asked me to foster them while he looked for pet-friendly accommodation. Weeks turned into months, and when I contacted him about his cats, he never responded. It soon became evident that he’d abandoned them and dumped them on us. We tried rehoming them but had no luck. By then we’d grown quite fond of Chloe and Tiger, and so I decided to keep them as they’d become part of our family over the past year.
Chloe was always a feisty little warrior. When we lived in Somerset West, she liked to visit the neighbours, but she always came home.
In May 2020, we sold in Somerset West and moved to Strand. Of course, my zoo moved with us, and we still have our three dogs and four cats.
All four cats adapted amazingly; they love exploring the garden in our new home as it doesn’t face onto the road and is in a much quieter street. Chloe and Tiger do venture out and visit the neighbours – who all know them – several times during the day.
But on the 24th of December 2020, same as every day, Chloe had been in and out all day… but then she didn’t return home. We went looking the same day. We walked around the neighbourhood looking for her – no sign or sight. She never lost her collar, so we knew she still had it on her. We had faith that she’d return home or that one of the neighbours would bring her home. We looked for her every day, walked up and down the streets, hung up posters at every vet in the area and on streetlamp poles. We must have posted over 50 flyers on lampposts and in stores.
We contacted the vets weekly and Helderberg Animal Welfare Society too. Eugenie had pictures of Chloe and all our details. I also called Michelle Robinson at EberVet Pet Clinic, who put Chloe’s missing poster up on her board and looked at it daily. Then, she called on Thursday the 18th of February to tell us that our Chloe was at their surgery.
We rushed over to see if it was really our Chloe. Nothing prepared us for the terrible state she was in – she was skeletal and dehydrated and had no strength left in her. But we were overjoyed.
The ladies at EberVet went out of their way to care for Chloe. I visited her three times a day to see how she was and to shower her with love and give her food – her favourite chicken, rice and pumpkin. She spent five days in hospital on a drip and came home on Tuesday the 22nd of February.
Chloe is improving daily and going from strength to strength. She must’ve suffered some abuse during the time she was missing, as she still cowers occasionally when there’s any sudden movement, but she’s slowly beginning to show signs of being the old Chloe that we know.
I believe she was stolen and taken to where she was. She must’ve escaped from there and tried to find her way home but couldn’t get out of the township area as she didn’t know the way back home. It was a miracle that Claudine van den Eijkel, unaware of her missing status, picked her up and that Michelle was so alert and recognised Chloe immediately Claudine brought her to EberVet to be euthanised.
I’m eternally grateful that Chloe was found and is back home with us. She still has a long road of recovery ahead with some off-days for sure, but I’m certain that Chloe will regain her full strength and her feisty personality.