Written by Angela Gomes
Professional photography by Lucid Dream Photography
On the 5th of December, our very special cat, Smeagal, disappeared. This was so unlike him as he’s a real homebody. I knew from the first night when he wasn’t in for dinner that something was wrong. I waited two days to see if he was hiding somewhere: I searched the sheds, garages, neighbours’ gardens, and posted on neighbours’ WhatsApp groups, but there was no sign of him. We were completely devastated, especially as we were going away on the 15th. I phoned every vet in the area and called my vet to check if the info on our microchip was correct, only to be told that out of all our animals, Smeagal hadn’t been chipped.
I posted on every social media lost and found page, called TEARS, the SPCA, and everyone I could think of. Smeagal is extremely friendly and likes to jump into cars, so I thought he might have climbed into a car. I contacted everyone who’d been at our house that day – from window cleaners to people picking veggies to friends, everyone! No luck.
I received a message from a lovely lady named Briony Simon in Vredehoek who’d seen my post on Facebook and saw a photo of Smeagal. She said she’d seen a similar-looking cat in a stormwater drain and that he looked lost, and she took a pic and sent it to me. It looked like Smeagal, so much like him that it gave us so much hope. (I knew that he was alive; my gut was telling me that.) Bearing in mind that we live about 25kms away in Noordhoek, we thought he might’ve jumped into a car belonging to someone from the town area who’d come to pick veggies.
My husband, Justin, walked around Vredehoek for two hours, and the amazing Vredehoek community was also looking for Smeagal. But, despite these efforts and our high hopes, we couldn’t spot that cat. I also phoned every vet in Vredehoek and surrounds.
The time came for us to go on our holiday, and I left with such a heavy heart. When we got to the Breede, I took the cover off my boat and noticed some little kitty pawprints leading out of the boat. I remembered driving the boat to Milnerton for a service on the 4th, so my focus moved to Milnerton. I called the boat shop and posted on the social media groups for Milnerton, thinking that perhaps Smeagal had been under the cover of the boat (he’s done that before, but that’s another story). We had such great responses from people, but still no Smeagal.
I spoke to an animal communicator who felt that Smeagal was still alive and said I should send love and light from my heart to his and he’d do the right thing and get someone to bring him home. These communicators are incredible beings. She described images of where she saw him and spoke to him on an energetic level. Every morning while on holiday, I woke up with a heavy heart and spent some time after waking just talking to Smeagal.
On the 23rd of December, I excused myself from the family, sat alone quietly, and gave one big push on all social media platforms again (something told me that morning that I needed to do it again), pleading for anyone with information to contact me. On the 24th, I received a message from a lovely lady in Silvermine Retirement Village. She wrote that they had a cat visiting them every evening looking for food and cuddles, which is exactly what Smeagal is all about. She said it seemed that the cat was a female, which Smeagal is not, but was uncertain. My heart dropped again. She hadn’t seen my earlier post and thought the cat belonged to one of the residents who’d passed away. She sent me a photo and I could see, looking into his eyes in the picture, that this was our Smeagal. I asked if she’d take him to the vet to check if he was a male, unchipped and neutered, which she very kindly did.
At lunchtime the same day she messaged me saying “jackpot”, this is Smeagal! The best Christmas present I could ever have wished for. We were only reunited on the 8th of January when we returned from holiday. Smeagal was very well looked after until then, but it made leaving our holiday and going home that much more exciting. He was as happy to see us as we were to see him.
When I collected Smeagal, I was told that he’d wandered into the maintenance workshop at Silvermine Retirement Village where the guys there fell in love with him. They bought him some food and fed him during the day and left the window open at night for him to come and go. They loved his company and got a lot of snuggles from him. They even wanted to take him home but then decided he’d be their workshop pet – they named him “Shadow”. One of these workers, Newton Constant, made contact with me and sent photos documenting part of Smeagal’s journey.
Smeagal is safe at home now, chipped and collared. Every time he jumps on my lap for a cuddle, I tell him quietly just how much we love him and how grateful we are that he’s home. I keep wishing he’d had a camera on his forehead that I could play back and see where he’d gone and how he got there.
As I write this, Smeagal’s lying between my legs in a peaceful and happy place. The point of this story and the reason I wanted to share it with you is this… I never gave up, I spoke to him every day, and I believed he’d be found – and he was.
Thank you to all the people who helped to find our precious boy. We couldn’t be happier to have him home, and I think he feels the same. To all those missing their lost beloved pets, never give up; keep a love-light shining from your heart to theirs. They will find you!