Fernhill cat Oscar is safely home, having survived a 30-day caper in the bush and ride under a car bonnet.
Owner Caz Brigham is overjoyed to have her purebred blue Burmese returned after Oscar went missing on February 28.
Brigham, a teacher at Wakatipu High, says she never lost hope of finding her $400 pet – so she patrolled the streets for him, sent out fliers and advertised in Mountain Scene and on radio.
Oscar was picked up by Queenstown Cat Rescue a couple of hours after he vanished – two elderly tourists heard meowing from under their car bonnet after driving from the Arawata Track to the bottom of the Skyline Gondola, she says.
Cat Rescue’s Julia Milley contacted Brigham after seeing an advertisement – she told Brigham she found Oscar “squashed under the bonnet near the radiator”.
Milley helped the uninjured cat out of the engine but he managed to escape, bolting up a nearby tree before disappearing again.
Relieved her beloved pet was still alive, Brigham diverted her search to Bob’s Peak – meanwhile taking calls from strangers about “grey cat” sightings.
“I got fantastic community support…but every cat I went to see was a false alarm,” she says.
Then, last Tuesday, Oscar purred into Skyline’s restaurant kitchen. A staff member contacted Cat Rescue and he was reunited with Brigham that day.
“I was ecstatic,” she says.
A famished Oscar lost “half his body weight” on his bush excursion but was otherwise unharmed.
“It’s just a miracle for [him to survive] 30 days.
“I’m calling him Oscar Wild from now on.”