You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Cat owner Philip Sheehan said several of his neighbours posted on the Somerfield Residents Association Facebook page to say their cats had gone missing recently.
He says he has seen about 20 missing cat reports on the page over the last six months.
Mr Sheehan said one resident had found some cats in a bag on the banks of the Heathcote River, and luckily they were still alive.
Said Mr Sheehan: “A story like that worries people with cats and animals as well.”
Mr Sheehan admits it is normal for cats to go missing, but the number in Somerfield recently has some wondering if it is more than a coincidence.
“Cats go missing, but when there seems to be three or four in a two-week period, and people say now my cat’s missing and now my cat’s gone, it’s a bit odd and it seems to come in waves of maybe every six months or something.”
Mr Sheehan is one of the lucky ones – his cat George (also known as Fluffy Cat) has never gone missing. But he is still worried about the well-being of cats in the neighbourhood and the owners they leave behind.
“They’re part of the family, aren’t they. I would hate that if I knew my cat had died in pain or was scared, that would make me incredibly angry.”
Said SPCA communications manager Jessie Gilchrist: “SPCA doesn’t keep a national register of all lost animals as such. However, we work closely with www.lostpet.co.nz, which is run by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council.”
•The SPCA provides tips on what to do if you lose an animal or find a lost one at www.spca.nz/advice-and-welfare