There were fears a cat-napper was operating in Rotorua after two prized pets went missing from the same street last week.
The Colliers were devastated when their precious $2000 Maine Coon cat Tigger disappeared from their Hamon Pl home on Wednesday.
But things took a sinister turn two days later when the Patels’ Ragdoll Coco vanished too.
The hunt was on to find the fugitive furballs as fears grew they had been stolen.
The families didn’t give up hope. They dropped notices in letterboxes and put posters on power poles begging for the safe return of their adored pets.
A $500 reward was even offered for Tigger’s safe return.
As day five ticked over, however, their worst fears were starting to sink in.
Then, a miracle happened.
Brother and sister Lance and Delanie Fisher were taking their evening stroll on Monday along Hamon Pl when Lance happened to glance over at a house.
In the window of the garage, he saw a desperate-looking Tigger peering out.
He knew Tigger was missing because his neighbour, John Collier, had asked him to keep a lookout a few days.
“I ran down to John’s house to let him know.”
Turns out the cats weren’t “cat-napped” after all.
They’d snuck through the cat door of the empty Airbnb but found themselves stuck as the cat door was locked the other way.
Tigger had been trapped inside for five days and Coco for three days.
After finding a contact for the holiday home, the families jumped the fence and managed to hold up the cat door and coax the scared cats to freedom.
Dolly Patel said the joy of getting Coco home on Monday night was indescribable.
“Oh my gosh, you just wouldn’t believe it,” an ecstatic Patel said.
She said she hoped no one would have to go through this again.
“It was a nightmare, I couldn’t eat or sleep.”
She said it was a good reminder for those who had holiday homes or people going away for long periods to ensure their cat doors were locked.
John and Carolyn Collier were bursting with happiness to have Tigger home.
John Collier said it was great to hear the words of his daughter after there was a knock at the door.
“‘Dad, Tigger’s alive’.”
The family was looking forward to the celebration.
“Tigger’s getting caviar tonight,” John Collier said.
The two cats were reunited yesterday for a Rotorua Daily Post photo.
Based on the snarling and swiping of claws, it appeared their unexpected lockdown together had not resulted in a feline friendship.
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