Precious’ story published on STV News website



Girl, five, devastated after pet cat rehomed by charity

A five-year-old girl has been left devastated after her pet cat was mistakenly rehomed by an animal charity.

Precious was mistakenly picked up as a stray less than a mile from her home in Cumbernauld in January.

Owner Deborah Cameron and her daughter grew worried after Precious didn’t return the next day and set about contacting local vets and the Cats Protection charity in Falkirk – her local branch – as well as the head office, giving a description of her cat and asking them to get in contact if anything came in.

Around two weeks later, the family were shown a post by a group who call themselves Harvey’s Army.

Members had seen Precious and thought she was a stray, despite having a collar and being in good condition.

The group picked her up, taking her to a “safe place” before handing her into the Cats Protection in Glasgow – 22 miles from her home.

Mrs Cameron hadn’t contacted the Glasgow office due to it being so far away from her own home, she didn’t expect her cat to end up there.

By the time the family traced Precious, Cats Protection had rehomed her, just a few days prior.

After explaining her situation, the charity got in contact with the adoptive family, who then refused to return the cat to her original home.

Cats Protection told Mrs Cameron there was nothing else it could do, as the adoptive family were unwilling to part with Precious.

Now the family have been told the only way they can fight for their cat to be returned home is through a civil court.

A statement from Cats Protection said: “We appreciate this is a distressing time for everyone concerned and we understand the upset a situation like this can cause.

“Precious came into the care of our Glasgow Branch, via Harvey’s Army, on February 6.

“She was scanned but sadly did not have a microchip so we made efforts to locate an owner, including advertising on the branch website and social media sites and sharing her details with other online groups and charities.

“Unfortunately, we have no powers to compel the new owners to return Precious.

“Cats Protection keeps stray cats for a minimum of two weeks before finding them a new home, to allow reasonable time for owners to come forward and claim them.

“As no one came forward to claim her during this time, she was adopted by a new family on February 26.

“We were contacted by Harvey’s Army on Saturday March 10 to say they had seen a post on Facebook with a picture of the cat they had brought to us. They put the owner in touch with us so we could explain the situation.

“We have since contacted the new owners to ask whether they would be prepared to give the cat back, but they have decided to keep her. We have relayed this response to the original owner. Unfortunately, we have no powers to compel the new owners to return Precious.

“This unfortunate incident highlights how important it is for all pet cats to be microchipped.

“We would urge all owners to microchip their cats and keep their details up to date as it will increase the chances of a happy reunion should they go missing.”

The family are still fighting to be reunited with Precious, but are distraught at the lack of communication between the rehoming centres which could have lead to them being reunited with their pet.

They are arguing that the charity did not take due diligence in the rehoming process as the cat was rehomed outwith the borders of the local unit.

Mrs Cameron contacted Cats Protection days after Precious went missing, so they are saying it is incorrect that no one came forward to claim her.

They are also frustrated at the lack of ability to reclaim the cat from the family who adopted her, believing there needs to be greater protection for pet owners.

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