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Heath and Amy Churcher with runaway cat Momo. Photo: SUPPLIED

Momo the missing feline found

When Amy Churcher’s cat Momo went missing in April, 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown, she and her son Heath were sure they would never see him again.

The Waitakaruru family moved homes the day the lockdown took effect. Momo had experienced previous moves well, but this time he disappeared.

The then four-year-old cat was initially missing for two weeks. He made a brief reappearance on Easter Sunday, but a week later he was gone for good.

So when Amy saw a Facebook post on February 4 talking about a found cat, she was stunned to realise she recognised him.

“I was gobsmacked when I was tagged in the post,” Amy said. “I had posted on local pages that Momo was missing, to no avail.”

Amy said there had been a few sightings here and there, including a neighbouring farmer who thought they’d seen Momo in their rubbish pile, but they weren’t able to catch up to him.

“We hoped and prayed he was still alive and that maybe someone had taken him in or he was keeping himself well fed through his love for hunting.”

Amy said Heath was distraught when Momo went missing.

“Heath and Momo were best friends, he was his first pet and they were always together. He missed him immensely,” she said.

“One night I went in to check on [Heath] before I went to bed and there was a photo of Momo lying there on his chest.”

Amy got Momo for Heath when he was a toddler.

“I actually called him Gizmo and when Heath was a toddler he couldn’t say his name and just called him Momo.”

The day Amy saw Momo on Facebook, she was in disbelief.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she said. “Boy, was Heath happy when I told him the news and showed him the photo I’d seen online.”

They collected Momo that same afternoon, from a property just across the road from their old house. Amy theorised he’d been looked after by an elderly couple who used to live there.

“He’s not skinny or anything, he looks like he’s been well-fed,” she said.

Momo has since slotted right back into life with his family, despite the addition of a few new felines in his absence.

“He’s not skittery, he’s the most mellow cat ever. He gets along with our other cats just fine,” Amy said. “He’s not really wanting to go anywhere to be honest. I think he’s just like, ‘I missed you guys’.”

“We’re over the moon to have him back. It just goes to show the power of social media and miracles can happen,” Amy said.

“It’s amazing that we’ve been reunited with him after all this time.”

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Journalism funded by NZ on Air