Silver lining to Sonix tragedy

Smokey the cat

In a Facebook post late last month, Elise de Beer painfully described how her family’s beloved cat, Sonix, had been taken to the SPCA by a neighbour and euthanised less than 48 hours later despite being micro-chipped (“Uproar over SPCA killing cat,” Sentinel, November 4).

The public outcry that followed was unprecedented, prompting a full-scale investigation by the SPCA.

While the outcome of that investigation is pending, in an extraordinary turn of events on Friday November 11, Hout Bay resident Luisa Belter had been discussing Sonix’s death with Ms De Beer when she mentioned that a few months ago Sonix and another grey cat had become stuck in a tree in her garden.

At first, Ms Belter believed the grey cat was Gandalf, a cat that had been missing in Llandudno for several months. Although it was established that this was not Gandalf, the cat continued to pay her family daily visits.

“We called the cat Becky. No one claimed this little cat, and we believed it lived in the neighbourhood and just enjoyed our company and food,” Ms Belter said.

“Then Sonix died and I told Elise about this little grey cat we had called Becky and how she had adopted us. Elise immediately suggested we have it scanned.” A vet scanned the cat and immediately located the chip and gave Ms Belter the owner’s details.

“And it turns out that Becky was actually a boy named Smokey. His owners moved out of Mount Rhodes to Claremont two years ago, at the time of his disappearance.”

Ms Belter contacted Dr Nazly Khan, Smokey’s owner, who could not believe that after two years her family was being reunited with their beloved pet.

“We had left our animals in the care of a house-sitter for six weeks, but when we came back, Smokey had run away,” Dr Khan said.

“We then moved to Claremont. We never thought we would see him again. Then I got Luisa’s call on Friday, and I could not believe it. He immediately recognised my children who have been cuddling him, but he doesn’t recognise his ‘brother’ cat Thomas. There is still a bit of tension there.” Ms Belter quipped that she had managed to secure “visitation rights” since Smokey had become such a part of her own family in the past two years. Ms De Beer said she was delighted that at least some good could have come out of Sonix’s death.