Meet Cheltenham's Very Own 'Cat Angel' - Reuniting Moggies With Owners
Source: Gloucestershire Live, UK
Meet Cheltenham's very own cat lady who spends 8 hours a day reuniting them with owners...
Cats around Gloucestershire – and occasionally the rest of the country for that matter – can rest assured that if they go missing, Louise Davies will do her best to reunite them with their families.
Louise, has a day job as a carer but spends around eight hours a day caring for lost cats and trying to find their owners.
As well as being the administrator of 45 lost and found cat groups on Facebook, including Missing and Found Pets in Gloucestershire, she goes out to cats in need with her microchip scanner and feeds them too, reuniting them when possible with their owners.
And this isn't limited to Gloucestershire – sometimes she posts in groups all around the country, in places such as Plymouth, Kent and Bristol, pointing people in the right direction.
The kitty lover from Charlton Kings, who is married to Paul and has two sons Mark and Michael, started this work about a year and a half ago when her beloved cat Daisy went missing.
She said: "My Bengal cat went missing in September 2015. I thought she may have been stolen, so I put it on Facebook, hoping to make her too hot to handle. But there was nobody around to help me so I stumbled my way through it. It was a happy ever after in the end as I got her back, but afterwards I decided I wanted to help others."
And Louise said she has noticed an increase in the number of cats who are found very far from home, who have sometimes travelled in food delivery lorries or removal vans.
But reuniting cats with their owners can be a long process, and sometimes doesn't happen at all. Louise is lucky enough to have a microchip scanner and access to the database – which she has because of a group she is part of.
But many lost or stray cats are not willing to get close when they first meet Louise, due to being scared or confused.
She explained: "Often, when cats go missing, they go into survival mode, which means that even if they're the most friendly cat ever, they won't seem it. Sometimes they won't even approach their owner."
So she spends time with the cats, sometimes weeks, returning to feed them every day until they grow to trust her.
Eventually, they come close enough to enable her to scan for a microchip.
Louise said the problems come about when the cats don't have a chip.
She added: "It is extremely important to not only get them chipped, but to get the males snipped too. A lot of the males follow the female cats for miles and then get themselves lost. But it's so important to get them micro chipped because it's proof of ownership and makes it so much easier to reunite them with their families."
And although she says it's a rewarding task, it is not all sunshine and daisies, with there being a very sad side to what Louise does.
Often, she is called out to dead cats, which leaves her to break the news to the families.
She said: "I do go out to see the deceased ones too so that families can have closure, because often they are devastated and just want to know whether they're still alive or not. I scan them and take them to the vets."
Most recently, Louise has been trying to help a cat near the Waitrose car park in Cheltenham, who she suspects might have been clipped by a car. She's currently working on building up trust with the cat.
Every day, Louise gets up early, does two hours "cat work" - then goes to her part time carer job. Then, when she gets home, she continues with it. She said she doesn't even watch TV anymore, making time instead for the cats and their worried owners.
If somebody messages Louise about a stray cat, she will first talk to the person that found them, and encourage them to feed the cat if it's getting thin. Then, she will go down and assess the situation.
But Louise doesn't just feed and scan the cats – she also acts as a shoulder to cry on too for owners.
"People get down in the dumps when their cats go missing, thinking that they might never find them. I'm there to remind them that there is hope."
She's reunited many cats over the past 18 months, sometimes when the cats have been missing for a whopping 10 weeks.
Louise's advice to someone who might be missing their cat is to go outside between 2am and 5am when it is very quiet, wearing clothes that have been worn quite a lot and bring a tin of tuna.
"Usually, the cat is totally lost and confused. They won't come out when it's busy, but at night, it's quiet and they might be able to pick up your scent."