Missing cat returns home after two years of adventuring

Missing cat returns home after two years of adventuring
Kaylah Joelle Baker

North Melbourne resident Sarah Gibbins spent two long years wondering if she would ever see her beloved cat Sleeves again.

Back in 2017, Ms Gibbins and her family were spending Christmas at their holiday home just outside of Swan Hill, a property Sleeves was very comfortable with, when they realised he was nowhere to be found.

Fast forward to today, Ms Gibbins can be seen cuddling up to Sleeves, who is living a life in the spotlight with his face plastered in The Cat Protection Society of Victoria (CPSV) “2023 Famous Felines Calendar”.

Putting his miraculous discovery down to the fact that he was microchipped, Ms Gibbins said, “if we hadn’t microchipped him, we would never have found him.”

After Sleeves went missing near Swan Hill, he was mysteriously found more than two years later in Greensborough.

“We were so worried and not sure what happened, because he knew the space so well, but I feel it was just bad timing and something scared him, so he left,” Ms Gibbins said.

“We kept looking for him and were doing everything we could. We put posters up on the street and hung around for weeks longer than we had intended, but we couldn’t find him.”

Ms Gibbins and her husband also went around to all their neighbours, leaving food with them in case Sleeves did reappear.

But, despite all their best efforts, and continuous searching when they returned on occasion, no news came.

Until one day, out of the blue, a call from the Cat Protection Society of Victoria (CPSV) came through to let them know Sleeves had been found.

“My husband got the call because his number is on the microchip, and when he told me, I said, ‘quick, get in the car, we are going to Swan Hill’, but then they told us he was at Greensborough,” Ms Gibbins said.


I don’t know how he got there but he was still so well behaved and in very good health, and he integrated back into our household like he never left.


After going through a wave of emotions and feeling so distraught after losing an “integral part of [their] family”, Ms Gibbins is speaking out about the importance of having pets microchipped.

Despite microchipping being a legal requirement within the state, CPSV reported that, last year, 68 per cent of the stray and surrendered cats and kittens that came to the organisation weren’t microchipped.

“Microchipping is the most effective way to reunite lost cats with their owners. It is disappointing to see that in 2022 only 32 percent of the cats that came into our care were microchipped,” the CPSV’s senior veterinarian Dr Peta Keown said.

“There is no way for animal shelters like ours, the local vet, or the council to find a cat’s owner if they are not microchipped. It’s a very simple procedure that any vet can do which sees a tiny chip implanted under your cat’s skin.”

While it may seem invasive, Dr Keown is quick to assure pet owners that the process “doesn’t harm or hurt your cat”.

“There is no recovery time needed, and kittens can be microchipped as young as six weeks old,” she said.

Microchipping a cat costs about $50, or $125 when paired with a veterinary consult, and owners are asked to make sure they keep their contact details updated.

As for Sleeves, one of the lucky ones, while the mystery of his adventures may forever puzzle his family, they are just more than pleased to have him home safely.

And as for his adventures these days, Sleeves prefers them to take place within the confines of his North Melbourne home.

“He doesn’t leave the house now,” Ms Gibbins said. “You could leave the door open, and he will go out the front door, and then come straight back in.”

To view the microchip database, visit: petaddress.com.au


John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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