The Best Christmas Present: A missing cat’s safe return home

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Marie Newberry of Liverpool, UK shares her story from 2010.
Shortly after the loss of  her beloved cat Rosie, Marie adopted Sunny and Daisy, special needs kitties who had been passed over for adoption for a long time.  The pair settled in to their new forever home and all was well until Sonny went missing, leaving Marie with all the emotions and anxieties common to people whose pets are lost, compounded by the knowledge that Sonny needed extra care to stay alive.
Here is Marie and Sonny’s story:
I’ve been scared of Sundays since I had to help my beautiful Rosie go to the Bridge on Sunday June 6th 2010. I got up that morning and knew something was seriously wrong, Rosie wasn’t sleeping at my side as usual. I found her blind, scared & unable to move under her favourite Lilac bush in the garden and I knew her time had come.  I said goodbye at 9:45 am and my heart broke into a million pieces.


After vowing never to have another cat in my home I somehow ended up on Catchat, a rescue page where Sonny & Daisy were looking out right into my eyes. Well that was me, hooked & already planning their homecoming. Sonny & Daisy suffer from eosinophilic granuloma and had been in the rescue all their lives, they were 2.5 years old. They almost had a forever home 3 times but at the last minute each adopter decided against taking them. Until I saw them & vowed to bring them home. They came home on August 24th 2010 and I was hopelessly smitten.

Daisy and Sonny


All was well until Sunday 12th December. That dreaded Sunday again. I got up and was in the middle of preparing their chicken to give them their steroid tablet when Sonny decided to go outside while he waited.

An hour later he still hadn’t returned, I knew he was gone. I felt it in my heart and then the tears came and did not stop. I went out searching & shouting & crying. After knocking on all my neighbours doors, searching their sheds & having them look in their houses I went home heartbroken. Sonny was missing. My son & husband went out that evening & still nothing.


I was worried silly and feeling like a failure…..I brought him home 4 months ago for a better life and now he was lost & alone & no doubt scared. It was my fault, if I hadn’t brought him home he would be safe in his cage at the rescue. I was inconsolable.

I was worried that Daisy would pine for her brother but no, she loved being the only cat in the house!

Every day I went out searching, posting leaflets and knocking on doors. I went out at random times – early hours of the morning, late morning, early afternoon, evening and late at night. I couldn’t sleep so I thought I may as well be doing something. Every time I went out I took Sonny’s favourite toy, a stick with a bell attached by a string and shook it hoping he would hear it & remember how much he loved to play with it.

Then on Friday 17th December it started to snow and did not stop. The snow was calf deep and I started to lose hope. There was no way a little fella who had no street smarts could survive this – it was -8 and the snow was falling intermittently.

The weather didn’t stop me searching, if anything I was more determined to find him & bring him home. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t find him.


At 20:25 on Friday 24th of December my phone rang. My heart stopped & I could not breathe. Instantly I knew it was someone ringing to tell me they had my beautiful Sonny. I asked my son to answer the phone as I was already crying and he said 1 word in reply to the caller – yes! Well I took the phone from him and through my sobs asked if they were ringing about my cat and OH MY GOD the lady said ‘if it’s a small, scared black & white one, then yes I am’ The 3 of us just cheered and I completely broke down. The lady had seen him hanging around the day before and was able to tempt him in with some chicken, poor Sonny was starving. She got my number from his id tag and called me.

We went round there & then and I can’t tell you how grateful I was to that kind lady, her husband & 2 children who had rescued him from the snow that night. I told her she had made my Christmas, and tried to reward her but she refused saying she was so happy to have reunited us as I was clearly delighted to have him back.

Although he was scared & disorientated I was able to gather him up & bring him home. We got indoors & he was very wary, sniffing all around. Daisy was NOT happy to see him, in fact she tried to batter the poor little boy until he went to the safety of his igloo. He fell asleep but kept waking up with a start & crying. I did my best to calm him and this went on for a few hours until I carried him upstairs to my bed, where we settled down. He woke twice more after a nightmare but on the 3rd time he realised he was home, safe & where he was loved. He came over to my face and let out a huge sigh and laid his head on mine & went peacefully to sleep.

Christmas morning dawned and my boy Sonny was still sleeping on my pillow – it was the only thing I had asked for and amazingly I was given the best present in the world. The safe return of Sonny.
Daisy continued to punish him for a week but soon settled down into their old ways of sibling bickering. JOY!

We went back to the lady’s house a few days later & posted a reward through the letterbox, how could I not – I had my Sonny back & I wanted to give her & her children a treat.


Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers who took pity on a starving cat at Christmas, I will never forget them.

Daisy and Sonny, happy ending

16 thoughts on “The Best Christmas Present: A missing cat’s safe return home”

  1. I feel sorry when anyone loses a beloved family member, but also I get frustrated when I read that people let their cats go outside, especially if the cat then doesn’t come back. Outside/inside cats have only half the life expectancy of indoor only cats, cats can be poisoned and hurt if outside. Most of the rescues and shelters around here will only allow a person to adopt if they agree never to let the cat outside. Our 4 rescued cats have never gone outside since they were rescued/brought inside and they are happy and healthy. It just makes sense to protect those you love.

  2. Vicki, I wholeheartedly agree; we have three cats and not one of them goes outside. They are very curious as cats will be, and sometimes I feel like I am denying them another world to search, but of course I know better. I am so glad Sonny was found and I hope his “Mom” never lets him outside again, the same goes for Daisy!

  3. I am so glad that the little kitty got home. What a sweet family who rescued him. I sure that his owner never has a scare like that again. I hope that they all have a long and happy life together.

  4. I have never found out what happened to my willi girl but my friend is still looking out for her….it hurts… not to know if she is alive or at the bridge…

  5. Very sad and heartwarming story and I just loved it. I cried during the reading of it also. I am so glad that Sonny was able to be found and well also. Rosie I am so sorry that you went over the Rainbow Bridge though. You were a very beautiful and gorgeous looking cat. I myself have a calico cat named Samantha who is 11 years old now.

  6. I cried too. My babies are inside house cats no matter what they say or want. My lil boy got out and my whole world came to a stop until i could fid him. I did a few hours later and i creid and cried cause he was found. My mom found him under the back porch we were adding on and he has hid under there. If i would of listened to my lil girl his sister i would of known cause she was in the window right above where he was under the porch.

  7. Sonny & Daisy were in a cage for 2.5 years and myself & the rescue are happy to allow them free choice as to whether or not to go outside or stay indoors – in the UK most cats are allowed free access to the outside

  8. Cats are ‘wild animals’ and in the UK it is the norm to allow them access to the outdoors.The rescue we adopted from thoroughly vetted myself, my family & my home. They were completely satisfied and happy that they would have access to a garden and outdoors in general. They do not insist on cats being kept indoors EXCEPT in special circumstances.

  9. Marie I also had another calico cat named Tabitha that I got in Sept. 1980 and had to have her put to sleep in April 2000. So I had her for almost 20 year and I loved every minute I had with her. She was a very small cat about 5 to 6 pounds all together. I got her from a street in the country were my Aunt lived. She new I was looking for another one and someone had just dropped this kitten at this farm that already had a mother cat and kittens. Tabitha was about 5 or 6 weeks old the vet said and the only thing wrong with her was she had worms which was a blessing. She was also a long haired cat too which she would get mats alot and I would have to have her shaved at certain times of the year.

  10. Oh how lovely….she sounds so cute. I lover Calico/Tortie cats but after Rosie died I just couldn’t face having another so soon

  11. That is to bad. I have had three calico cats in my life growing up. The first one was a calico cat named Samantha 1 she was my first Samantha. I named her after the character on the TV show BEWITCHED because when I looked at her face she just bewitched me. Then I got Tabitha who I named after the daughter on BEWITCHED even thought she was not the daughter of my first cat. Then I adopted my current Samantha a month before the Sept. 11, 2001 disaster here in the United States. She already had her name and I loved it so I kept it. Are you by any chance on FB. If you are would you like to be friends. Just thought I would ask.

  12. Oh that’s lovely – I used to love watching Bewitched as a youngun.
    I am on Facebook my own acct is Medusa Jay – or Rosie’s is Rosie PosieTom. Thank you – please do send a request

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