A Brightlingsea cat who was taken to Luton by a family who thought he was a stray is now back home safe and sound.
One-year-old Max – who has his own Facebook page and is well known to residents and visitors from his wanderings around the Prom area – was missing from his home in Sydney Street for a week. Concerned well-wishers contributed to a reward fund of over £500 for anyone who found him after he was last seen on July 15.
After a week of searching the town and asking beach hut owners if they'd seen the Bengal cat, Max's 'mum' Georgie Leigh Dunt was beginning to lose hope when a call came from a vet in Luton, who had found her contact details after Max was brought in for a check-up.
"I just screamed," said Georgie, who runs dog walking business Georgie's Paw Pad. "I was just massively relieved."
Georgie travelled to Luton the next day for a tearful reunion with Max. Apparently he had become so friendly with a family staying in a caravan on the Lakeside site in Promenade Way that they thought he was a stray and took him home with them. They then took him to the vet for a check up and that's when a scan revealed he was chipped and recorded as missing.
"I spoke with the man who took Max," said Georgie. "He genuinely thought Max didn't have a home because of how friendly he was and that he kept coming back to the campsite every day. I told him I lived round the corner and that it was Max's favourite place to visit as he gets to meet lots of people."
Max was subdued and reluctant to go out but otherwise in good health after his ordeal. "He slept all day after he came home," said Georgie, who says she now intends to fit hime with a collar and a tag pointing out that if Max is taken again, "an entire town will hunt you down"!
"Hopefully this will be the biggest and only mission Max ever goes on again," she added.
• Max's Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/maxsmissions