A team of volunteers is launching a fresh campaign in an attempt to find a much-loved cat who went missing in Torquay more than three years ago.
Long-haired black male cat Hector, who is neutered and microchipped, disappeared from his home near Torquay Academy in July 2018.
Volunteers will be gathering in Torquay on Saturday, January 8, to leaflet households and put up posters, in a new search.
They are working on the theory that Hector may have been taken in by someone, or could still be living outdoors in the area and is being fed by someone unaware that he has a home.
The team of cat charity supporters from Devon and Gloucester will be focusing on the area of Barton and Hele, close to where he went missing.
The campaign, called Hunt for Hector, is being led by Cats Assistance Trapping Service, based in Gloucester, which works with other charities to find homes for stray, abandoned and feral cats.
Hector’s owner Zara Oldfield has done everything possible in her efforts to find Hector, but so far without success.
She even called in a professional pet detective who uncovered new evidence but was unable to find the cat.
Zara was inspired after Hector’s disappearance to set up Hector’s House Cat Rescue, now a registered charity, specialising in rehabilitating and rehoming stray and abandoned unneutered male cats.
The charity, registered in November 2020, has rescued and rehomed more than 300 cats in its first year and is based at Zara’s home in Audley Avenue, Torquay.
Zara said: “Hector was a beautiful cat, and I was heartbroken when he went missing. I know he may have died, but no remains have been found, so I have never given up hope that he is still alive.
“I am so grateful to everyone who is helping with the new appeal to find him. I know the pain of having a cat go missing, and that is why we want to send out the message for owners to get their cats neutered and microchipped.”
Anyone with information or sightings of a cat they think might be Hector should contact Hector’s House via its Facebook page or call the charity on 07369 206 984.
The charity has found stray cats which have been returned to their owners, in one case after being missing for 13 years.
The cat was returned to a family in Newton Abbot after being reported at a caravan park in Paignton in August 2021.
Abandoned cats rescued by the charity include a seriously injured male who was close to death and hiding in the branches of a tree in Newton Abbot in November 2021.
He needed surgery for a broken jaw, probably due to being hit by a car, as well as treatment for infections, dehydration and infestation by insects.
No owner came forward and an appeal on social media raised enough money to cover the vet fees which have cost more than £3,000 so far.
Lazarus is being cared for by one of the charity’s cat fosterers, and is due to have his final surgery on his jaw in early January.
The charity has nine cat pens at its headquarters, with a team of volunteers caring for the cats.
After health checks and any necessary vet treatment, they go into foster care and eventually are rehomed, or found a feral placement if they cannot be domesticated.
The charity has a policy of never putting any cat to sleep unless they are suffering and there is no hope of successful treatment.
It has found homes for several cats with long-term conditions and terminal illnesses.
For more information about the work of Hector’s House, log on to www.hectorshousecatrescue.co.uk
Torbay Weekly Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.