A desperate search continues in New Zealand for Max the Cat, who was abducted recently by a person or persons unknown. Lisa Morice, Max’s companion, posted flyers after Max failed to turn up last week at his home on William Denny Avenue in Westmere, New Zealand. She got immediate results, but not the kind she expected.
"Almost immediately I received an anonymous call from a man telling me there was a letter about Max in our box," she said. The writer said Max had been taken ‘overseas’ and left by some houses on the Northcote Pt side of Onewa Rd." The letter contained a map showing where the cat had been left, and explained why the abduction had taken place.
"I and others who have lived in our home," the cat-napper wrote, "have had a long and very unsatisfactory relationship with Max, especially our cat who has sustained various injuries, one permanent, in attempting to defend her territory. Max has been a regular nocturnal invader, eating our cat’s food and occasionally defecating in the corner."
"It was high time this came to an end, and our home became our home again," the writer continued. The incident was triggered by another nocturnal invasion: "Two nights ago, Max crept in at 4am and I played cat and mouse where I was the cat and Max [normally the cat] was the mouse. . . . "After a two-hour chase, where Max demonstrated an intimate knowledge of every hideaway corner of our house, I managed to capture him." The abductor claimed that because Max had no collar, there was no way to determine who he belonged to. So, he wrote, "I took him ‘overseas’ to Onewa Rd and released him there. I am remaining anonymous for obvious reasons and when you get him back, as I am sure you will, can I suggest that you provide him with a collar and a tag that identifies him as your cat."
The term "overseas" referred to the fact that the location where the victim was dumped is on the other side of a bay that splits the Auckland metro area, as shown by the map below.
Ms. Morice said she understood the writer’s frustration but was "horrified at the drastic action he took. . . . It is very weird behavi[or]." (The brackets there only "correct" the spelling of that last word. Originally, I quoted it exactly, but eventually I decided that even if they insist on saying "behaviour" down there I don’t have to write it that way up here. Even if I am quoting. This took about five minutes of my life to consider.) "We know the person lives very close to us," she said, "but is outside our immediate group of houses. All we want is Max back and we have had a wonderful response from Northcote residents, but as yet without success."
New Zealanders who wrote the Auckland paper to comment on the story were split 3-2 in support of the cat abduction. "Stephen C." wrote that he fully supported the neighbor’s action because he was "sick of people not de-sexing their tomcats" with the result that they get into neighbors’ homes, "steal food, and rape other cats." "Carissa," meanwhile, agreed with Stephen but was less concerned about cat rape than cat food: "I have them coming in at night eating my cat’s food regularly," she wrote, "and have thought about doing the same thing." (You have? Could someone please make Carissa a sandwich or something?) But "Wiki" was more supportive, writing that she had faced a similar situation (lost cat, not abducted cat). "[Dear] distraught cat owner," she wrote, although Morice’s actual name was used in the story, "please do not give up hope. Just 20 minutes ago a neighbour responded to our flyers, now our Baba Boo has been returned, after spending two cold wet nights locked away in an unused old caravan."
But the safe recovery of Baba Boo is likely cold comfort to the Morice family. As of Sunday the 12th, there was no report that either Max or the cat relocator had been located.