Pet detective hired to find missing Cumbria cat
An elderly couple in Cumbria have paid £1,000 to a pet detective to help find their missing pet cat.
The grey and white male Siamese cat named Cloudy, went missing from their home on Parham Drive in Raffles, near Carlisle, last October.
Gerald Francis, 83, and his wife Lisa, 87, have paid out in the hope that their 15-year-old cat will be returned.
Mrs Francis said: "It's our savings, but we don't mind. He means so much to us."
"Unless you have an animal yourself, you can understand what it means to care for a living being."
When Cloudy went missing, the couple put up posters and spoke to locals to try to find their pet, but when he did not turn up, they called in the pet detective agency. Animal Search UK came up from Hereford to help with the search.
Mr Francis: "This particular animal was such a wonderful cat, Siamese are particularly faithful, we had a strong bond with that cat.
"He meant so much to us, when he went missing it was like losing a family member. We were devastated by it."
Tom Watkins, 37, the founder of Animal Search UK has a history of detective work, bringing skills from his time in the police and as a fraud investigator.
He set up the pet detective agency to combine his love for animals and his natural investigative nature.
He said: "When we're looking for a missing pet, we follow the same path police would for a missing person.
"We go door to door, we do an outdoor search for hiding or trapped pets and leave photos and posters everywhere.
"We have a specialist call centre open 24/7 for members of the public to call, which is better than when owners put up their own number, because no-one wants to phone and say they've seen the cat being attacked, but they can ring us, and we tell the owner in a more sensitive way.
"We usually have a 65% success rate, but in Cloudy's case, because it's been some time, the chances aren't as good as normal.
"It's fair to say we never guarantee to find the pets, there's more chance now we've done the enquiries rather than before. But we're realistic and have an open mind."