A pet cat whose owner was left distraught when he went missing from his home has finally been tracked down - by Britain’s first cat detection dog.
Charity worker Catherine Jarvis searched everywhere when her pet puss Phoenix disappeared and had almost given up hope of ever seeing the cherished 10-year-old tabby again.
She contacted Surrey-based Pet Detectives who specialise in tracing lost animals - and cat detection dog Molly was put on the case.
Molly, a rescue working Cocker Spaniel, has been specially trained by Medical Detection Dogs to use her huge sense of smell to sniff out missing cats - and she soon tracked down Phoenix.
Medical Detection Dogs is a charity that normally trains dogs to detect the smell of human diseases such as cancer.
Catherine, who works at Cats Protection national adoption centre in Chelwood Gate, said: “As Phoenix had gone missing on a sunny Saturday, I was worried that he’d got himself shut in someone’s shed. I spent hours wandering around, calling his name, to no avail.”
By Wednesday Catherine was getting frantic and contacted Pet Detectives who put Molly to work on the search.
“Watching Molly in action was fantastic,” said Catherine. “Once she had been given Phoenix’s scent she was on a mission. With her keen nose on the job we were able to get a good idea of Phoenix’s usual route, which helped us track down the best area to search.”
Phoenix was finally spotted in a closed up garage. “I was in shock at first. I almost couldn’t believe we’d found him,” said Catherine.
Phoenix is the latest of 10 cats that Molly has found since she started work as a detective dog just a month ago.
Pet Detectives, which is based in Guildford and run by a former police officer, say that there is so much call on Molly’s time that they now plan to get and train up another cat detection dog.