Cats lost in Christchurch red zone reunited with owners
A Christchurch geologist is using infrared cameras to track stray and lost cats roaming the city's residential red zone.
Jane Newman has reunited dozens of cats and their owners who had thought they had lost their feline friends during the earthquakes.
Fingers the cat isn't your typical tabby; he has seven toes on his front feet and five on the back. Ms Newman advertised a description of his unusual paws online, and this led to Fingers being reunited with owner Stephen Phillips, who says his cat had been missing from home for four years.
"We thought that was him, so we went and paid the visit to Jane Newman and got reintroduced, went through a process and got him back," says Mr Phillips.
Ms Newman is a well-known geologist and also a cat lover. For more than a year she's been replenishing feed bowls outside abandoned houses and positioning infrared cameras to monitor cats in the red zone. She says hundreds are roaming the area.
"You don't need a lot of imagination to realise that there's a big problem," she says.
Ms Newman believes most of the cats snapped by her cameras are pets who have been lost during the earthquakes and subsequent demolitions.
She has trapped and caught more than 60 of them at her 10 feed points. She then advertises them online. So far, she has been able to return or re-home 90 percent of them.
"Christchurch people have lost so much and the ones who've lost their cats are in real pain. So if you can get their cats home to them that's great and we've achieved that quite a lot."
Fingers was one happily reunited with his owner. But back at Ms Newman's house there are always around a dozen cats still waiting to be reunited with their original owners, or adopted by new ones.
source: newshub archive