The owners of a cat missing in Sydney’s eastern suburbs are in “absolute shock” after the vet looking after her admitted giving the beloved pet to the wrong person by accident.
But in a text message this week, the vet confessed there had been a mix-up – and Tara was now missing.
She had been handed to a family who had a cat called Lara by mistake, with the vet saying she was a similar colour.
Matthews said they were “in absolute shock” and “beside themselves” after learning what happened.
Matthews, who is in the UK, said she was assured Tara would be looked after when she was dropped off three-and-a-half weeks ago.
The couple rescued Tara from the very same vet four years ago.
“A vet there was like, ‘We’re always so happy to see Tara, she’ll get lots of cuddles’.”
Matthews said Tara had stayed at the vet every holiday they’d had since taking her in.
“Obviously we trusted them to take care of Tara,” she said.
“We wanted to make sure she was with people who loved her.
The distraught cat owner said there is “no excuse” for the mix up.
“You really couldn’t confuse her with another cat because her colouring is so distinctive,” she said.
“It doesn’t make any sense, the reason that they’ve given it’s just not good enough.”
The vet said they were doing everything they could to locate Tara in the text message sent advising Matthews of the mistake.
“Last night one of our staff accidentally discharged Tara instead of a cat called Lara to Bondi,” the text read.
“They were both tortoiseshell and the person who picked her up was the grandmother and didn’t know what the cat looked like.
“She took Tara home and the neighbour came on and said that wasn’t her cat.
“I’m so sorry to have to let you know this.”
The vet went on to tell Matthews they were putting up posters and tracking her microchip, adding staff would be retrained after the mishap.
“I can’t believe it could have happened and staff will be appropriately trained,” the text read.
“I cannot apologise enough and we are all really distressed as I imagine you will be.
“We are doing everything we can.”
The business has acknowledged the mix-up in a Facebook post, where they claimed Tara “escaped into the back garden and jumped the fence of the home she was taken to.”
“A member of staff gave the wrong cat to the mother of another tortoiseshell cat,” the post read.
“It was a human error and staff involved are very upset as we love and live for the pets in our care.”
Locals have taken to the streets to search for the cat.
Matthews said the vet had put up posters, but most have disintegrated in the rain.
“It’s not even about blame, it’s just about getting her back,” she said.
Matthews said her partner’s dressing gown was with Tara when she was sent to the vet, which could’ve been used to help try and lure her back.
The couple are offering a $500 reward.
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If you see Tara, you can contact the vet on 02 9389 8411.