Hannah Walker and Minx. Photo / David Haxton
The story of a Paraparaumu tabby who disappeared in mysterious circumstances has been turned into a children’s book with an important underlying message.
While proceeds of the book will go to Feline Fix, which subsidises the desexing of cats, its aim is to empower children to make better decisions when they’re adults.
In early May, the much-loved cat of the Walker family called Minx, 9, who was big, and confident, but a bit of a softy, didn’t come home.
Alarm bells were raised, as it was very much out of Minx’s character, so a social media blitz as well as a flyer drop in the area was conducted.
A few days later Hannah Walker received a chilling anonymous text which read: “My flatmates decided your cat deserved to be taken away because they were scaring/hurting their cat. Your cat was taken to the top of Paekākāriki hill.”
Hannah set up a Facebook page to enlist the help of volunteers in the search for Minx.
“We were blown away by the support we received and would like to thank everyone.”
There were numerous searches in the Paekākāriki Hill Rd area, flyer drops and social media exposure.
“Expenses were mounting when we realised we were in for the long haul.
“We set up a Givealittle appeal to help defray the costs of printing flyers, additional feeding stations, SD cards for trail cams, care and support of other cats we caught, as well as reimbursing our volunteers for their petrol.”
The days dragged on and Hannah started to despair thinking she would never see Minx again.
But in late July Hannah received a phone call saying someone had Minx.
Minx had wandered into a couple’s garden in Paekākāriki about a month earlier, and they had started feeding him, unaware of the search.
Minx was nervous and skittish but soon plucked up the courage to venture into their Paekakariki house and sleep on their bed.
“Then, by chance, they saw a three-month-old Facebook post and realised the wild cat was actually Minx.”
Minx, who hadn’t lost any weight, was soon back at his Paraparaumu home and reunited with his relieved family
“That first day I put him in the bathroom to decompress and then opened the door and he strutted down the hallway and onto my lap.”
Not knowing who had catnapped Minx, and fearing he might be targeted again, it was decided to keep him inside.
He wasn’t too keen on that so the family built a catio on the side of their house which gives him an ideal outside space but is confined for his safety.
“He loves it.”
Minx’s story caught the attention of Waikanae author Linda Deane who has written various stories about cats with proceeds from her books going to cat charities.
Her latest story features in the children’s book called Minx is Missing.
“It’s meant to help parents and teachers of young children to open up conversations about bullying,” Deane said.
Moreover, Walker said Minx’s experience was a good lesson.
“Minx isn’t a bully – he’s just a big, boisterous cat with healthy self-esteem.
“By contrast, the people who took and dumped him exhibited not only bullying, but cowardly behaviour.
“If Minx had made their cat feel threatened, a simple word to us would have been enough for us to remedy the situation.
“With this simple children’s story we hope to encourage youngsters to reflect on their own behaviour.
“More often than not children seen as bullies are indeed well-meaning but have not been sensitised about how their behaviour affects others.
“If the people who stole Minx had had this childhood foundation, they might not have trapped and dumped him so cruelly.
“We are sympathetic to children and adults who are victims of bullying, and we hope that Minx’s story might help to change the outlook of children who aren’t aware of their own strength and the adverse effects of their assertiveness.”
Proceeds from the book will be going to Feline Fix charity based in Paraparaumu.
Feline Fix founder Annette Buckley said the charity was “absolutely delighted” to be the recipient of the book profits.
“Desexing is the key to preventing the unnecessary breeding of kittens.
“Rescue organisations all around the country struggle with the surge of kitten numbers year in, year out, but for some, the message doesn’t get through.
“We have assisted in desexing over 400 animals and aim to do more.
“All this costs money.”
To order a copy simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com