NEW ZEALAND – Over the past few years, Marty Lloyd’s cat Gypsy has been pretty much a constant fixture at Masterton’s Hood Aerodrome.
However, her days of prowling around the aerodrome’s low, flat fields and scampering between airplanes almost came to an end on one cold, gray morning in late August.
Gypsy had disappeared.
Lloyd, who operates skydiving company Skydive Wellington, just seemed to know that something was wrong when he pulled up at the aerodrome and Gypsy didn’t come trotting out to meet him.
“Normally she comes running up to the car as soon as I turn up,” he stated. “But this time she wasn’t there.”
Lloyd immediately began to search the aerodrome. When nothing turned up he started looking in boxes, containers, and hangars. He put up posters in shop windows around town and created posts online.
As the hours eventually turned into some weeks, though, there was still no sign of his beloved cat.
Weeks later, Lloyd was sitting at the aerodrome’s bar when an Eketahuna number flashed up on his telephone.
“Hi,” the voice on the other end stated. “I think I’ve found your cat.”
“I’ll be there within the hour,” Lloyd responded.
In thick, freezing rain, he hot-footed it to Eketahuna, which is a tiny town 24 miles north of Masterton.
He didn’t have his hopes up – how, after all, could any cat make it all the way to Eketahuna?
However, as soon as he wandered into Jim and Alison Taylor’s living room he broke into a huge smile. There, lying in front of the fire, was Gypsy.
It turned out that Gypsy had somehow ambled up to the couple’s front door a few days earlier. When they saw a sign in a shop window, they put two and two together.
“I was simply elated,” Lloyd stated. “I couldn’t believe it. (The Taylors) are wonderful people.”
He’s still not sure exactly how Gypsy ended up so far away, although given her perfect health she more than likely rode there in someone’s car.
“She’s an inquisitive cat,” he stated. “She often hangs around the parking lot because people feed her, so maybe she was coaxed into somebody’s car that way. Who knows.”
Lloyd wonders if someone had somehow mistaken her for a valuable Maine Coon, which the fluffy cat resembles. Either way, she made her escape but is now happily back patrolling the aerodrome.
“She’s a very special cat,” Lloyd concluded. “There’s no doubt about it.”