British expat David Tobias and his wife Dalila Tobias, who is Moroccan-French, with their cat Midnight and dog Alaska. The two pets always sleep side by side. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A British expat in Dubai has spoken of his joy after reuniting with his cat that had gone missing for almost 16 months.

David Tobias and his family were left “heartbroken” when Midnight, a long-hair Persian black cat fondly called Mino, went missing from their home in The Greens community in December 2021.

“Mino loves to go outside and we had never thought twice about it as we live in a ground-floor apartment. He would always come back after a short time,” David said.

But on December 6, 2021, Midnight did not return. David feared Midnight may have been snatched by an illegal breeding gang. “But Mino was neutered and therefore of no use to them. They perhaps found this out and decided to dump him in Deira. We think he must have been left to the streets very soon after he was picked up.”

Midnight at home Image Credit: Supplied

Midnight had been on the streets of Deira for around 12-13 months. In this time, his health had deteriorated.

Desperate search

David recalled how the family had desperately looked for Midnight. “Between December 2021 and June 2022 we were posting in various groups, calling vets and clinics to see if he had been brought in. He was micro-chipped, so we could not understand why he had not been brought in. By the end of June 2023 we had given up hope and presumed he was dead. It was such a heart-breaking moment for the family,” he said.

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Cat rescuer finds Midnight

David said Midnight was first found in December 2022 by a woman named Whimper who took him to a vet. “She called another cat rescuer named Farangis for help as [Midnight] was literally on the verge of death. Farangis arranged with the vet to get subsidised treatment for him and he was in the full time care of the vet for well over a month. I was told that it took five weeks for the vet to get him to a condition where he could be released,” David added.

Farangis told Gulf News that Midnight was found in a malnourished condition. “He was struggling to breathe,” she added.

“Whimper brought him to her home and contacted me for advice. We decided to have the cat sent to the clinic for a consultation and what we found was shocking. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, sinus infection, eye infection, ear mites, ringworm [fungal skin infection]. He was missing a good number of teeth and his whiskers had been cut.”

Moved to a foster home

David said: “Midnight was subsequently moved to a foster home where a lovely lady by the name of Kia took care of him between February 2023 and March 26, 2023 – the day he was returned to us.”

Midnight had a microchip and eventually the clinic that had chipped him was reached and able to respond that they knew who the owners were.

Touched by the miraculous return of Midnight, David has now decided to write an illustrative piece – a children’s story about his misadventure.

Word of advice

David said: “There is no central database of the microchips. The clinics have to email all of the vets across Dubai to see if the chip gets a hit.”

Farangis said: “I think the take-away message of reuniting a missing pet with it’s family is the correct way of using a microchip. We need to responsibly microchip our pets and register them with the Dubai Municipality. The microchip will only be effective if it’s in a database with the families’ updated information. That responsibility falls on the owner. In Midnight’s case, David and [his wife] Dalila had notified their clinic that he was missing or stolen.”