No place like Wainui ‘home’ for Ashram

A cat who went back . . . twice

A cat who went back . . . twice

THE AMAZING DIRECTIONAL POWER OF CATS: If cats could talk Ashram would have quite the tale to tell. Ashram is seated with his former "owners" Daisy McInteer, 7, Evie McInteer, 10, and Tilly McInteer, 4. He now resides at their grandma Maire Overbye's home after a few risky missions back to his old home in Wainui. Picture by Liam Clayton

This is a tale about a determined cat who walked more than five kilometres across suburbs and a state highway, to get back to his former Wainui home . . . not once but twice. It’s a remarkable story because Ashram — a nine-year-old ginger male who grew up in the salty air of Wainui — found his way back after not living there for a year and being taken to his new home by car.

Last year Ashram’s “owners”, Lauren Muir and Jason McInteer, moved their growing family from Wainui into town. They took their two cats with them by car.

“Ashram was very happy here for a good year. He loved it here, loved it,” said Lauren. “It was the big dog that pushed him over the edge.”

That “big dog” was Mario — a 45-kilogram mastiff cross rescued from the Kawerau SPCA and added to the family in May. Mario had been there for only a month when Ashram decided to take matters into his own paws.

When he did not show up for breakfast one morning, or for dinner that night, Lauren suspected Ashram had headed east, back to Wainui.

“I’ve heard a million cat stories about cats going back to their homes,” she said.

The family lived at Wainui for 10 years. Ashram was born in a wardrobe and spent his kitten-hood on the dunes. Sure enough, one week later, Ashram turned up at his old home more than five kilometres away.

The woman now living there said Ashram went straight to the back door and began to meow and scratch. When she ignored him, he went and sat up on the water tank, like he used to, and stared at her through the kitchen window. That was when she knew something was up.

Luckily the neighbour on the other side recognised Ashram and rang Jason, who went out to pick him up. But within 48 hours of being home, Lauren and Jason knew something was up again.

“He gave both of us backward glances. We both felt he was going again and had given us our own goodbye.”

Sure enough, by morning he was gone but this time it was less than two days before he was back scratching and meowing at his old Wainui back door. When Jason picked him up the second time they decided to resettle him at Lauren’s mum’s home, which is pet-free.

As king of the castle, Ashram had it all laid on — his own seat by the fire and a “smorgasbord” of cat treats to pick from. For a week he seemed very happy but then he started to eat and eat and eat. He ate solidly for two days.

New “owner” Maire Overbye said Ashram absolutely stuffed himself and, sure enough, by the very next morning he was gone again.

For five days the family waited. Was Ashram checking out the new neighbourhood? Or was he heading back to Wainui for a third time? This time with two bridges to cross.

On day five he was back. Back sitting outside Mrs Overbye’s door, that is, like nothing had happened.

No one knows where he went but he seems decidedly content with his new abode . . . and while he can’t talk, he can certainly purr. Mrs Overbye now needs ear plugs to get to sleep with Ashram roaring so loudly on her bed at night.

This is a tale about a determined cat who walked more than five kilometres across suburbs and a state highway, to get back to his former Wainui home . . . not once but twice. It’s a remarkable story because Ashram — a nine-year-old ginger male who grew up in the salty air of Wainui — found his way back after not living there for a year and being taken to his new home by car.

Last year Ashram’s “owners”, Lauren Muir and Jason McInteer, moved their growing family from Wainui into town. They took their two cats with them by car.

“Ashram was very happy here for a good year. He loved it here, loved it,” said Lauren. “It was the big dog that pushed him over the edge.”

That “big dog” was Mario — a 45-kilogram mastiff cross rescued from the Kawerau SPCA and added to the family in May. Mario had been there for only a month when Ashram decided to take matters into his own paws.

When he did not show up for breakfast one morning, or for dinner that night, Lauren suspected Ashram had headed east, back to Wainui.

“I’ve heard a million cat stories about cats going back to their homes,” she said.

The family lived at Wainui for 10 years. Ashram was born in a wardrobe and spent his kitten-hood on the dunes. Sure enough, one week later, Ashram turned up at his old home more than five kilometres away.

The woman now living there said Ashram went straight to the back door and began to meow and scratch. When she ignored him, he went and sat up on the water tank, like he used to, and stared at her through the kitchen window. That was when she knew something was up.

Luckily the neighbour on the other side recognised Ashram and rang Jason, who went out to pick him up. But within 48 hours of being home, Lauren and Jason knew something was up again.

“He gave both of us backward glances. We both felt he was going again and had given us our own goodbye.”

Sure enough, by morning he was gone but this time it was less than two days before he was back scratching and meowing at his old Wainui back door. When Jason picked him up the second time they decided to resettle him at Lauren’s mum’s home, which is pet-free.

As king of the castle, Ashram had it all laid on — his own seat by the fire and a “smorgasbord” of cat treats to pick from. For a week he seemed very happy but then he started to eat and eat and eat. He ate solidly for two days.

New “owner” Maire Overbye said Ashram absolutely stuffed himself and, sure enough, by the very next morning he was gone again.

For five days the family waited. Was Ashram checking out the new neighbourhood? Or was he heading back to Wainui for a third time? This time with two bridges to cross.

On day five he was back. Back sitting outside Mrs Overbye’s door, that is, like nothing had happened.

No one knows where he went but he seems decidedly content with his new abode . . . and while he can’t talk, he can certainly purr. Mrs Overbye now needs ear plugs to get to sleep with Ashram roaring so loudly on her bed at night.

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