'Quite emotional': Missing cat unites Cape Town and Muswell Hill communities

Vishay Naidoo

Vishay Naidoo's cat Bacchus was found with the support of an international search team - Credit: Vishay Naidoo

A missing Bengal cat has been found after its owner’s South Africa-based sister teamed up with Muswell Hill locals in a seven-month search. 

Vishay Naidoo, 37, who has owned four-year-old Bacchus since it was a kitten, was moving house from Muswell Hill to East Finchley when his cat ran away.

His sister, Tash-Mika, 29, took the lead in the search for Bacchus, despite being based in Cape Town. 

Vishay told the Ham&High: “I couldn’t have expected the overwhelming help and compassion shown by everyone when Bacchus went missing.

“I think I was still in shock for most of our reunion."  

Tash-Mika said: “It was quite emotional. I cannot even begin to describe how overwhelming it was. 

“Complete strangers on the other side of the world were distributing posters and walking all over the area, it was insane." 

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On March 15, five days after Bacchus was last seen, Tash-Mika contacted South Africa-based "animal communicator" Claire Fitzgerald.


South Africa-based animal communicator Claire Fitzgerald helped find the cat. - Credit: Vishay Naidoo

Tash-Mika said Claire told her: “It feels like Bacchus is in an area with some shops and a pub. He smells beer on the people. 

“He enjoyed being self-sufficient but knows it’s time to come home. 

“He knows he is loved and so clever for looking after himself. I ask him to be brave and make his way back to Vishay.”

Tash-Mika then posted on Muswell Hill & Friends Facebook group, and several residents came forward to form the The South Africa / East Finchley Cat Finding Dream Team.

“Vishay has no family in the UK and his cat is his best friend and companion, so it was a deep thing for him to lose Bacchus,” Tash-Mika said.  

Locals scoured the area and Tash-Mika said she received countless photos of cats over the months, which she checked against pictures of Bacchus.

“I literally studied Bacchus, I have photos of him from every angle, from his paws to the stripes on his tail. I know that cat like you wouldn’t believe," she said.


The South Africa / East Finchley Cat Finding Dream Team helped find Bacchus. - Credit: Vishay Naidoo

There were only two confirmed sightings of Bacchus during the search. The first was on the day Vishay had a successful job interview for a marketing role, and the second was on his first day in his new job. 

“Bacchus kept popping up and making beautiful little appearances on these important days in our lives," Tash-Mika said.

Bacchus is now back with Vishay and readapting to his new East Finchley home.   


Bacchus got lost in East Finchley - Credit: Vishay Naidoo