A HEARTBROKEN cat owner in Ringwood is urging people to make sure they do all they can to help reunite missing animals with their families after her pet went missing and she only found out where he was after he had been killed, over a year later.

Zoe Patterson and her family were surprised to discover their cat Cookie had been found and taken to a vet after being hit by a car.

The grey haired tabby, which was microchipped, had been killed in the accident.

She said: “This news was obviously devastating, but what hurt more was that somebody has obviously been taking care of him all this time without even thinking of taking him to the vets to find his owners.

“He was missed by everybody, especially my brother, as they were inseparable companions from when he was a baby.”

Cookie was very close to Zoe’s three-year-old brother and the news about Cookie sadly came on his birthday.

Cookie went missing shortly after Zoe’s parents moved house.

He had not been wearing a collar when he went missing after he had nearly choked when his collar got caught.

Zoe said: “Please, if a cat finds its way to you, do the right thing and try to trace the owners before deciding to keep it.

“We had posters up, advertised on lost pet sites, and although he had no collar he was microchipped.

“No collar doesn't necessarily mean a stray.

“As a cat owner and cat lover, if a cat should enter your life see if it has a collar and check the name tag.

“If they don’t take it to the local vets and get them scanned, and look at posters around.”

She is also encouraging people to look online and check websites like the National Pet Register and community pages on Facebook.

She said. “Look at every option to try and get the cat back.

“Animals are a part of the family and it is like losing a member of the family when they go missing.”