Christchurch Cattery in Bournemouth, Dorset had been tasked with looking after Tadeu Vaccari's cat Bruce for 20 nights. Local man Vaccari and his wife then went on holiday on the 31st March this year.
During this time, the family of another cat (called Oscar) that was being looked after by the cattery came to collect their pet. Bruce was in error handed over to the unnamed family. The two cats, according to the BBC looked ‘identical’.
Dawn Pennock who owns the cattery, said: 'It's a very unfortunate case of mistaken identity, to the point where even the customer who collected Bruce didn't notice any differences in markings, behaviour or personality from their own cat, Oscar.'
To make matters worse, shortly after arriving at his new home Bruce disappeared. The cattery was able to return Oscar to his rightful family but the search is still on for the missing two-year-old.
Ms Pennock said she was ‘devastated and truly sorry for the loss of Bruce’.
‘The moment we learned of the mix-up I, along with friends and family, did all we could to locate Bruce and returned Oscar to his owner,’ Pennock told reporters.
Mr Vaccari was informed of the mix-up and of the disappearance of Bruce. When he got back to England he searched everywhere within a two mile radius of his home hoping to find his ‘baby’.
The cattery, which offers boarding for six cats, has since waived the fee for Bruce's boarding.
In a statement published by the BBC the cattery said it had, ‘since reviewed and updated all applicable internal processes to ensure this cannot happen again in future’.
Anyone who spots Bruce – a micro-chipped Maine Coon – has been asked to contact Missing Pets GB via Twitter.