Pet detectives called in to find missing Norwich cat

A Norwich woman is so desperate to find her beloved pet that she has called in the experts, a search team from 220 miles away at a cost of hundreds of pounds.

Leila Bidwell's three-year-old black and white cat Ricky went missing on Monday, April 11 after a move of house.

The 26-year-old and her pet moved from Gertrude Road in the Mousehold Heath area to Santolina Close in Costessey in February, keeping the animal housebound for six weeks to get it used to its new surroundings.

But not long after being let out to find its way around the neighbourhood, the cat has gone missing.

Miss Bidwell has searched around both areas with no luck, so called in Animal Search UK, an expert pet rescue team based in Herefordshire, at great expense to herself to try to find Ricky.

The team arrived in Costessey yesterday afternoon and set about distributing 'missing' posters and sniffing out clues about the missing cat's whereabouts.

The cost of calling in the experts is fully justified to Miss Bidwell though, as she said: 'I love him to bits so it is quite expensive, with the travel costs involved, but when it is something as important as your pet you don't care how much it will cost.

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'He's a rescued cat from the RSPCA and he is incredibly timid, so I don't think someone would have picked him up because they wouldn't get close to him.

'He's a mummy's cat, he never ventures very far and always follows me around the house.'

Animal Search UK's team of pet detectives, led by Tom Watkins, who has more than 18 years of investigation experience as a police officer, come equipped with walkie-talkies, rescue traps, torches and police-style patrol vehicles.

The company launched 12 years ago and has as many as 800 visitors a day to its website, where people scan lost-and-found databases in the hope of being reunited with their missing pets.

Mr Watkins explained: 'Most missing pets are found within a few miles of home – the challenge faced by owners, is making sure that as many people as possible know that their pet has gone missing, and encouraging them to be vigilant in keeping an eye out for them.

'Ricky is a very timid rescue cat and has only just moved to this neighbourhood with his family. Because he is unfamiliar with this area, he may have wandered and become disorientated. We would urge residents to keep an eye out for him.'

Are you searching for something important? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email