A Sydney woman says she is “upset beyond words” after a Bondi vet clinic gave her cat to another owner who then let her pet go.
Katie Matthews, who is currently overseas, took to Facebook to share her distress.
“Bondi Junction Vets (Ebley Street) have lost my cat!” she wrote on Monday.
“I’m in the UK so this is just a nightmare and I’m so upset.
“We trusted Ebley Street to take care of Tara. We feel so let down.”
Ms Matthews says her cat was let outside in Castlefield Street in Bondi on Sunday night, an almost 3km journey from her Queens Park home.
Describing her pet as friendly but “afraid of strangers,” she's been left fearing the worst.
'Of all stupid things, they let her out'
Explaining what went wrong, Ms Matthews shared a WhatsApp message from the vet in her Facebook post.
“I’m sorry to have to message you this way,” Dr Julia from Bondi Junction Vets wrote.
“Last night one of our staff accidentally discharged Tara instead of a cat called Lara to a home in Bondi.
“They were both tortoiseshell and the person who picked her up was the grandmother and didn’t know what her cat looked like.
“She took Tara home and the neighbour came on and said that it wasn’t their cat and then of all stupid things, they let her out.”
The vet went on to say that they were doing everything they could to find Ms Matthews’ cat, and would put up posters and let the council and all vets know.
“I can’t believe it could have happened and staff will be appropriately trained,” she added.
“I cannot apologise enough and we are all really distressed as I imagine you will be.”
Social media outrage
Ms Matthews’ Facebook post has since received more than 120 comments from outraged residents.
“I hope the vets have someone searching the streets for your cat 24/7 or are paying the bill for you to hire someone to do that,” someone said.
“They had a duty of care and were negligent,” another added.
Others were quick to defend the vet, saying it was an “honest mistake” and “clearly an accident.”
“The person not returning the cat to exchange for her own has me completely baffled,” one woman wrote. “But to deliberately and wilfully release the cat, that clearly belonged to someone, is simply astonishing.”
“Seriously giving the wrong cat to the wrong person is super bad, but the person letting her go is criminal, beyond criminal,” another person said.
With Ms Matthews still overseas, her post has sparked a public search for her cat, with at least a dozen locals taking to the streets to help.
On Tuesday, Yahoo News Australia reached out to Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital for comment however the call was not returned at the time of publishing.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.