Inner West Independent

Come Home Fonzi…

2-year-old Burmese Fonzi has been missing since May. Photo: Aston Brown.

By ASTON BROWN

The fate of Glebe’s renowned missing cat remains a mystery despite his family and the community’s best efforts.

On May 29 – a Saturday morning – Fonzi was let outside to go to the toilet. Instead of returning for breakfast, the 2-year-old Burmese cat vanished without a trace.

Local bottle shop owner Tim Smith displays a poster of Fonzi at the counter. Photo: Aston Brown.

“It’s awful, I’ve never lost an animal, it’s a very cruel limbo to be in and the sadness doesn’t dissipate, I’ve realised,” Fonzi’s owner Brigitte Oberlander told the Independent.

Oberlander has put up over 500 posters since the cat’s disappearance and has spent weeks searching the local area with her neighbour Angela Lober.

More than three months on, Fonzi’s family of four remain no closer to finding answers.

The community has also been on the lookout, with hundreds of locals offering advice and sharing hopeful stories.

“My young children are very worried for his welfare after seeing the signs, and always look out for him on our daily walks,” local Dani Elizabeth commented on Facebook page Glebe Locals.

There have been over 100 sightings of Fonzi, but all have proved to be a case of mistaken identity.

“This has made me feel very embedded and connected to the community because the response has just been so lovely and caring,” Oberlander said.

The corner of Mansfield and Boyce St, Glebe, where Fonzi is sighted most. It’s also close by to where Ralphie lives, another local Burmese cat. Photo: Aston Brown.

Pet detective and owner of Arthur & Co. Pet Concierge, Anne-Marie has dedicated her life to reuniting pets with their owners. She says the chances of finding Fonzi are slim, but it is still possible.

“Statistically, three and a half weeks is the outer limit in terms of a rule of cats coming home … there are exceptions, there are miracle cases, but then there’s the rule,” Anne-Marie told the Independent.

Unhappy Days

Local speculation ranges from a car accident to a “catnapper”. Anne-Marie is hopeful for Fonzi’s return but said it’s most likely he is deceased or stolen.

Creator of community Facebook group Annandale 2038, David Wallace is inundated by posts about missing cats and wonders if something sinister may be at play.

“I don’t know if I’ve noticed an uptick, but I’ve noticed a constant amount of cats missing, a lot, it makes me think, I wonder if something is going on,” Wallace told the Independent

“I’m not a great cat lover, but I would never hurt one, I know there are people out there who have the potential and it just crosses my mind that there are so many cats going missing.”

Brigitte Oberlander keeps a candle burning for Fonzi. Photo: Brigitte Oberlander.

Oberlander hopes that her family’s beloved cat will one day return home.

“I stay very hopeful, but I feel as though my family are a bit resigned to the reality of the situation,” Oberlander said.

“I keep a candle burning for him and leave his bed outside…I don’t know at what point I’ll stop doing that.”

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