THERE has always been a place for pets in Angus Mackinnon-Little’s home in Worcester. An array of animals including hamsters and rabbits have come and gone during the 30 years he has lived in Park Avenue.

But when Diesel the cat went missing on Tuesday January 20, it hit Angus particularly hard. The seven-year-old neutered black cat was one of two kittens chosen by his late wife Anne, who died suddenly last April, and has a special place in his heart.

Angus explained: “Over the years we have had a range of animals including hamsters and rabbits and then there was a gap. Then Anne said ‘I would like some cats’.

“We had two kittens called Diesel and Daisy. Daisy was killed on the road and we had Diesel for about seven years. She wanted a black cat and she had always got the name Diesel lined up for an animal.”

On the morning of January 20, Angus let Diesel out at 5.45am for his usual stroll around after a night indoors. “His normal routine would be to come back about 8am. Find me and eat and sleep until mid afternoon,” said Angus.

“He did not reappear. I called him, whistled outside the back door and the garden and he would normally come. I would rattle the food box which would normally bring him like a shot. By mid afternoon I knew there was something wrong. He had never done this before.”

In the following two weeks Angus launched a search campaign that would have put the most sophisticated man hunt to shame. “Diesel was my link with Anne in this house. I had to find him and bring him home.”

During those two weeks Angus, a self employed consultant giving careers guidance and developing people in the workplace, put everything else on hold while he devoted every waking hour to finding Diesel.

He conducted his own search of the area several times a day – stopping anyone he met to ask for help. He knocked on people’s door, visited schools to leave posters and flyers, he contacted the Hereford-based specialist lost pet service called Animal Search UK and CatAware which helps to reunite lost cats with their owners.

He put out appeals using the local media including the Worcester News and BBC which used social media and contacted animal behaviourist Vicky Hall. He even used a dowser Joy Lange he knew to help him narrow his search area.

“I was Googling everything about what to do when you have a missing cat. I got in touch with Animal Search UK which is Hereford-based. I sent a picture and they brought a package with posters to the means to attach them to lampposts.

“The BBC got it on social media and within a few days people had seen it on facebook. I wanted to find someone who would know what a cat would be doing out there and I found a cat behaviourist on the internet called Vicky Halls.

“She believed he had been spooked out of his territory, lost his bearings, went into survival mode, created a new territory and was venturing out very cautiously.”

As time went on Angus became more and more concerned for Diesel. The nights and days were extremely cold and he thought he might not survive. But one thing gave him hope that he was still alive – no cat had been injured or killed on the road locally.

“I realised I had to crank up my game,” said Angus. “I concentrated my search within man-made barriers like roads and natural barriers like streams and the river.

“The clock was ticking. Animal Search UK said I should get a positive result in three weeks. My plan was to keep the pressure on for four weeks.”

He said he met and spoke to hundreds of people during his search. “I went out fairly early one morning and stopped a guy and asked him to get in touch if he saw a black cat. He said ‘No problem. I know what it’s like to lose a pet.’

“Everyone was trying to help. All the neighbours knew. People genuinely wanted to help. I knocked on doors. I spoke to hundreds of people over the two weeks Diesel was missing. Dog walkers were the best ones. I talked to the guys sweeping the streets. People took posters into their offices.

“A western Distribution engineer opened up the substation in Park Avenue to check it in case Diesel was locked inside.

“I was cold and I was worried. I had to explore every avenue. After the first week, I thought I had to find another route to this one. I had done the search and followed up every sighting.”

He then decided to get in touch with a dowsing expert he had used 15 years before to help him identify allergies and improve his health. She is Joy Lange, from Daventry, and Angus had done a course with her learning how to dowse with a pendulum last year.

“I telephoned her because I knew she had helped people to find missing things. I sent her a map of the local area and some whiskers from Diesel and she dowsed.

“She got a response that he was between Ombersley Road and Droitwich Road. On day eight I thought I would see if I could get a response using my pendulum. It was responding to the Ombersley Road side of the area.”

While Angus followed up every lead and possible sighting, he was well aware that Diesel was likely to be on the move and even if he was sighted in one place, he could have moved on by the time he got there.

“I was using my pendulum on a regular basis and on Wednesday February 4 he went to the Chasewater area off Northwick Road. “I was getting a strong signal he was in this area.”

Angus went out that night to check the roads in that area and within an hour he was reunited with Diesel, who had gone into the car park of retirement apartments in Eastbank Drive.

“On the day I found him, I was guided to Eastbank Drive with a great result. I can’t explain it and I don’t claim or profess to have skills. All I know is the dowsing helped me bring Diesel home,” said a relieved Angus.

The wandering cat is now safely home and grounded for a month while he recovers from his experience. He has been checked over by Dave Fisher at Brentknoll Vet nary Surgery who found he lost a quarter of his body weight during those cold winter days away from home.

Angus said he wants to thanks everyone who helped him look for Diesel and called in with sightings. “There is a lot of good out there. It could have been a very different outcome.

“My advice is that if you are a pet owner then make sure the animal is chipped and you are registered on Animal Search UK. It is all for free. You just pay for the pack with the posters.”