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Sydney woman left reeling after Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital gives her cat to the wrong owner – and goes missing


A Sydney woman has been left reeling after her beloved cat went missing after a Bondi vet clinic accidentally gave it to the wrong owner.

Pet owner Katie Matthews revealed the distressing incident in a Facebook post on July 18, explaining that Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital had “lost” her cat, Tara, after an unfortunate turn of events.

Watch: See missing cat Tara in the video above

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In a message to Matthews, a vet at the clinic admitted that a staff member had confused Tara with another cat named Lara, that had similar physical traits.

When a relative of Lara’s owner came to collect the cat, she didn’t realize that it was the wrong cat and took it to the owner’s Bondi home.

However when a neighbor realized that the relative had brought home the wrong cat, they released the cat into the street instead of returning it to the clinic.

Tara went missing after a Bondi vet accidentally gave it to the wrong owner. Credit: Facebook

Now a huge search is underground for Tara, who is still missing after two days.

In her Facebook post, Matthews shared the confronting text message she received from Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital about Tara.

“I’m sorry to have to message you this way. Last night one of our staff accidentally discharged Tara instead of a cat called Lara to a home in Bondi,” the vet wrote in the text.

“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 neighbor came on and said that it wasn’t their cat and then of all stupid things, they let her out.

“I’m so sorry to have to let you know this. We are doing everything we can to find her.

“We have her chip. We will put up posters everywhere and let council and all vets know.

The cat owner received this message from a vet at Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital. Credit: Facebook

“I can’t believe it could have happened and staff will be appropriately trained. I cannot apologize enough and we are all really distressed as I imagine you will be.”

In a statement to 7NEWS.com.au, a Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital spokesperson described the incident as a “terrible mistake” and said there were “no excuses”.

“This was a human error,” the spokesperson said.

“The staff member made a terrible mistake with two cats with similar names and colouring. The staff member had been well-trained and there are no excuses.

“The person picking up the cat did not know the cat and when a door was accidentally opened when they got it home the cat Tara ran away.

“We have signs up, are searching, have notified all the councils and other local vets. She is marked missing in the pet registry.

“Cats get frightened and go to ground. We are very hopeful of finding her from her in the next day or so. It is an awful series of events and we know how precious she is.”

A desperate search is currently underway to find Tara. Credit: Facebook

Since Matthew shared her story on Facebook, scores of users and lost pet groups have shared her story in the hope of finding Tara.

The social media coverage has also resulted in workers at the Bondi clinic being targeted by angry pet lovers.

The vet spokesperson called for calm in response, saying that such behavior was not helping the matter.

“I would like to add that abuse of staff at the vet hospital does not help us find Tara,” the spokesperson said.

Help find Tare

In her Facebook post, Matthews said Tara was let out in Castlefield Street, Bondi.

Sharing photos of her missing cat, he wrote: “Please can anyone let me know if they see Tara.

“She is gray with a ginger splodge on her face. Ella she can be friendly but she is afraid of strangers.

“Her necklace is now different – it has her name ‘Tara’ in diamonds and a round silver tag that says ‘my name is Tara.”

The owner added that both she and her father are currently on holidays and unable to look for Tara themselves, adding to the distress.

If you have seen Tara, please contact Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital on (02) 9389 8411.

Cats will soon be forbidden to go outside off-leash.

Cats will soon be forbidden to go outside off-leash.

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