IMAGINE coming home from a holiday only to find the cat you've owned for eight years ran away and was re-homed to another family more than 200km away.
This is the heartbreaking reality for one Dalby family, who have taken to social media this week pleading with the adopted owners to return their beloved Billy.
"Some people might just think it's just a cat but we've had him for over eight years so he's been a part of our lives for a long time - he's part of the family," Natalie Williams said.
Ms Williams was animal sitting for her parents while they were on holidays when Billy was picked up by the pound.
"Billy used to get a bit funny when Mum and Dad would go away, he'd sulk a bit and he'd come and get his food when he wanted it and so I hadn't really noticed that he hadn't been home," she said.
"Mum got home and he still wasn't back and that's when she got really concerned because normally when they come home he comes home.
"(Mum) went straight to the pound on Monday morning and found out he had been re-homed to someone in Texas."
Billy was not registered or microchipped so when he was impounded on June 28, the council was unable to contact the Williams family and in accordance with standard procedures Billy was then re-homed on July 4.
Ms Williams said the family was devastated by the loss of Billy and was urging the new family to reconsider their offer of compensation in exchange for their "baby" back.
"The council did get a hold of the family and they're not willing to give him back and Mum is just trying to put the plea out there again to get them to reconsider," Ms Williams said.
"First we want to thank them, they did save him from being euthanised but also to reconsider - we understand if he was neglected that they'd like to keep him but he's not, he's so loved - we just want our cat back, he's part of the family.
"I'm just hoping to see the good nature in these people, there are so many other cats out there that don't have the opportunity for a home who aren't loved and are neglected, it just doesn't make sense to me." The Williams family will continue their mission, unable to bear the thought of never getting him back.