High-tech pet detective raking it in

Lost and found: Sun (left) posing with a pet owner after he helped the man find his cat in Shanghai. — China Daily/ANN

Shanghai: Placing a heat detector, tiny surveillance camera, night vision goggles and a tranquiliser dart in a large rucksack, Sun Jinrong was ready for that night’s assignment – finding the missing loved one of a desperate client.

The target was not a rebellious child or senile senior, but Yuanxiao, a semi-longhair ragdoll cat with a colorpoint coat and striking blue eyes, standing 15cm tall and weighing about 4kg.

After rushing to the client’s home in Shanghai, 38-year-old Sun and his assistant immediately did a sweep of the house’s interior with no luck.

He then headed to the security room to review surveillance footage for clues as to the missing cat’s whereabouts.

Footage from the closed-circuit television camera showed the cat, after sneaking out of the residence, lingered on the doorstep before vanishing into the darkness of the garden.

“When indoor cats escape outdoors, they are displaced into unfamiliar territory, ” Sun had explained.

“They startle easily, even with apparently mild triggers, and at night they usually use the darkness as protection.”

In such an unfamiliar situation, most pet owners panic and don’t know what to do.

Without even a simple flashlight at hand, they use the weak torchlight on their smartphones to look for their cats or dogs.

Most of their efforts were in vain, Sun said.

However, Yuanxiao had a seasoned pet detective on his tail that night. Using night vision goggles, a heat detector, catnip in cages and a camera sensor increased the chances of capturing the cat, Sun said.

Hours of searching and keeping a close watch finally paid off when Sun spotted the cat crouching behind some bushes.

The owner, who was informed right away, managed to approach and grab her cat.

The client effusively thanked Sun and transferred 4,000 yuan (RM2,500) via WeChat to him for his services.

Since his business opened eight years ago, Sun has received hundreds of calls a month from animal lovers across the country asking for help to find their pets.

Business has boomed in recent years as people born in the 1980s and 1990s have fuelled a sharp rise in pet ownership.

With determination, specialist skills and high-tech gear worth tens of thousands of yuan, Sun and his team have reunited more than 1,000 missing pets with their owners since the business began. — China Daily/ANN

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