A missing cat is such a worrying time for any pet owner. Petplan customer, Becky, had almost given up hope when her and her missing cat were finally reunited after six years!
When Becky’s family cat, Mr Tiddles, went missing from their home in Lincoln six years ago, she was baffled. He was a loyal, calm, home-loving pet who never wandered far. He always came home at night and, unlike many cats, he would never even accept offers of food from anyone except his owner.
“He was a cat of habit,” Becky says. “He was always waiting for me when I got up in the morning.”
But one day, Mr Tiddles went out through his cat flap as normal and didn’t come back again. Becky was distraught. She and her friends and family searched for him for months. They stuck missing cat posters up on every lamppost in the neighbourhood, and Becky searched in skips and bins. “He would never leave,” she says, “so I just couldn't figure it out.”
Missing, presumed lost
Not one to get into scrapes, Mr Tiddles had been a much-loved member of the family for seven years. Becky had had him microchipped when she first got him, to be on the safe side. But even though Mr Tiddles was a lost cat with a microchip, finding him proved hard. A few neighbours reported sightings – but if it was him, he was always gone by the time Becky got there. Time passed, and the leads Becky had received about his whereabouts were fast drying up, but there was no further sign of Mr Tiddles.
Resigned to the sad fact that he had gone for good, Becky moved house to another part of the Lincoln area. But she kept the same phone number and, she admits, never completely gave up on him: “I brought his bowl here with me when I moved, in the hope he would come back one day.”
Although remaining hopeful, Becky was realistic. The more time passed, the less likely it seemed that she would ever see Mr Tiddles again. As a Petplan customer, Becky knew she was covered for the theft or permanent loss of her pet. Petplan can also help cover some of the costs of advertising a lost pet and any reward money offered. But his disappearance remained a mystery.
Reunited at last
Then one day, six years later, the phone rang out of the blue. “I had a call from Lincoln Cat Care to say he’d been found! Thankfully I’d never changed my number.” Incredibly, Mr Tiddles had been located close to where he’d lived all those years before, after the rescue centre got a call from someone who had been feeding him on and off in her garden.
Because he was microchipped, Becky was easily traced as his owner, even after all that time. She went directly to the veterinary practice where Mr Tiddles was getting checked out. “Lincoln Cat Care had taken him to a vet, as he had an untreated wound on his face,” she explains. “They also found that he’d taken a bad hit to the head at some point, perhaps in a car accident, which had affected his sight. So when I went to collect him, he was blind!”
Not surprisingly, it was an emotional reunion. “He came straight to me on the vet table and put his head on me,” Becky recalls. “He couldn’t see, but I think he knew it was me. I was just a blubbering mess!”
Why microchipping makes sense
Whatever Mr Tiddles has been up to in those lost six years, it clearly hasn’t all been plain sailing for the tenacious little cat. “I had to rinse his facial wound with salt water three times a day for a month,” says Becky. “You wouldn’t know it now, though – it’s all healed perfectly. Part of his eyesight has even returned!”
As Becky can testify, a lost cat with a microchip stands a much better chance of being reunited with its owner when found. Without the chip, she might never have had her beloved rascal, Mr Tiddles, back with her.
As for where he might have been all that time, Becky says, “I honestly wish I knew! He was found near where we lived when he went missing, so I’m completely baffled. He’s been badly injured a few times, so I dread to think of what’s happened. He’s battered and bruised, but he’s home, at the grand age of 13! And I will spoil this boy rotten for the rest of his life.”
Is your cat the wandering type? Tell us about them on social media using the tag #PethoodStories and we might be able to share your story.