A woman from Leamington is urging cat owners to get their pets microchipped after she was reunited with her cat after he went missing 13 years ago.
Chris Osborne, who is a co-ordinator at the Mid-Warwickshire branch of the Cats Protection, was reunited with her cat Harry yesterday (Tuesday) after someone took him to a vets to check for a microchip.
Harry went missing from his Leamington home 13 years ago and was found near the town centre.
Chris said: "I was gobsmacked because I have been a co-ordinator for the Mid-Warwickshire branch for 16 years and I have been rescuing cats and reuniting people with their cats and it was amazing because for once it was my cat.
"13 years is just ridiculous. He went missing when he was two.
"When he first went, he was chipped but we never had a report about a dead body. We went leaflet dropping and did posters.
"I had a feeling he was always out there and I would say to myself that I hoped he found a nice home out there.
"He was found near the town centre so he hasn't gone that far. There's quite an amazing tale as well because the lady that found him said Harry has been coming round her house for two to three months. She has two cats and has one of microchipped cat flaps but Harry had learnt to use his claw to lift up the cat flap.
"He has been eating her cat's food and sleeping in her cat's bed.
"I don't know if for 13 years he has been going from home to home or whether he had another 'owner' who was maybe in hospital or passed away so he went out again.
"The lady had put a post on Facebook about Harry and people told her to get him chip checked.
"She had been on holiday and he must have been waiting for her to come back as when she was home he appeared. She then popped to Rainsbrook Vets to see if he was chipped."
Chris was left shocked when she got the call yesterday.
"When I had the call I thought it was a Cats Protection cat and I was trying to think of one called Harry but we didn't have one," said Chris. "Then suddenly I had an epiphany and realised it was my cat from all those years ago and I was shocked.
"It's absolutely incredible. My family thought I was making it up and they couldn't believe it. My oldest son remembers going out to look for him when he went missing. He has been much remembered over the years."
Chris is hoping that her story will encourage people to get their cats chipped and that it will also give hope to people in a similar situation.
"If people have lost their cat they shouldn't give up hope.
"I also want people to see the importance of getting their cats chipped. It normally costs around £15 and if your cat is going to live to 18 that's less than £1 a year.
"People are always reporting their cats missing to us at the Cats Protection and sometimes they have been chipped and sometimes they haven't. The ones that we tend to find more are the ones that are chipped."
For more information about the Mid-Warwickshire Cats Protection click here