CHARLIE the cat went for a walk more than six years ago – and never came back.
His owners Jo and Ade Haigh thought they had lost their beloved nine-year-old black and white pet.
But when Jo was out for a walk in Beresford Road, Stubbington last week, she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw a cat that looked just like her missing moggie.
Jo took him to Stubbington Ark animal shelter, where she works as a receptionist, and they tested him for a microchip which soon revealed his true identity.
Jo, 34, said: ‘I was out on a walk with my sister and mum to look at a property she’s interested in.
‘It’s close to the house where we lived when Charlie went missing, and if it wasn’t for this bungalow, we wouldn’t have been around there.
‘We saw this cat on a wall and I was immediately 99.9 per cent sure it was Charlie.
‘We went and spoke to the man at that house and he told me he’d been feeding this cat for about two and a half years.’
Charlie, now 16, is settling in back at the Haighs’ home in Sycamore Close in Titchfield Common along with their three other cats and three dogs.
Jo added: ‘I was shocked to start with that I had even come across him.
‘We had always been left wondering what had happened to him.
‘When he went missing we did all the usual things, going out looking, posting leaflets, contacting vets and obviously though my work as well, but there was nothing.
‘We had had Charlie since he was seven weeks old and he’s always been quite a friendly cat.
‘When we lived in Stubbington he would often go down to the nearby stables where they would feed him.
‘He’s eating and using his litter tray and seems quite content, and slowly getting back into it.
‘We haven’t let him out again so far. We will eventually, but I don’t know when I’ll be brave enough.’
Stubbington Ark, in Ranvilles Lane in Stubbington, offers microchipping at £12 a pet. Call 01329 667541 for details.
Each microchip has a unique number and is the size of a grain of rice. It is put in by injection between the shoulder blades.