WHEN Tyler the cat went missing three years ago, his owners were distraught – they thought they had seen the last of their beloved feline friend.
Little did the Tweedale family know, but their cat Tyler was made of strong stuff and he had set about making his way across Portsmouth on his own adventure.
Tyler turned up in Lumsden Road, Eastney – more than four miles away from his original family home in Connaught Road, North End.
His owners Paul and Sarah Tweedale were shocked but delighted to find out that Tyler was alive and well.
Mr Tweedale said: ‘It was a bit of a shock, after three years you don’t expect that phone call.
‘It is incredible. We thought the worst when he didn’t come home. We thought he had been killed.’
Tyler was a year old when he went walkabout in September 2011. The family tried to find him, but gave up hope when they heard nothing.
They even went on to buy two new cats, fearing that Tyler would never return.
But three years later charity Cats Protection stepped in.
Concerned Eastney residents called in the Portsmouth branch of the charity, which works to look after cats, when they spotted Tyler living on land near the Hayling Island ferry pontoon.
Volunteer Ray Chalk scanned Tyler for a microchip – a small electronic chip that is inserted under the cat’s skin between the shoulder blades that stores data – which brought up the Tweedales’ details and phone number.
Mr Chalk, 66, said he was amazed when the family told him how long Tyler had been missing for and how far he had travelled.
He said: ‘I contacted the owners and much to my surprise he said “this cat’s been missing for three years!”.
‘He must’ve gone right through town and gone past so much danger, it’s a surprise that he made it.’
Mr Chalk, of Chatsworth Avenue, Cosham, said that microchipping was the best way of reuniting families with their cats and he stressed the importance of the service, which can be done at a vets for around £20.
He said: ‘As a general rule, I would say to get all cats microchipped. It is particularly important for unneutered males as they go walk about looking for the girls and if they go too far, they can lose their way.
‘Tyler was looking very ragged when we got to him, I’m pleased that he’s home safe.’
Tyler is now settling back in to his home in North End, although he still has a bit of a wild side.
Mr Tweedale said: ‘We don’t know why, how or where he has been. I’m not sure if he even remembers us.
‘He’s a still a bit wild, but he’s starting to settle down.
‘At least we know that microchipping definitely works.’