Black-and-white ‘tuxedo’ cat Boo disappeared on October 6 last year, after leaving his family home in The Paddock, Gosport, through the cat flap.
Boo was especially precious to Martin Kingston and partner Alex as he previously belonged to Martin’s mother, who had doted on Boo until she became too ill with dementia to look after him. Boo had consequently moved in to live with Alex and Martin, but two weeks later went missing.
After that, Boo went off the grid until he was spotted catching mice in the car park of The Range in Gunners Way in December last year, but then vanished again until August, when he started wandering into the store.
Store manager Shane Stuart got in touch with Cats Protection’s Gosport branch, and the family has now been made whole again.
Martin said: ‘I can’t thank staff at The Range enough for taking care of Boo. We looked everywhere and offered a reward, but couldn’t find him.
‘When Alex called me in tears to say Boo was back at home sitting next to her, I was so happy; it makes me go cold just to remember it.’
It’s been a difficult year for Martin, as his mother died in August this year.
But having his feline friend back has been a huge light in a dark time for him.
He said: ‘It had been a really awful time for us because Boo disappeared in October 2019, then my mother passed away in August this year, 10 months after Boo went missing. So having Boo back is just amazing.
‘He’s a little bit wilder since he’s been home and always wants to be fed but he’s still the same Boo.
‘When I saw the pictures of him making himself at home in The Range it was typical of him to be so relaxed around people.’
Cats Protection volunteer Carole Rudin said: ‘I spotted Boo watching customers and staff go about their daily business. He was quite happy to say hello, which made it easy to scan him for a microchip.
‘An up-to-date microchip really does give us the best chance of uniting cats and their families once more.’