AFTER three weeks of searching, a Southsea man has been reunited with his beloved cat – which had travelled 15 miles to Lee-on-the-Solent.
Short-haired exotic house cat Horace is thought to have escaped when the front door was left ajar one night, before hitchhiking in his owner’s car to Gosport.
Owner Colin King said: 'Normally when I come down for breakfast, he is there. He wasn’t there and I thought it was strange but I didn’t worry because I didn't know he had gone out at that stage.
‘I normally don’t have the car close to the house. I suppose it must have had some smell of me on it which attracted him.’
Tired, hungry and dehydrated, 11-year-old Horace was found three weeks later in the grounds of Lee-on-the-Solent Infant School covered in an oily substance.
Angela Clayton, senior administration assistant, said: ‘We were all so delighted that his owner was found, and the children were thrilled to know the little lost cat was back at home.’
A relieved Colin said: ‘Fortunately, he’s microchipped, so when staff at the school found him, they phoned Cats Protection's Gosport Town Branch who scanned for his microchip and contacted me. It was fantastic to see him, and he seemed very pleased to get back home after his adventure.
‘I took him for a check-up with the vet, who said the oil probably came from a car, so I think he must have climbed under the bonnet somehow to keep warm before he was driven away.
‘Whatever happened, he’s an old boy who is clearly very happy to get back to his creature comforts. I think his adventuring days are behind him now. Nobody is more relieved than me.’
Although Horace has previously been on one other adventure in a car engine for a few days, he's really more of a homebody, spending time with Colin’s other cats Monkey and Tiggy.
Colin said: ‘He doesn't move very far from my side, close enough to pat me on the head every now and then. He’s very affectionate.’
As part of National Microchipping Month in June, Cats Protection has renewed calls for a change in the law to ensure that all owned cats, like dogs, are microchipped.