Missing cat comes home just in time for Christmas… after 11 years

Family are over the moon to be reunited with their missing cat just in time for Christmas… 11 years after he disappeared

  • Fugitive tabby Toby disappeared from his home in Nuneaton in 2012 

It’s the purrfect end to an uncertain tail: a tabby who disappeared almost 12 years ago and was presumed dead has come home just in time for Christmas.

Fugitive tabby Toby had disappeared from his home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire in 2012 during a house move – and his owners, the Allan family, had long assumed he wouldn’t be coming back.

But in a miraculous twist, Toby was identified after a local woman phoned her local Cats Protection branch to tell them she had been feeding a little visitor, and to ask if they might check if he was microchipped.

The well-intentioned woman, from Bedworth, thought that Toby was pregnant, and female. While her guesses were wide of the mark, she nevertheless reunited the little runaway with his family after a volunteer came out armed with a microchip scanner.

After scanning his chip and identifying his owner, Cats Protection called up the Allans to ask if they had a missing moggy – not realising that Toby had been on the lam for almost 12 years.

Toby the fugitive tabby from Nuneaton, who has been reunited with his family after almost 12 years on the run

Toby’s owners, the Allan family, had long assumed that he had died after disappearing during a house move. He is pictured here in 2009 before he disappeared

But the moggy is home in time for Christmas after he was identified thanks to his microchip

Toby’s owner Justine Allan said she had long assumed that Toby was dead, as they live on the Long Shoot, a ‘notorious’ A-road in the town.

She said: ‘I never thought in a million years I’d see him again. [My son Charlie] was about 12 when Toby went missing, and he was heartbroken when we realised he probably wasn’t coming back.

‘The Long Shoot is a notoriously busy road, we just assumed the worst had happened and thought he had been run over. 

‘I can’t believe he survived all this time, the odds were stacked against him, but here he is. I just wish he could tell us what happened.’

READ MORE: Cat owners could face £500 fine unless their pets are microchipped before 20 weeks old under new law 

Toby is making himself at home again – but the mischievous mog is being kept under lock and key for a few weeks to make sure he doesn’t disappear again. 

But by all accounts, he’s feline fine – with no suggestion that he has come to any long-term harm.

Ms Allan added: ‘We now have a year-old King Charles Cavalier named Bernie. Toby is a typical cat and couldn’t care less but Bernie is not adjusting quite so well.

‘He doesn’t seem different at all, he’s obviously been cared for and fed by somebody. I never thought in a million years I’d see him again.’

At the very least, the reunion has guaranteed the Allans a happy mew year.

Cats Protection is using Toby’s Christmas miracle to urge owners to ensure their beloved felines are microchipped – in case their own pets disappear in future.

Microchipping will become a compulsory legal requirement in England from June 2024, with those who do not comply facing a £500 fine.

Wendy Harris, coordinator at Cats Protection Coventry, said it was thanks to ‘the power of the microchip’ that Toby had been returned home and was no longer scavenging for food.

Toby back at home – to the delight of his owners, but less so for new household pet Bernie

Madison Rogers, Cats Protection’s head of advocacy, told CoventryLive: ‘It is always wonderful to hear stories like Toby’s where a cat and owner have been reunited thanks to their microchip after so many years apart.

‘We cannot know what happened to Toby in the years before he was scanned but we encourage anybody who finds a cat who they believe to be lost or stray to take them to a vet or animal rescue charity where they can be checked for a microchip.

‘Although this is a wonderful happy ending for Toby, if only he had been found and scanned when he first disappeared, he could have been back with his family all this time. 

‘Luckily Toby’s owner’s details were up to date and his story is a fantastic example of just how important it is to keep details up to date and how quickly a cat can be returned.

‘He may have been missing for 11 years but because of his microchip he was back home within 24 hours of his owners being contacted.’

Toby isn’t the only cat to be reunited with his owners after a long absence thanks to his microchip.

In Australia, a cat named Mozart was found after almost two years on the loose.

And in the summer a Sunderland kitty called Charlie wound up 40 miles from home – after hitching a ride to Northumberland.

Charlie wasn’t microchipped – but his owners promised to get him chipped after he was returned home.

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