A MISSING cat has been reunited with his stunned owner – eight years after disappearing.
Elizabeth Shaw, from Woodburn, had lost all hope of seeing her prized puss Thomas again after he disappeared without a trace in 2005.
And she was left stunned to find he had been handed in to a local cat home last Thursday – less than a mile from her house.
The miracle moggy had apparently been living in nearby woodland, skinny and flea-ridden, until four months ago when he was befriended and taken in by a cat owner.
Far from being the cat that got the cream however, Thomas found himself at odds with his new owner’s cats and alas soon once again he was on the move.
He was handed in to Lothian Cat Rescue (LCR), which upon checking his microchip received a hit for an E Shaw in Dalkeith.
And after a shocked Elizabeth saw a Facebook post about the animal, Thomas the prodigal cat’s eight-year hiatus was finally over.
Mum-of-two Elizabeth, 45, said: “It’s incredible. He’s a little frightened but he’s the old Thomas. I’ve got two other cats over the years and he’s just come back in with an air of ‘Hey, I was here first’.
“It came completely out of the blue, I was looking on the LCR’s Facebook when I saw a post of a cat found belonging to an E Shaw, from Woodburn, Dalkeith. I had given him up as dead only to find he’s been less than a mile away all this time.
“He’s 13 years old now and a lot bigger than when I last had him but he’s the same old cat. He recognised me instantly, he’s been a bit grumpy but I suppose you would be too if you’d been lost for eight years.”
Not much is known about the details of Thomas’ almost decade-long adventure, but he is believed to have lived feral on woodland near Easthouses for several years.
A woman reported him to the LCR but because of his wild nature trapping him would be the only option.
Not wishing to have him undergo this, the good samaritan set about befriending him with scraps of food and treats.
Eventually Thomas trusted the woman enough that she was able to take him in – but winning over her two house cats proved to be a different issue.
Jacci Edwards, a warden with LCR, said the charity rehomes more than 1000 cats a year – but admitted she had never come across a tale such as this.
She said: “The longest I’ve ever heard of a cat being missing and then returning is around a year. You’d love to be able to find out just exactly where he’s been all this time.
“None of us could believe it when Elizabeth showed up and told us he had been missing for more than eight years. It just goes to show never give up on lost pets and get your animals microchipped.”
• MICROCHIPPING your pet gives them the best chance of being identified if lost or stolen.
A tiny microchip is inserted under the animal’s skin, giving them their own unique code.
The pet can be scanned and matched to the owner’s contact details on a national database.
Some cat flaps now only unlock when a pet with a certain microchip tries to enter the home.
What’s Thomas missed?
A LOT has changed in the eight years that Thomas has been missing – although trams still aren’t running.
Whiskas was rebranded in 2010 and became the first UK company to sell sustainable cat food, while last year scientists made the stunning discovery of the Tigrina wild cat in Brazil.
Thomas has also missed seven years of Nationalist rule, but might be relieved to have skipped the many fur-flying catfights the independence debate has brought.
Sadly, he also missed the Lion King at the Playhouse – or did he?