Family reunited with missing Ipswich cat FOUR years after he disappeared
She may have had to wait until just after Christmas Day, but Suffolk schoolgirl Olivia Mayhew received the best gift possible this week as her beloved cat Charlie finally returned home – after going missing more than four years ago.
Charlie, now six years old, went missing from the home of Olivia, now 11, and mum Bex, now 35, in April 2011, when they lived in Sandpiper Road, Ipswich.
The young black and white short-haired domestic cat disappeared alongside brother Thomas for a number of days that April, before both of them returned several days later.
But it was heartbreak all over again when just a week later Charlie disappeared again.
Now more than four and a half years after his disappearance, a retired couple believed to live in Fitzwilliam Close around half a mile away encountered Charlie, who had been visiting their garden for a week.
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The pair took the moggie to the Highcliff Veterinary Practice in Ellenbrook Road, where a microchip scan revealed Miss Mayhew and Olivia as the owners. Olivia and Charlie were reunited on Tuesday.
“I was in complete and utter shock,” Miss Mayhew, now of Dawnbrook Close, said. “Just telling the children and seeing their reaction was remarkable, and not really believing it.
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“We always knew he was alive but we had lost hope a little bit, so it’s just amazing he turned up, and especially this time of year.”
Charlie returned home unhurt and is now settling back into the family home enjoying cuddles with brother Thomas like no time has passed at all.
“He is absolutely fine, and it is clear he has been well looked after with his coat in really good condition,” Miss Mayhew added.
Charlie has been adjusting to his new surroundings in Dawnbrook Close, and even getting to know his extended family, after Miss Mayhew gave birth to two more children – two-year-old Luca and Theo, four – and took in two more cats – two-year-old Sylvie and six-month-old kitten Tiddles – while Charlie was away.
She said: “He has settled in really well with the other cats and been cuddled up to his brother – hopefully they will have a lovely time together again.”
But the family is well aware that the reason they have been able to be reunited with their beloved Charlie is down to his microchip, and are now urging other pet owners to make sure they microchip their animals.
“It just shows how the small price you pay for getting your cat chipped is worth it when they return home,” Miss Mayhew added.
“We would never have got him back otherwise. I would just encourage everyone to get their pets chipped.”