Duo find lost cat after four years
A cat which disappeared four years ago has been reunited with its owners for Christmas thanks to microchip technology.
Black cat Colin disappeared in August 2006 shortly after Peter and Maria O'Neill moved to Garstang, Lancashire.
Roaming wild as a feral kitten, it was discovered in the Corus steelworks in Middlesbrough.
But the couple became concerned when it did not return from its latest adventure so they placed a missing advert in their local newspaper. They eventually gave up hope and moved away to Ingleby Barwick, Middlesbrough.
Then last month a member of the public noticed a black cat hanging around her garden in Garstang.
She contacted cat welfare charity Cats Protection which took it to the vet to be scanned for a microchip which was found. It was then traced to the O'Neills, who had updated their address.
Mrs O'Neill said: "I couldn't believe it when I got a call to say Colin had been found. It was really the best Christmas present I could have hoped for.
"When I went to pick Colin up, he was quite nervous and cowering in the corner of a pen. I simply said his name and he instantly recognised me. He bounded up to me and stuck his head under my arm. It was just a magical moment and it left me close to tears!"
Mrs O'Neill added: "We're trying to get him used to his surroundings so, following Cats Protection's advice, we're keeping him in for a few weeks to help him acclimatise to his new home. I'm not sure Colin is happy about it: he always conducts a daily sweep of the house and carefully examines all of the possible exit points!"
Cats Protection is the UK's leading cat welfare charity and helps around 215,000 unwanted cats through a national network of 256 volunteer-run branches and 30 adoption centres.