Missing cat reunited with owner after 12 years

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Michelle urged pet owners to never give up hope if they go missing -Credit:No credit

A cat who has been missing for 12 years has been reunited with his owner. Finn the cat disappeared from his home in Barnstaple, Devon in 2011, after going out as usual one evening.

Owner Michelle Watkin searched for days on end, hanging posters and reporting him missing to vets and microchippers Petlog.

"Finn went out as usual one evening, but disappeared without trace," said Michelle.

"I put up lost pet posters and leaflets through doors, reported him missing to local vets, walked the streets looking for him and reported him missing to Petlog, who he is chipped with.

"I got Finn as an eight-week-old kitten and his disappearance was devastating and traumatic. There were no sightings and I feared the worst."

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But 12 years later, Michelle received a phone call from her vet - saying they had found a microchipped cat just two miles away.

The chip was scanned, and Michelle's details appeared - Finn had been found, and within the hour, Michelle had brought him home.

"I'm so happy to have him back," said Michelle.

"He's become semi-feral due to, we think, living rough, but had been being fed by someone.

"He's slowly settling back home and I'm gaining his trust! It's going to take time but I'm just happy he's home, after all this time."

"Please get your pets microchipped and ensure your contact details are kept up to date.

"If you find a lost or seemingly stray cat, immediately try and get them checked for a chip.

"If your pet is missing report it to your microchip database, local vets, and use social media. Above all, never give up hope."

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, which manages Petlog, said: "We're so pleased that Finn was found safely and could be reunited with his family, after all this time, because of his microchip.

"Sadly not all pets are so lucky. Microchipping gives owners the best chance of being reunited with their pet if they go missing, but it is only effective if your contact details are up to date.

"Cat owners in England should also be aware that they have until 10 June 2024 to microchip their cat, to comply with new laws.

"Amid the trauma and heartbreak of losing a pet, in the future owners could also face fines if their cats are not microchipped so it is really important not to leave this until the last minute."

A microchip is the size of a grain of rice which is inserted under the skin at the back of an animal's neck.

It permanently identifies pets and connects them with an owner's contact details, which are held on a database, like Petlog, enabling vets, local authorities and animal charities to scan the chip and match it to the owner's details to reunite stolen, lost and found pets.

Currently, it is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. From 10 June 2024, pet cats in England must be microchipped.