It’s always heartbreaking when pets go missing, but it’s important to not lose hope. Sometimes pets return to us when we least expect them, months or even years after they disappeared.
Recently, one family got a true “Christmas miracle” after reuniting with their long-lost cat — a whopping 11 years after he first went missing!
Toby the cat went missing from his home way back in 2012. His owners, the Allan family of Nuneaton, England, presumed their cat had died as they years went by.
But recently, a stray cat was found in Bedworth, and the woman who had been caring for the stray contacted the UK cat welfare charity Cats Protection, according to a release from the organization.
Though the woman thought the cat was a pregnant female, it was actually a male — and had a microchip. They scanned the chip, revealing that the stray cat had a family he hadn’t seen in over a decade.
The Allan family were stunned to learn that their long-lost cat Toby, now 14 years old, was still alive. “It’s like a Christmas miracle,” owner Justine Allan told the PA news agency, per The independent.
So much time has passed since Toby first went missing: Justine’s son Charlie, who adopted Charlie from the Cats Protection League when he was 12, is now 23 years old, and couldn’t wait to reunite with his old friend.
“I don’t think Charlie’s slept all night, he’s really in shock,” Justine said. “He’s been in and out, in and out and looking after him.”
Cats Protection quickly made plans to reunite Toby with his family, who had moved five miles to Nuneaton in the intervening years. A volunteer named Lorraine “went above and beyond” to make the reunion possible.
Cats Protection says the story shows the importance of getting your pets microchipped, which makes unlikely reunions like this possible even after more than a decade.
“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,” said Madison Rogers, Cats Protection’s head of advocacy.
“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,” she added. “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.”
Toby is now home at last, and his family is looking forward to having him home for the holidays and enjoying whatever time they have together. “We got him as soon as we could because it just feels like he’s ageing, and he’s so lovely and so friendly,” Justine told PA. “It’s great, what’s not to like, we’ve got him back.”
We’re so glad Toby is finally home after all these years! Please share this amazing news if you love cats 😻❤️