A Doncaster widow looks set for a purr-fect Christmas after being reunited with her long-lost cat, who was found 75 miles away in Skegness.
Laddo became a much-loved companion to retired NHS worker Sybil Gillatt after the unexpected death of her husband Keith, but the long-haired black cat went missing last November.
She looked for him for days and put up posters, but couldn’t find him and was left feeling lost, but didn’t allow herself to lose hope.
One year on she still kept his bedding, toys and scratching post, before finding out Laddo was being fed and cared for as a stray in a garden near Skegness.
Cat lover Karen Rice said what she thought was a feral cat started to visit her garden in April, who was thin and timid with a messy coat.
She named him Foxglove and got to the stage where she could get close enough to stroke the top of his head.
Karen later borrowed a scanner to check the microchips in her own cats. Laddo was around in the garden that day, so she scanned him too and was surprised by what she found.
The cat’s real owner, 70-year-old Sybil, was then traced, so she was left feline very happy at her unexpected festive reunion with her pet.
Sybil said: “I couldn’t believe it was true. I am so grateful that Laddo had been looked after by a cat lover like Karen and that Cats Protection were able to trace me.
“I’m so glad we got him microchipped. Without that chip, I wouldn’t have been driving over to collect my boy.
“When I brought him home, Laddo sat in the middle of the room and had a good look round. Then he went and sat by the settee where he always used to sleep.
“Later that evening he kept going to the cupboard where I always kept his food and I couldn’t think why. He’d been fed and had his treats, so he couldn’t be hungry. But then I remembered his favourite brush.
“As soon as I took it out, he rolled on his back to be brushed. He really was so pleased to be home, he remembered everything. He hasn’t asked to go out once – and I’m just fine with that. I really am so grateful to have him home again. This is the best Christmas present ever.”
Karen said: “As the nights got colder I tried coaxing him in but he seemed to prefer being outdoors whatever the weather. There was some tension with one of my other cats and I knew that if they couldn’t accept him, I would need to contact Cats Protection to find him a new home.
“I couldn’t believe it when he was chipped. I contacted my local Cats Protection branch, gave them the chip number and the next day they phoned to tell me that the owner had been traced. She was over the moon that her cat had been found.”