Houghton-le-Spring cat reunited with family over ten years after going missing

Whiskas the cat has been returned to her family after being missing for over 10 years. Credit: RSPCA

A cat has been reunited with her family after going missing more than ten years ago.

Whiskas, who is 16 years old, was found in Chilton Moor near Houghton-le-Spring close to where she originally vanished.

She was taken into the care by the RSPCA after receiving medical treatment but could not be immediately returned home due to an out-of-date microchip.

An appeal was put out on social media and it was spotted by Whiskas' owner Linda Ellerton, who was quickly reunited with her long-lost cat.

Ms Ellerton adopted Whiskas in 2007 after finding her abandoned in a hedge as a kitten. She disappeared from the family's garden one night and they have since moved to the Hazelrigg area of Newcastle but instantly recognised the cat.

Whiskas was found as a stray near where she originally went missing. Credit: RSPCA

“When I saw the RSPCA Facebook post it mentioned the DH4 postal area where we’d lived and I thought it can't possibly be Whiskas after all these years," Ms Ellerton explained. "I thought the photos looked like her, but it had been so long and we’d never thought we’d see her again.

“We microchipped Whiskas when we lived in Gateshead after we rescued her and another cat as kittens. They both went on to have litters with most of the cats having since been rehomed.

"We’d moved (to Houghton-le-Spring) and we had a few cats at that point and she just disappeared. We thought she had found somewhere else to live when she didn't come in one night.

“I’ve been in touch with the gentleman who found her, apparently she was living in his garden shed, and we can’t thank him and the RSPCA enough."

Ms Ellerton now owns a large dog so Whiskas will stay with her brother David Jeffrey as she seeks a quieter life in her later years.

She was underweight and in poor health when she was found but has made a strong recovery with the RSPCA continuing to advise.

RSPCA animal rescue officer David Dawson said: “It was pleasing that we were able to reunite Linda with Whiskas after all these years. She had a cuddle with her and it was very emotional to see.

“The family had given up hope of seeing the cat again, but fortunately, the man who had been feeding her for several months was so concerned about her condition that he managed to get her to a vet.

“It is important that owners keep microchip details up to date when they move home as it makes the task of reuniting them with their pets so much easier.”

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