Cat reunited with owners seven months after it escaped at Gloucester Services off the M5

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report.

A cat which went missing for seven months after escaping from its owners at Gloucester services has been reunited with her family back in Cornwall.

Millie made an escape from owners Shaun Ore and Pauline Dearing during a stop back home on their journey from the Midlands in June 12, 2021.

The couple searched for their two-year-old pet at the M5 services for nine hours before returning home to the Duchy – convinced Millie was lost for good.

Shaun and his partner, who live in St Ives, were contacted by Louise Davies of Animals Lost and Found in Gloucestershire (Alfig) about their cat being found safe and well by staff at the services.

He said: "I was so shocked when they rang to say they had her, we actually thought she had gone for good.

Millie back in her Cornwall home Credit: Alfig

"We were so emotional when we first saw her again. It’s a fairy story come true, like a Christmas present and New Year’s present in one. She’s now back home where she belongs.

"We adopted her after Pauline lost her father, so she was a bit like a comfort pet and of course meant so much to us.

"There are not enough words to say how grateful we are to the staff at Gloucester Services and the ladies at Alfig, because we honestly thought we’d never see her again."

Millie managed to escape from both a cat basket and a harness before running up an embankment and onto the grass roof of the services building.

Shaun and Pauline were given permission to access the roof as part of their search and stayed until the evening to try to find her.

Millie was found safe and well by staff at Gloucester Services Credit: Alfig

After returning to Cornwall, Pauline contacted Louise at Alfig who spent hours with her team looking for Millie, putting up posters, and talking to residents at nearby villages Brookthorpe and Matson.

A brown and black cat fitting Millie’s description was spotted before Christmas by Dan Jenkins, a member of staff at the services, but he could not get close to it.

Staff then tried to feed the cat to try and befriend her and in January, Louise managed to catch, scan, and identify the feline as Millie.

Louise said: “When we reunited Millie with her owners there were lots of tears.

"It was a story full of total despair and then ultimately hope and is a great message to people who have lost a cat never to give up, they can be found, even on the M5."

Shaun said when they adopted Millie from a rescue centre, she had been a feral kitten and he thought that early experience may have helped her survive.

He said: "As soon as we went into the house where she was being looked after, she went straight to Pauline.

"Since getting home with her, she’s been going back to her little spots she loves, and she’s been sleeping with us with her paws on us, which is what she always did."

The couple have since made a donation to Alfig, an entirely volunteer-run group based in Cheltenham but covering the whole county.