A woman who had lost all hope of ever finding her missing cat has made a “one in a million” reunion with her moggy – after being apart for 12 YEARS.
Vicky Swainson, 31, says she was devastated when her cat Gucci, then just three years old, disappeared while they were moving house in 2008.
She saw her white and black cat leap into a nearby allotment and spent all day looking for him but to no avail.
Her furry friend disappeared from their home in Gildersome, near Leeds, West Yorks., in July 2008 but Vicky, then aged 19, was still determined to find him.
She placed dozens of missing cat posters and walked two miles almost every day from her new home in Morley to her old property hoping to cross his path.
Then, seemingly out of the blue, Vicky got a “shocking” phone call from Abbey House Vets in Morley on June 19 thanks to a microchip which was embedded in the cat’s neck.
She said she was “overjoyed” but couldn’t believe she had found her cat after 12 long years.
Vicky, from Leeds, West Yorks., said: “When I got the call I was in total shock, I couldn’t even process what was happening.
“Then when I realised it was my Gucci, I just felt overjoyed and overwhelmed.
“Gucci was alive and well, and I was going to see him.
“It was such a crazy and surreal phone call – I was pinching myself.
“It really was a one in a million chance. I don’t think I’ll ever believe I have him back, even if I’m holding him.”
Vicky sped off to the vet to meet with her long-lost feline friend and says she knew it was him the moment she saw him.
The bank manager said: “I went to get him on Friday afternoon and I knew it was him immediately.
“I’d like to think he recognised me as well because as soon as I picked him up he was cuddling me and purring.
“It was such a strange feeling – something I never expected to go through.
“I didn’t think I’d ever hold him again, yet here I was, holding Gucci like when I was a teenager – it was surreal.”
Vicky said when they moved house 12 years ago, they hoped to get him comfortable in their new home for two weeks.
But the curious cat dived out the window into a nearby allotment.
Recalling how heartbroken she was when Gucci first escaped, Vicky said: “We were hoping to get him used to the new place but while we were moving he just escaped from his room and disappeared.
“We saw him jump into a nearby allotment and went to look for him but everywhere we searched we couldn’t find him.
“We tried calling for him, we tried shaking his favourite biscuits, we tried everything.
“I just wanted him to come back I couldn’t believe he’d disappeared.
“Even after we moved we walked two miles back to our old house for six months in the hope we’d stumble upon him.
“It was so heartbreaking – Gucci was part of the family.”
According to the vet, a kindhearted cat lover had been feeding Gucci for about eight months as he wandered the streets.
But after she noticed he’d lost a bit of weight, the concerned woman rang the vet to get him checked.
It was here the vets found his microchip and contacted Vicky.
Vicky said: “I never would have been able to share this beautiful moment with Gucci and be reunited with him without his microchip.
“I think it’s so important that people with cats do this – not just with dogs.”
Unfortunately Gucci couldn’t stay at Vicky’s home, as she currently lives with seven-year-old Larry, and she’s worried her cat won’t take well to a new family member.
But he’s been rehomed with Vicky’s dad Steve Swainson who has been more than happy to welcome back the adventurous moggy.