Isle of Wight cat reunited with family after 14 years

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Jess the catImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Jess lived mainly outdoors for 14 years on the grounds of an assisted-living neighbourhood

A cat has been reunited with his family 14 years after he went missing.

Jess, 17, vanished from a garden in Ryde on the Isle of Wight in May 2007, and spent most of the intervening years living on the grounds of an assisted-living neighbourhood.

A frequent fluffy friend to residents at the Ryde House Group, Jess became known as The Ryde Cottage Cat.

Owner Leigh Bateman said: "I truly can't believe he's back with us after all these years."

"We thought he was lost forever," she added.

But Jess had taken shelter in the grounds of the nearby housing community, where the residents called him Tibby.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Jess was such a common sight at the Ryde House Group that he was featured on the official site map

A spokesman said: "You can even see him on our site map, as he was so often spotted along that driveway.

"Over the last few weeks he was starting to show his age and we had the sad realisation that he needed to be brought to a place that could give him the care he needed.

"We were so sad to see him go but are so glad that he's been reunited with his original owners."

Jess was subsequently scanned for a microchip and reunited with Ms Bateman.

She said: "We were so surprised to get the call and we're so pleased to have him home.

"I was quite amazed that Jess seems so happy after living outdoors all this time. I wish he'd been scanned for a chip sooner but thank goodness we'd kept his details up to date so we could be found."

Jo Morrison, deputy manager at the local Cats Protection adoption centre, said: "It was wonderful to be able to reunite Jess and Leigh and for him to go home to his family."

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