Lancashire

Cat missing for four years in Garstang is found

Maria O'Neill and Colin the cat
Image caption Colin has now been reunited with his owners

A missing cat has been reunited with its owners in time for Christmas - four years after disappearing.

Colin the black cat disappeared shortly after Peter and Maria O'Neill moved from Middlesbrough to Garstang, Lancashire, in August 2006.

Despite attempts to locate the missing moggy the couple eventually gave up hope and moved back to Middlesbrough.

Colin was found in a garden in Garstang and taken to charity Cats Protection, which arranged a microchip scan.

The O'Neills, who originally found Colin as a feral kitten roaming around the Corus steelworks, had updated the charity with their new address in Ingleby Barwick, Middlesbrough.

He was found by a woman in Garstang earlier this month.

Mrs O'Neill said: "I couldn't believe it when I got a call to say Colin had been found. It was really the best Christmas present I could have hoped for.

"When I went to pick Colin up, he was quite nervous and cowering in the corner of a pen. I simply said his name and he instantly recognised me.

"He bounded up to me and stuck his head under my arm. It was just a magical moment and it left me close to tears."

'Made' Christmas

Jeanette Greaves, publicity volunteer at the charity's Preston branch, said: "Everyone at the branch is so thrilled that we were able to reunite Colin with his owners after all this time.

"It has really made our Christmas.

"This case certainly highlights the importance of microchipping and keeping details up to date, as it greatly increases the chances of a happy reunion should a cat ever go missing from his home."

Cats Protection helps about 215,000 unwanted cats through a national network of 256 volunteer-run branches and 30 adoption centres.

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