Cat that went missing in Bedford 11 years ago is reunited with his owner - on her 35th birthday

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A cat that went missing 11 years ago has been reunited with his grateful owner thanks to the team at Vets for Pets in Bedford.

Humbug disappeared from his Bedford home in April 2012 and, despite his owner Kitty Roberts searching for more than a year, putting up posters and even offering a reward, he was never found.

Kitty said: "When I got the call from Vets for Pets about Humbug I just couldn't believe it. I was totally shocked. It was my 35th birthday so finding out I'd got my Humbug back was the best present ever."

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The team at the Vets for Pets practice tracked Kitty down as her mobile number was on information found on Humbug's microchip.

Kitty said  Humbug got his name 'as he's a black tabby and in the sunlight he has brown and black stripes and looks like a humbug'.Kitty said  Humbug got his name 'as he's a black tabby and in the sunlight he has brown and black stripes and looks like a humbug'.
Kitty said Humbug got his name 'as he's a black tabby and in the sunlight he has brown and black stripes and looks like a humbug'.

Kitty said: "I got Humbug just before my 19th birthday. He was the runt of the litter. He was only eight weeks old when I got him. He was my baby, he was my first real pet, my bud.

“I called him Humbug as he's a black tabby and in the sunlight he has brown and black stripes and looks like a humbug."

It was when Humbug was temporarily staying at a friend's house five years later that he disappeared. One of the cats in the house had just had kittens and there was a cat fight. Humbug slipped out of a window and off he went, not to be seen until over a decade later.

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Kitty added: "I did posters and I went back to the place he went missing from. I kept caling his name, looked under cars and put out tins of tuna. Everything. I spent about a year looking for him every weekend, but he never materialised. I was devastated when I couldn't find him. He was microchipped and had a collar on too."

Humbug was missing for over 11 years, but his owner, Kitty, never stopped searching and hoping for his safe return.Humbug was missing for over 11 years, but his owner, Kitty, never stopped searching and hoping for his safe return.
Humbug was missing for over 11 years, but his owner, Kitty, never stopped searching and hoping for his safe return.

But Kitty, who now lives in Basingstoke and has another cat, Nacho Cheese, never gave hope that he was alive.

She added: "I honestly believed that he was scamming some old lady for salmon on a bed somewhere. I wanted to believe he was living the good life. I'd accepted that I wouldn't ever see him again."

That was until a week ago, when Kitty got the call from Vets for Pets. She owns her own business, Pink Kitten Jewellery, and was behind her stall when she got the amazing news. She said: "It was beyond disbelief.

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"It was really emotional. I think he recognised me because as soon as he came out of the carrier he immediately gave me the biggest head bump he'd ever given me. He was just fussing around me; it was overwhelming, amazing."

"No one knows where he's been all that time. He's way too friendly to have been living rough. He's lapping up all the attention at the moment."

Hannah Brown, one of the nurses at Vets for Pets Bedford, said everyone at the practice was amazed by Humbug's story.

She said: "Humbug had apparently followed home a colleague's friend's son one day, and then he did the same thing the next day so they brought him in to us to see if he was microchipped and we found that he'd been reported missing 11 years ago.

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"We contacted the phone number on the information and hoped that it was up-to-date and it was indeed and the owner was totally shocked, but very excited and pleased as well.

"We kept Humbug in the practice overnight and fed and watered him until he was picked up. He was such a friendly boy with a big appetite."

Cat owners are being reminded by Pets at Home that microchipping their feline friend will become compulsory on June 10. This new law is expected to make reuniting lost or stray pet cats with their owners significantly easier and quicker.

Click here for more information on cat microchipping or book an appointment with your vet.