By James Tozer
Four years ago, Sarah Hawley’s pet cat Kofi slunk out of the house, never to return.As the months went by with no sightings, she and her other cat, Kofi’s brother Ted, had no choice but to get on with their lives.
And when she got married and moved from Nottingham to Sheffield with her new husband, that looked like being the last they would see of Kofi.
But earlier this month a skinny black and white cat with a bald patch on his neck and an infected flea bite was found wandering the streets of Ipswich, 120 miles away.
He was picked up by the RSPCA who scanned him to see if he was microchipped – and it turned out to be Kofi.
Although the new Mrs Hawley had now moved, she had fortuitously left her mother’s number as an alternative point of contact when she registered him, and staff at the rescue centre in Suffolk were able to tell her the amazing news.
Now Kofi is back enjoying the life of a pampered and cherished pet – while his owner tries to fathom the mystery of exactly what he’s been doing since his disappearance.
‘I was amazed when my mum called me – I never thought I’d see him again,’ said Mrs Hawley, who teaches adult literacy.
‘I think he must have jumped into a van and been taken to Ipswich, but we’ll never really know what happened to him.’
Kofi was never exactly a loyal, stay-at-home pet before he finally vanished in August 2005, often failing to return for several nights at a time.
‘I thought he’d probably found another home the way cats sometimes do,’ said his owner.
She notified the RSPCA – from whom she had originally adopted Kofi and Ted a year earlier – when his absence turned into weeks, but heard nothing, and began to fear he’d been knocked down by a car.
‘Then I moved to Sheffield and I thought there’s definitely no chance of seeing him again.’
But Kofi finally turned up in Ipswich just before Easter, and is now back with the Hawleys in Sheffield after they drove down to pick him up.
‘He’s absolutely fine, as happy as Larry,’ said Mrs Hawley, whose husband Ian is a software engineer. ‘He loves his food and jumps about just like a normal cat.
‘We’re still reintroducing him to Ted at the moment, and they’re still quite curious about one another, but he’s settling in fine.
‘It just shows what a good idea it is to microchip a pet because otherwise we’d never have got him back.’
Becky Fox, deputy manager of the animal centre at Martlesham where Kofi was taken, said: ‘We couldn’t believe it when the chip showed that the cat had travelled so far from home.
‘We see so many unwanted animals that to get this cat back home after so long, just because of his microchip, is fantastic.’
The RSPCA has a policy of microchipping cats and dogs that it re-homes so they can identified if they are lost.
A spokesman said: ‘Kofi would never have been identified if he had not been microchipped.
‘The RSPCA takes in thousands of sick and injured cats every year. It is thought that many of these may have owners who never know what happened to their pet, because they had no identification.
A microchip means that the chances of a lost or stolen animal being reunited with its owner are greatly increased.’
While Kofi’s incredible journey took nearly four years, pets have been returned to their owners after going missing for even longer periods.
Last year a cat called Dixie was reunited with Alan and Gilly Delaney nine years after vanishing from their Birmingham home, although he was found just half-a-mile away.
Also in 2008, Chris Smith’s mongrel dog Quincy was found wandering the streets of Glasgow six years after going missing while being taken for a walk near his home in Motherwell.
Source: Mail Online News