A family has been reunited with their cat which went missing six years ago after it was rescued by a builder at an abandoned hotel more than 30 miles away.
10-year-old Bert has returned to his home in Selsfield Road, Ardingly, after being handed into Cat Protection, in Epsom.
His owners Kim Harris, 40, and son Joshua, 10, had given up hope of finding their pet after spending months searching for him back in 2009.
“Joshua was heart broken at the time. I hunted the woods, I put leaflets out, knocked on doors, searched high and low, called all the local vets, visited the Cats Protection centre in Chelwood Gate, for months and months we looked.”
Bert had been looked after by the staff at Preston Cross Hotel, in Leatherhead, where he had been for years, but no member of staff could confirm exactly when he appeared.
When the hotel closed about two months ago, the security guard and a builder called Keith continued to feed him until the building was due to be demolished and the builder decided to try to find a home for him.
He handed Bert to a local lady called Jill who adopts cats for Cats Protection. She had him scanned for a microchip and discovered Kim’s contact details.
She called Kim on Friday July 31.
Kim said: “It was really weird. The phone call came completely out of the blue. I was in complete and utter shock.”
Kim went to pick him up that evening and they recognised each other immediately.
“I didn’t quite believe it until I saw him,” she said. “They brought him out in a cage and when I put my hand to the bars we was rubbing up against it. I’m sure he recognised and remembered me.”
Jill told Kim that Keith was in tears when he handed Bert in as he had ‘fallen in love with him’.
“I’m really really grateful to the builder and security guard”, Kim added.
“It’s amazing he’s in perfect condition so he’s obviously been well looked after.”
Bert settled straight back into his home and was pleased to be reunited Kim’s other cat Murphy, although he is not so sure about one-year-old rescue cat Harold.
Harold was one of the 25 black cats which were rescued by Cats Protection after being found crammed into one small bedsit in Haywards Heath in February this year.