Essex

Missing cat Quincey back with family after 12 years

Quincey Image copyright Cats Protection
Image caption Quincey is reunited with Margaret Smith's daughter Paula after he disappeared 12 years ago

A cat which disappeared 12 years ago has been found - but not before his owner died without knowing his fate.

Quincey, now aged 15, was handed in as a stray after he was found wandering the streets of Braintree, Essex.

A microchip scan revealed the wayward tom, who was reported missing in December 2006, belonged to a family eight miles away in Witham.

Owner Margaret Smith died in 2008, but her daughter Paula reclaimed Quincey after she spotted an appeal.

The "friendly and lovable" puss, who has epilepsy, has been reunited with Ms Smith, who said her mother had been "heart-broken" when he went missing.

"We searched high and low for him, without any luck," she said.

"We thought he must have had a fatal fit, or had been hit by a car."

'Mum would've been pleased'

Ms Smith saw a Facebook appeal urging relatives of Margaret Smith to contact Cat Protection's Halstead branch.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: "No one really knows what he's been up to."

Miss Smith said Quincey would now "live out his older years in comfort".

"Mum would have been really pleased he's finally made his way back to us, as she really adored him."

Jacqui Cuff, from the charity, said: "Most of these happy endings are only possible if a cat has been microchipped".

She called for microchipping to be made compulsory for cats, as is the case for dogs.

"It is an essential part of responsible pet ownership," she said.

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