Cat missing for 10 years 'taken in by neighbour'

Alex Elliott and Lilly the cat Image copyright Alex Elliott
Image caption Alex Elliott said: "She's settled back in enjoying sitting on my knee"

A cat which went missing for a decade - leaving her owners fearing the worst - was adopted by a neighbour.

Lilly, now aged 15, disappeared from her home in Hutton Cranswick, East Yorkshire, in 2009.

Owner Alex Elliott - who assumed her beloved pet was dead - had no idea the missing moggy had been taken in as a house cat just a few streets away.

She said it was a "massive shock" when a vet called out of the blue to tell her Lilly was alive.

"I didn't believe it till I saw her," Ms Elliott said.

'We've got your cat'

A&E nurse Ms Elliott said she checked her phone after a rest break at Hull Royal Infirmary to see the vets had left a message.

"We've got your cat, Lilly" she was told, reported the Yorkshire Post.

Image copyright Alex Elliott
Image caption Ms Elliott said: "I still can't believe it, I'm in shock"

Lilly had been handed over to the RSPCA and then taken to the vets in Bridlington.

When they scanned a microchip, implanted in 2004 when Ms Elliott first got the cat, they found it contained the nurse's phone number.

Ms Elliott said the tearful re-union followed a campaign to trace Lilly.

"A decade ago I had put posters up, searched around, put up notices on Facebook, checked with local vets but couldn't find Lilly.

"I was gutted when she went missing.

"I thought she had probably been knocked down but had no closure as no body was found."

Ms Elliott said Lilly was a loving cat that had settled straight back into family life since her return.

Image copyright Alex Elliott
Image caption The microchip in Lilly was the key to reuniting her with the family

Her "animal-mad" daughter, who was only one when the pet disappeared, now "adores" the rescued moggy.

"I have no idea how many of her nine lives Lily has used-up", said Ms Elliott.

Despite sadness over the cat's "lost 10 years" she urged other owners to microchip their pets.

And one last plea: "Don't feed a cat that isn't yours, report it to the RSPCA or vets."

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