Three-and-a-half months after Charlie went missing, the Harding family were overjoyed when their beloved cat unexpectedly turned up at their back door in Rickmansworth.
Charlie had gone missing in September, and by November, owners Suzanne and Paul Harding had all but given up hope of his return.
Suzanne said: “I put Charlie’s bowl in the shed because I couldn’t bear to look at it anymore. We started asking if anyone wanted to take the cat food.”
Then, one wintry December morning, the couple couldn’t believe their eyes.
Suzanne added: “I was eating breakfast when suddenly the dog perks up and looks over to the back door. We heard an angry sort of growling noise, similar to the noise that Charlie would make when he was hungry.
“Paul went down into the garden and started rattling a bit of cat food, and the cat couldn’t decide whether to go for the food or wrap himself around Paul’s legs. He was headbutting Paul like he knew him – that’s when we knew it was Charlie.”
Coaxed back into the house, the astonished couple soon noticed that Charlie was quite the worse for wear.
Suzanne said: “He was very, very slim; you could see his ribs. I wonder if he’d been travelling for a while because he looked like he hadn’t eaten much in two or three weeks.”
Thankfully, Charlie has since calmed down and returned to his laid-back ways, spending his days curled up on his cat-bed next to Suzanne.
Suzanne said: “We’re unbelievably happy – it’s a Christmas miracle! The only person who’s not happy is the dog – but at least he’s got something to think about when we’re not around.”