Lost cat returned home after nine years

LONDON Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:47am EDT

1 of 3. Dixie, a 15-year-old cat, is reunited with her owner Gilly Delaney after going missing nine years ago, in an undated photo.

Credit: Reuters/RSPCA/Handout

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A British couple have been reunited with their missing cat after nine years, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said on Wednesday.

Dixie, a 15-year-old ginger cat, disappeared in 1999 and her owners thought she had been killed by a car.

She was found less than half a mile from her home in Birmingham after a concerned resident rang the animal charity to report a thin and disheveled cat who had been in the area for a couple of months.

RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Alan Pittaway checked her microchip and confirmed it was Dixie. She was returned to her owners, Alan and Gilly Delaney, within half an hour.

"In 29 years of working for the RSPCA I have never seen anyone so excited and happy as Mrs Delaney," Pittaway said. "It made my day to return Dixie to her owners."

The couple were "overjoyed" to be reunited with their missing cat after so many years.

"Dixie's personality, behavior and little mannerisms have not changed at all," said Gilly Delaney. "We don't think she has stopped purring since she came back through the door."

The RSPCA hope the story will encourage owners to have their pets microchipped.

(Reporting by Anna Legge; Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato)

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