Big Ginge disappeared in 2011 but has been reunited with his owners (Colin Clayton/PA)
A couple have been reunited with their missing cat a decade after he went missing from their canal boat home.
Colin Clayton, 61, and his wife Eva Bellamy, 58, could not believe it when they got the call that their cat Big Ginge had been found.
After getting married in 2011, the couple went on their honeymoon with their pet cats near Fradley Junction 25 miles from Birmingham where they live.
Their three cats – Weasel and her offspring Diesel and Big Ginge – were used to living on the canal and regularly hopped on and off the boat.
We registered him as missing on his microchip but unfortunately we had to leave
However, the couple became worried when three-year-old Big Ginge disappeared.
Mr Clayton said: “Whenever we took the cats on holiday there had never been any issue with them finding their way back, although sometimes we might have had to stay an extra night if they didn’t return in time.
“The others came back as normal but Big Ginge didn’t, so we stayed an extra five days and walked for miles around the area calling out his name and putting up posters. We registered him as missing on his microchip but unfortunately we had to leave.”
Ten years on, the couple received a surprise phone call with the news that Big Ginge had been found in Staffordshire.
Sue Hocknell, from the Cats Protection Lichfield & Tamworth Branch, said: “We learned about a stray in Lichfield earlier this year, who we called Marmalade.
“I spent three weeks every evening attempting to trap him so I can could scan for a microchip but he was having none of it.
“Over time a local man fed him and gradually Marmalade began to trust him. I then got a call to say Marmalade had ventured into his flat and that he had a lump on his flank. I managed to get a quick vet appointment and that’s when we discovered his true identity.”
The lump was not found to be serious and Big Ginge is now back in his original home, where he has been introduced to two new pet dogs Mutley and Misty Moo.
Mystery surrounds what he got up to over the years but his story highlights the importance of getting pets microchipped.
Mr Clayton added: “For now we will be keeping him indoors. He seems very content and has shown no interest in venturing out.
“Big Ginge has had enough stress in his life and we are confident it will all work out.”