Cat lost for 10 years was living with a neighbour!

Lilly and Alex
Lilly and Alex. Photos SWNS.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Lilly, a black cat, went missing in 2009. Alex Elliott, her guardian, was extremely upset and then eventually had to assume that she had been killed on the roads. She’d put up posters in the usual way but then gave up hope. The years rolled by. This month she was reunited with her cat who is now 15-years-of-age.

She discovered that Lilly had been adopted by a man who believed that she was a stray. He lives no more than 400 yards away from Alex’s home.

Lilly had been scanned by a local veterinarian when the man had decided that he no longer wanted Lilly. It seems that the veterinarian telephoned Alex to tell her that her cat had been found.

Alex said:

“The man who’d been keeping her had decided he didn’t want a cat any more so the RSPCA collected her and took her to the vets.

She had been kept inside the house for 10 years and he had a dog too. I was crying my eyes out when I saw her again, I just gave her a big cuddle.

She was in good condition although her coat was coarse as she had not been stroked much, and I could tell she had not had much attention. It’s been awful for me.

I should have had her with me for the past 10 years. I really want to highlight the importance of micro-chipping, as I would never have got her back otherwise.

If you think a cat is a stray, don’t start feeding it. Report it to the RSPCA who will take it to be scanned for a microchip.”

Lilly has gone back to being her normal self. Alex said that when she lost Lilly she grieved for her when she believed that she had been knocked down by a car. She says that she is a wandering cat as she likes to explore and at first she had assumed that she’d been locked in a shed.

She is now getting tons of attention:

“Since she’s come home she’s been really loving, she loves cuddles and always did. She’s gone straight back to being the cat again and has not left my side.”

Alex is the guardian of four other cats.


For me, the story reinforces my belief that when a cat is lost they are usually not that far away. There are countless stories of loss cats being no more than a couple of blocks away. The natural range of domestic cats when they explore (when they are indoor/outdoor cats) is around 2 acres or something of that order.

Alex is right, the man in question should not have adopted Lilly because he made an assumption that she was a stray which is not an assumption that anyone can make.

4 thoughts on “Cat lost for 10 years was living with a neighbour!”

  1. I have a few opinions on subjects in this article, as I’ve had a number of related experiences. Whenever I’d taken in “stray” cats I advertised and reported in search of their owner, but that presumes the owner is looking for the cat. Sadly sometimes not or it’s unknown. Just recently I rescued (real rescue) a cat off the street who’s only recorded owner lived in a city far away at the time of the cat’s birth. So you have to keep the record straight which is not hard to do, and if you care in the least. Chips are a great thing if you use them, and I love stories that turn out well. How cool is it that Lily remembered Alex and settled back into her prior life. It’s awful that she endured all that time away, but such a relief how it turned out, because of the chip. That’s one case where the chip record wasn’t altered but had the man scanned the cat in the first place, Lily would have been returned to Alex back when. How it is that the cat was never scanned in 10 years is puzzling though. Did he never take her to the vet, and if he did why wasn’t he questioned where he got the cat or why hadn’t the vet ever scanned her? Here in the states the vets are fairly suspicious and good out that.

  2. It is probably time for a law requiring that a finder gets any animal a free chip scan & takes specific steps to find the actual guardian, before assuming complete guardianship.

    Poor Lily, shabby finder too. Glad she is back with Alex

    • Yes, I agree. It’s a bit like the law concerning dogs and cats hit on the roads. They have to check microchips for dogs but not cats. That law should change in the UK in due course.


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