Basil the cat reunited with family in London after nine years - petsitterbank

Basil the cat reunited with family in London after nine years

Basil the cat finally made it home this year (Picture: Julie McGregor/Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue)

In a tale worthy of a detective novel, one lucky cat has been reunited with his family after nine long years.

Basil the cat went missing from his home in Ilford, east London, in 2012.

His disappearance left the Wilby family distraught as they put up posters and knocked doors to try and find him.

But they never gave up hope, even as years passed and they moved house.

They even placed a photo of Basil on their wall and kept hold of his cat bed.

Little did they know, a Scottish pensioner, two different cat charities and a retired police detective had worked together to find the cat – and were desperately trying to track down his owners.

The catalyst for his rescue was 90-year-old Paddy Prentice, who lives in Ilford.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘Basil had started to visit me at the end of October.

‘He was lovely and very friendly, but I already had one cat and couldn’t care for another. I tried contacting the vet to begin with.’

For weekend: Cat reunited with family after nine long years Credit Julie McGregor / Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue

Basil relaxes following his rescue (Picture: Julie McGregor/Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue)

For weekend: Cat reunited with family after nine long years Credit Julie McGregor / Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue

It took an army of cat lovers to reunite the family (Picture: Julie McGregor/Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue)

She was pointed in the direction of Dagenham-based Meows Kitten and Cat Rescue.

A scan of Basil revealed his microchip details but the address listed was out of date. No-one there knew where the family had moved to.

Meows Kitten and Cat Rescue teamed up with South East charity Cat Squad to put out a plea on Facebook to track down his owners.

Their post was spotted by Mary Redbourn, who had been idly scrolling through Facebook in a London cafe.

Mary had spent her working life as a Met Police detective, catching criminals and heading up murder investigations.

So she decided to dust off her skills when she saw the post about Basil.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘I was just sat in a cafe when I saw the Facebook post about Basil. I’m a cat lover myself and hate the idea of ​​them going missing so decided to get involved and try a new challenge.

‘I used Facebook to begin the search but the owner’s profile wasn’t active which was the first problem.’

For weekend: Cat reunited with family after nine long years Credit Julie McGregor / Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue

Basil is settling in well with his new family (Picture: Julie McGregor/Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue)

For weekend: Cat reunited with family after nine long years Credit Julie McGregor / Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue

Through everything – the family had kept a picture of Basil on their wall (Picture: Julie McGregor/Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue)

Not to be deterred, she scoured the profile’s friends list to find anyone who also lived in Ilford, before firing off messages.

Within an hour, she had a new address.

Julie McGregor, from Meows Kitten and Cat Rescue, sprang into action to reunite Basil and his family once she received the news.

They were ‘over the moon’ at the surprise.

Mum Vera said: ‘It felt unreal, I honestly thought it was some sort of scam to begin with.

‘It was really difficult to understand because we just didn’t expect it after such a long amount of time.

‘It’s so surreal, but he does seem like the same cat, it’s like he’s never been away.

‘When an animal goes missing you just think of all the horrible things that can happen.

‘The response by the animal charities has just been amazing. The whole thing does have a slight PD James touch with how many different people got involved. It does feel unifying.

‘And it’s a reminder of how important it is to get your cat microchipped and to update addresses.’

Fittingly, the now 15-year-old cat had been named after ‘Basil the mouse detective’, a character in a German television show.

Julie, a legal PA who has fostered 56 cats, told Metro.co.uk: 'We'd been trying for a week to track the family down until Mary the detective got involved.  Everything just fell into place.

Julie McGregor, a legal PA, helped track down Basil’s owners to reunite the family (Picture: Julie McGregor)

For weekend: Cat reunited with family after nine long years Credit Julie McGregor / Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue

Basil declined to comment as to why he first disappeared (Picture: Julie McGregor/Meows Kitten & Cat Rescue)

For Meows Kitten and Cat Rescue, Basil’s rescue is one of many success stories from volunteers – but it will forever hold a ‘special place’ in their memories.

Julie, a legal PA who has fostered 56 cats, told Metro.co.uk: ‘We’d been trying for a week to track the family down until Mary the detective got involved.

‘Then, everything just fell into place.

‘It was just wonderful, I couldn’t believe it. We achieve a lot as a charity but this really was something else.’

The charity witnessed an increase in abandoned and stray cats following lockdown, and welcome any donations to fund their work or for any potential foster carers to come forward.

You can donate at http://PayPal.me/meowsfund

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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