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Missing cat Big Ginge reunited with couple 10 years after disappearing from canal boat

Written by on 18/11/2021

A couple have been reunited with their missing cat a decade after he disappeared from their canal boat home.

Colin Clayton, 61, and wife Eva Bellamy, 58, were astonished when they received a surprise phone call to say their pet, Big Ginge, had been found.

The couple took their three cats, Weasel and her offspring, Diesel, and Big Ginge, on their honeymoon near Fradley Junction, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, in 2011.

Big Ginge, who is now 13, pictured when he was a kitten
Image: Big Ginge, who is now 13, pictured when he was a kitten

The pets were used to living on the canal and hopping on and off the vessel.

The other two cats found their way back to the boat but Big Ginge, then three, vanished.

The couple stayed an extra five days but eventually were forced to return to their home in Birmingham without the cat.

Mr Clayton explained: “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.

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Big Ginge went missing from his canal boat home in 2011
Image: Big Ginge went missing from his canal boat home in 2011

“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.”

Earlier this year a stray cat called Marmalade came to the attention of the Cats Protection Lichfield & Tamworth branch.

Sue Hocknell, from the branch, said: “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.”

Fortunately the lump was not serious and Big Ginge was reunited with his family, including two new members, pet dogs Mutley and Misty Moo.

He will stay indoors for the time-being, Mr Clayton added.

“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.”

It is unknown how he survived for the past 10 years.

Big Ginge being transported in a carrier
Image: Big Ginge being transported in a carrier

But his story highlights the importance of getting pets microchipped.

Another cat who went missing 14 years ago was reunited with his owner in March thanks to a microchip.

Jess, now 17, was returned safely to his owner, Leigh Bateman, from Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

Ms Bateman thought her moggy was “lost forever” but received a surprise phone call after his microchip was scanned.

She said at the time: “I truly can’t believe he’s back with us after all these years.”

 Sky News

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