A FAMILY has been reunited with their lost cat almost two years after they feared the pet had been killed and dumped in a landfill.

Sharon Fox, 53, and her daughter Lauren, 24, from Brandon, near Durham, were distraught when their pet cat Sidney disappeared in March 2016 and were even more upset when they were told his body had been accidentally dumped in landfill.

Sidney is back home, two years after going missing

So they were overwhelmed when they got a phone call last week to say the six-year-old cat had turned up in a field close to Bishop Auckland Hospital – around 12 miles away from where he originally disappeared.

Lauren, who adopted Sidney after he was dumped on a neighbour’s doorstep as a kitten, said: “We couldn’t get our heads around it.

“We had already mourned Sidney. We’d been sent a picture of him laying dead on the side of the road.

“But this woman was adamant she had him with her. She said: ‘Have you got a cat called Sidney?’ We thought it was a sick joke at first.

“She said that she’d checked the cat’s microchip and Sidney’s name came up along with my mam’s phone number and address.”

The mum and daughter did not believe it was true until they went round to the woman’s house that afternoon and were finally reunited with their long lost pet.

Sidney, pictured before he went missing

Sharon, a loan advisor, said: “The woman, who takes in abandoned and stray cats, had warned us Sidney was a little hostile after living wild.

“But as soon as he saw me he rolled over onto his back and started crying, wanting a belly rub.

“There was no doubt this was Sidney and that he remembered us. He still knew his name.

“We were both completely overwhelmed. We took him straight home and spoiled him rotten.”

When Sidney first went missing, they had plastered Brandon with posters to try and find him and after hearing that a cat matching his description had been knocked over, immediately went to find the body.

But before they got to Meadowfield British Legion, where the cat had been spotted, a member of Durham County Council’s cleansing team had picked up the body and it was subsequently taken to landfill without checking the microchip.

Lauren said: “It was terrible. We couldn’t even bring his body home and bury him. We were very angry with the council at the time.

Lauren Fox, from Brandon, was amazed when she found out Sidney was still alive

“It is simply amazing that Sidney has managed to survive in the wild for three years. A friend of the woman who took him in had spotted him living in brambles and had been leaving food before she caught him.

“He has lost almost all of his teeth because he must have been eating animals which are tough to chew such as mice, rats and birds.

“Sidney has obviously been in fights because he has marks on his head and he had a split lip, which has now healed.

“We are delighted to have him home. He is getting lots of cuddles and food, and “he seems very content. We will never let him out again.”

It is not known how Sidney ended up in Bishop Auckland but Lauren and Sharon think he may have stowed away in a vehicle before getting lost.

In 2017, Durham County Council apologised for dumping the cat thought to be Sidney without checking the chip, saying usual processes had not been followed.