A Darlington woman has been left amazed after being reunited with her black cat who left her "heartbroken" when he went missing seven years ago.

Aimee Wilkinson’s black cat went missing in June 2015 when she was eight months pregnant with her first child and feared she would never see him again.

The black tabby named Smudge, who was just one year old at the time, had gone out one night and never returned to the family address near Bedford Street, Darlington, but Aimee, 29, had kept up hope that he would one day be found, regularly checking online lost and found pet pages.

But Amy, who now has a seven-year-old and one-year-old, couldn’t believe it when she saw a picture of Smudge pop up in a Facebook group for missing pets on Father’s Day (June 19).

She told The Northern Echo: “I was about two weeks due with my little girl when he went out one day and never came back.

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“He was microchipped and I put posts on Facebook but he never came home.

“I was always checking on pages for lost and found cats and I would keep asking people if they had been taken to a vet and their microchip checked.

“I’ve never had another pet since from the heartbreak of him going missing.

“Then on Father’s Day a post came up saying this cat had been found and had been taken to the vets. I thought it looked like Smudge because he had the same frown and markings on his back.

“He looked very frail and small, but I was sure it was him.

“I’d messaged the man who found him and on Monday morning he replied to me saying it’s him, it’s actually your cat.”

Smudge had been found near a river one day earlier, on his eighth birthday (June 18).

Amy, who works as a cleaner, has since moved house but said it was like Smudge knew who she was straight away.

She added: “I’m definitely not letting him out again – he’s grounded for life.

“I would love to know what he has been doing for the last seven years, whether he’s been fed by someone else or going from place to place.

“If I didn’t see that post I’d never have got him back.

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“My daughter Mila is now seven. She loves him and wants to stroke him all the time."

Bill Lambert, a spokesperson for Petlog , the UK’s largest lost and found pet database said: “We’re delighted that Smudge and Aimee have finally been reunited.

“This National Microchipping Month, Petlog wants to get more pets microchipped and more owners checking their details are up to date, so if the worst were to happen, you have the best chance of being reunited with your furry family member – just like Smudge and Aimee.”


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