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“He’s just so cuddly, it’s almost like he’s been trying to find us, he’s so glad to be home,” Ross said.
Hector, a large green-eyed, long-haired, steel-grey cat, was returned to Ross and her family after a resident living about 6km away caught him in a cage last week.
He had been missing since November 2018 when he took off from his home in Flemington, Lincoln, on Guy Fawkes night.
Ross said she and her partner Sam had moved into the house five weeks earlier.
They had planned to keep Hector inside for another three weeks before letting him outside, but he escaped when their young daughter opened a door.
“And I think he may have got spooked with all the fireworks,” Ross said.
A long, anguishing search followed, as Ross walked the surrounding streets, sometimes from 5.30am to midnight, shaking cat biscuits and calling his name.
“Because I just couldn’t sleep, he was my baby.”
She thought maybe he was trying to make his way back to the family’s former home in Christchurch.
Ross continued to post on Facebook pages intermittently to remind people Hector was missing and had listed him on lostpet.co.nz.
It was through the latter outlet that the woman who caught Hector got in touch with Ross.
She had trapped Hector after noticing him on her property, eating cat food.
Ross and her mother took their cat cage to the woman’s house, near paddocks in the Ellesmere Rd area.
Ross could not help but be sceptical that it would be her cat, but as she and her mother walked towards the covered cage they heard Hector’s distinctive meow.
“And there he was, I couldn’t quite believe it,” Ross said.
Now Hector is back home it’s like he never left. He was smooching up to his old canine buddy Bear and feline friends Jasper, Moses and Max, as well as getting to know the home’s new resident - the couple's nine-month-old son.
Hector, now aged five, had a case of matted fur and cat conjunctivitis following his adventures, Ross said.
But, other than that, he was in top shape and had not lost any weight it seemed.