A FAMILY has been reunited with its pet cat after it went missing over four years ago.

Laura Bartlett, from Muscliff, was in “disbelief” after she received a message from the charity Cats Protection informing her that her cat Tinkerbell had been found.

The cat went missing on December 7, 2011 – Laura’s birthday.

Despite spending the best part of two years trying to locate their beloved pet, the family became resigned to the fact they would probably never see Tinkerbell again.

However, a few weeks ago, Ben Stone, who works near Bournemouth Airport, noticed a cat was sheltering in the shell of an old Land Rover.

“I thought it might be lost so I started feeding it and eventually gained its trust. I hoped it would have a microchip so I asked for a microchip scanner from Cats Protection.

“My neighbour Emily Andrews then sent them the code and they located the owner. Turned out the cat was reported missing in 2011 and the family had moved twice in that time.”

A member of staff at the charity eventually tracked Laura down through Facebook and gave her the news. Ben then got in touch with her and arranged to bring Tinkerbell to Parley Cross Vets.

Laura, who has four other cats, said the “out of the blue” call about Tinkerbell’s reappearance left her in shock.

“I couldn’t stop shaking. I was in complete disbelief. I asked straight away when I could get her home.

“Tink’s name has always cropped up in our family. It was a rough time for us all when she went missing.

“When Ben called to say he was on his way to the vets, I went straight down. He was so lovely, and I’m so pleased such a nice person found Tinkerbell and bothered to try to find out where she came from.

“It also shows just what a microchip can do.

“When I picked her up, it was amazing. She recognised us all. She’s just getting reacquainted with the other cats now.”

Emily added: “Ben and I are real animal lovers so it’s been really nice to have a happy ending to this.

“When Tinkerbell saw Laura, she recognised her straight away, and you could tell Laura loved Tinkerbell. To be reunited with her cat after all those years is unbelievable.”