Pilchard the prodigal cat is back home in Dunmow after going missing for 18 months

PUBLISHED: 13:54 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:37 14 February 2017

The prodigal cat Pilchard with Oliver, Charlotte and William.

The prodigal cat Pilchard with Oliver, Charlotte and William.


A family are calling it a miracle after the elderly cat they thought had gone off to die has returned home, alive and well after 18 months.

The prodigal cat Pilchard with Oliver, Charlotte and William.The prodigal cat Pilchard with Oliver, Charlotte and William.

The Shermans, mum Clare and children, Oliver, 12, Charlotte, 10 and William, eight, moved home from Braintree to Dunmow in September 2015.

Three weeks later, their tabby cat Pilchard, who had been with the family for three years. suddenly disappeared.

Mum Clare said: “This was unusual because he was a cat who never left the garden. But he was old and poorly and we were about to take him to the vet, so when he disappeared, we thought he had gone away to die.”

The family, had come to terms with their pet’s disappearance and even acquired a kitten – not to replace Pilchard, but so their cat Bubbles would have a companion.

Then on Sunday, February 12 a friend who is a carer reported that an elderly man she was looking after was feeding a stray cat – and she put a photograph of the stray on Facebook.

Clare said: “I saw the picture, and I thought, that’s my cat.”

“When I brought him home, I told the children it was a miracle.”

Pilchard had wandered for about two miles, still in Dunmow, but on the Braintree Road.

After taking him to see a vet, Clare was able to confirm that the missing moggy was indeed the prodigal Pilchard.

Clare said: “The gentleman was feeding Pilchard, but he didn’t want the cat in the house. I am very grateful that he did feed him.

From now on, the feline will be chipped so hopefully it will never happen again.

Clare added: “I knew it was Pilchard because he came towards me when I called him and as soon as I brought him home, he hissed at Betsy our dog. Since then, he’s been sitting in the kitchen in the place he always used to sit.

“I think late aunty Jo whose cat it was originally was looking down from heaven and wanted her back with us.”

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