A cat which went missing 13 years ago has been found and reunited with her owner.
Charity shop worker Gemma Barbieri, of Thetford in Norfolk, said she was “stunned” when she received a call saying that 14-year-old Rose had been found.
The pet, named after Billie Piper’s character in Doctor Who, had been an eighth birthday present for Ms Barbieri’s daughter, Alicia, but went missing in 2008.
The family lived in King’s Lynn at the time and Ms Barbieri said she felt “guilty” when they moved house 10 years later in 2018 “in case she came home and we weren’t there for her”.
Rose, who was microchipped, was reported as a stray in the King’s Lynn area and was taken in by Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre this year.
Her whereabouts for the last 13 years remain a mystery, but she was a healthy weight and in good condition.
Ms Barbieri said she initially rejected the charity’s phone call as she did not recognise the phone number.
“But it rang again almost immediately so I thought it might be important and should answer,” she said.
“I’ll always be grateful I did!
“I couldn’t believe it when they asked if my cat had gone missing in 2008.
“I just blurted out ‘Have you found Rose?’
“They said a black cat brought in as a stray had been scanned and the microchip showed that she was missing.
“It was Rose.
“I was so stunned, I was shaking.”
Ms Barbieri said that as soon as she finished work she went to collect her beloved pet.
“As soon I got Rose in the car, she was talking all the way home,” she said.
“She settled almost immediately when we arrived home.
“It was amazing.
“Within an hour she’d eaten, used the litter tray, explored the whole house and was laying purring on her back while I stroked her belly.
“She’s pretty much been purring ever since and has settled in completely.”
She has already been reunited by video call with Alicia, who is now 21 and a student at the University of Derby.
Rose and her brother Tyler were adopted as kittens in 2007, but Tyler was hit by a car and died in June 2008 and Rose went missing a few months later.
Ms Barbieri said they put up posters and knocked on doors, and logged Rose as missing on the microchip database as they always hoped she would return home eventually.
She said she would “absolutely recommend microchipping to anyone getting a cat, because it works”.
– To support Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre, see https://www.justgiving.com/team/TeamCPDownham30