A ten-year-old boy and his beloved pet cat have been miraculously reunited four years after the moggy went missing.
Tortoiseshell Leonie disappeared two weeks after giving birth to three kittens in March 2010.
Ethan Harris, who was six at the time, and his mother Mika Flynn were left to hand-rear the babies and carry out a heartfelt appeal, which included more than 500 posters, in the area for the much-loved feline.
But, despite giving up hope on the animal ever returning to their home in Pinnata Close, Lavender Hill, the family received a phone call from RSPCA officers in Hornsey on Wednesday last week.
Mother Mika, 29, said: “I couldn’t believe it. We were over the moon – ecstatic. We had always held out hope that she was alive somewhere but just recently we ‘had the chat’ with Ethan and explained that she had probably been killed.”
The St Michael’s Primary School pupil got the best news of his life when his mother picked him up at the school gates that afternoon and he burst into tears when he heard that Leonie was back.
RSPCA officers believe the cat got to Hornsey in the back of a work van and was cared for by some tenants who recently left. They scanned the cat’s microchip and she was returned home later that day.
Ethan said: “It is just amazing, it is like a miracle – I was flabbergasted. My friends didn’t believe me. When she went missing I was incredibly sad – I was crying every night. I thought she had been run over by a car.
“And when my mum told me she was back I thought she was joking at first, but then I walked in and saw Leonie on the bookshelf – it was so funny.”
Ethan and mother-of-two Mika kept one of Leonie’s kittens but he was sadly killed by a car in the years she was missing.
Nevertheless, Leonie settled straight back into her old home, jumping onto Ethan’s lap when he walked through the door from school.
Mika said: “She seemed to recognise the place the second she was back. The RSPCA officer said she had been a bit frantic in the car on the way over but she was so calm when she arrived home.”
The story has not had a happy ending for all the participants though as, despite a four year break, Leonie appears to be having trouble getting along with the father of her kittens, Henry, since her return.
Mika added: “That has not been such a fairytale. She has been a bit vicious towards him but they are getting better and I’m sure they’ll get along again over time.”