A cat-lover said it was "an utter relief" to be reunited with his missing pet, thanks to microchip technology, after five years.

David Blane, from Haringey, had lost all hope of seeing his cat Zeke again, and was "in a total state of shock" to hear he had been handed in as a stray 30 miles away in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

He said: "I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never get him back, so to get that call out of the blue was utterly amazing.

"You don’t expect to hear that your cat has been found safe and well five years after he has gone missing. It was an utter relief to hear that Zeke was OK."

Mr Blane leafleted the neighbourhood when Zeke went missing and registered him on the pet alert service PetLog.

Five years later, Zeke was handed in as a stray and scanned for a microchip but vets were unable to reach the seven-year-old Maine Coon cat’s registered owner.

Zeke was then placed with Cats Protection’s north Hertfordshire branch, where co-ordinator Bianca Kubler said: "He was dishevelled and his coat was quite dirty when he arrived but he was a healthy 9kg boy with an insatiable hunger and, despite needing five teeth removed and a good bath, he was in good health.

"I felt so sad for Zeke as he seemed depressed, we really needed to find his owner if we were to put the spark back into Zeke’s spirit."

She expanded her search to breeder and lost Maine Coon cat websites.

Enfield Independent: Zeke. Credit: David BlaneZeke. Credit: David Blane

She continued: "We were starting to lose hope by the end of a long weekend of constant searching, but my partner decided to ring the number on the microchip one last time. To our total surprise, a man answered.

"He was in a total state of shock when we said that we’d found his cat, Zeke."

After reuniting with Zeke, Mr Blane said: "It was utterly fantastic to see him again. Words can’t describe that feeling.

"He follows me around and it seems he definitely remembers me. It’s amazing to have my baby boy back. He’s more affectionate than I remember, which is good… previously he could be a bit aloof but now he comes for cuddles and plays a lot more."

Enfield Independent: Zeke. Credit: David BlaneZeke. Credit: David Blane

Mr Blane added: "I’d like to thank John and all the volunteers at Cats Protection’s north Herts branch – they do fantastic work and really have made a massive difference to my life by reuniting me with my baby – now giant – boy.

"It’s the best Christmas present I could ever imagine."