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Hitchhiking cat is back at home in Haverhill

Stacey Mayes reunited with her beloved three-year-old tabby, Benji
Stacey Mayes reunited with her beloved three-year-old tabby, Benji

A much-loved family pet has been reunited with her owner after an adventure that took her some 60 miles away from her home in Haverhill.

Stacey Mayes’ three-year-old tabby, Benji, was found sleeping under the bonnet of a rental van after it arrived back at the company’s depot in King’s Lynn last Wednesday.

The driver took her to the local Vets4Pets practice to check she was OK and when the team there scanned the small, green-eyed feline they realised that her owner lived in Haverhill, where the van had been the previous day.

Stacey, 29, who had feared her beloved moggy had been run over, said: “I was ridiculously relieved, I really was. I actually got emotional when they called to say they had found her - you just don’t expect it.”

She added: “I’ve had to shoo her out of the back of a van before but I managed to get to her in time, but this, the way it happened, was unbelievable.

“Somebody near me had rented an Enterprise van and she must have climbed underneath the bonnet and travelled from Haverhill to Lynn. The van went in for a service and they found her when they lifted up the bonnet, and thankfully handed her in.

“I’m just shocked she travelled all that way under the bonnet of a moving vehicle, and she didn’t have a mark on her.”

Lisa Mayes, Stacey’s mum who went with her to collect Benji, said: “We really couldn’t believe it. It was unbelievable, really, for her to get that far and still be alive and in one piece.

“We were a bit shocked, I must admit, to think the cat had gone all that way and, if she hadn’t been microchipped she wouldn’t have ever got back.

“She meowed all the way home and I thought ‘you won’t do that again will you?’”

Julie Clark, practice manager at Vets4Pets, in Hardwick Road, Lynn, said: “The cat was in a really good state, really happy to see people.

“She was just like a normal cat, eating, wanting fusses, very hungry, so we gave her some food. She was not traumatised at all.

“Cases like this one highlight the importance of microchipping pets, as cats can climb into car engines during the winter to keep warm and as a result can end up a long way from home.

“Unlike collars or tags, microchips cannot be taken off or get lost and provided the owner’s contact details are kept up to date, wayward pets and owners can be reunited in the case of separation.”

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