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Black kitty, Dexter, disappeared over a decade ago, and his owner, Julie Gibbons, 56, had resigned to the fact he might never be coming back.
But she then received a phone call, which left her "completely stunned", telling her that her beloved pet was only one mile away from her home.
Julie had adopted Dexter and his sister Daisy when they were five, and had been easing them into their new home in April 2010 when the cat went missing.
It happened four weeks after they first adopted the felines, when Julie had decided to let them play in the garden, to get used to their surroundings.
But little Dexter proceeded to climb over a fence and run off, and after weeks of desperate searching for the cat - including the middle of the night in case he was nocturnal - Julie and her family concluded they might never be able to find him.
Julie, from Warrington, Lancs., said: "It was devastating when we lost him, we'd only just adopted him and were so excited to bring him in.
"We searched high and low for him but couldn't find him. He was microchipped so we hoped we'd find him that way.
"But there was no sign of him and that was it.
"You just hope he found somewhere good to live maybe. Or someone finds him and takes him to the vet.
"We spent weeks going out at different times to see if we could find him, even in the middle of the night. But you have to give up eventually."
As he was microchipped, Julie hoped he would one day find his way back but her hope quickly dwindled as the years passed.
That was until she got the "shock of her life" when she received a call from a vet on Jan 29 telling her Dexter had been found.
"That was the last we heard of it until last Friday (29th Jan) when a vet called to say a cat registered to our address was found," Julie went on.
"I was stunned. I couldn't believe it. He was living about a mile from where we live.
"He was so close but so far."
A couple saw him on Thursday Jan 28 outside their house and noted he looked really unsteady on his feet.
The following morning he was curled up outside their house so they took him in before arranging an appointment with a vet.
It was there they discovered that Dexter was now completely blind and his eyes were pearl white.
Julie was, of course, quick to welcome the kitty back into her home despite all the time that had passed.
And the adorable feline has been getting used to his new surroundings ever since - but keeps bumping into walls and furniture around the house.
Julie, who works as a manager at the NHS, said: "We don't know what happened to him out there, but he's blind now.
"He's bumping into furniture and goes about slowly but he's very gentle. He just moves into everything, and clears the path ahead of him.
"But we think he has been blind for a while now because he does seem quite comfortable moving around."
Dexter, who is now 16 years old, has only been back with Julie for a few days but she said she's hopeful that he will eventually recognise his sister Daisy.
The mum-of-two said: "We're amazed and overjoyed to have him back with us. The fact he's lived till 16 is amazing, he's so resilient. To have him back after all this time it's unbelievable.
"Daisy is quite a nervous cat so she's still avoiding him, and he's still getting used to the house.
"We're hoping they'll eventually get used to each other. We're going to let him have a nice quiet life and work things slowly. Just trying to ease him back into our home.
"It's not going to be easy but we're just happy we're all together. He's so cute."
What a miracle!
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