A CAT-LOVER has been reunited with her treasured pet, almost four years after he disappeared. Jo Huggon’s Benson went missing days after she moved from Tynemouth, North Tyneside, to Shotley Bridge, County Durham, in December 2006.

Mrs Huggon, who had cared for Benson since he was a kitten, was devastated, fearing the Balinese seal point had been stolen to order.

Despite long searches of neighbouring streets and the nearby River Derwent, no trace of Benson could be found.

However, four years on, while holidaying in Taunton, Somerset, Mrs Huggon got the call she thought would never come.

Benson had been spotted by a man living only a mile from her home who, after several months of trying, had managed to entice the cat inside and taken him to Prince Bishops veterinary practice, in Leadgate, hoping to adopt him.

However, once there, staff identified Benson by a microchip planted in him years before and he was reunited with the astonished Mrs Huggon.

I was absolutely ecstatic,”

she said.

It’s like a Disney ending.

It’s unbelievable.

I was just saying a few weeks before, if I could have back any pet, it would be Benson.

We were always very close. He grew up in my dressing-gown pocket.”

Mrs Huggon took Benson, now 11, home for the first time in four years on Thursday, to meet her other cat, Barney, a fourmonth- old ragdoll kitten.

The retired 53-year-old now hopes lightning strikes twice and she will be re-united with Charlie, a seven-year-old Balinese seal point, who went missing from her home earlier this year.

Meanwhile, to celebrate Benson’s homecoming, Prince Bishops veterinary practice is offering pet microchipping at a reduced price.

Anyone who has their pet microchipped before the end of November and produces this article when doing so, will get a £5 discount. The usual charge for cats and dogs is £15.