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Bailey returns home in time for purrfect Christmas in Ipswich - five years after going missing

PUBLISHED: 18:20 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:20 08 December 2017

Marina Dickings with her lost cat Bailey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Marina Dickings with her lost cat Bailey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Christmas has come early for one Ipswich woman who was reunited with her beloved cat Bailey this week - more than five years after he went missing.

Bailey gets a cuddle from Marina after he went missing for five years. Picture: GREGG BROWNBailey gets a cuddle from Marina after he went missing for five years. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Marina Dickings, a teacher at Stowmarket High School, last saw Bailey on August 5, 2012. After putting up posters, letting all the vets know, and spreading the word about her missing cat on Facebook, Mrs Dickings, 36, had eventually given up hope.

“I’d done pretty much everything you could do to get a cat back,” she said. “I thought he was dead.”

Five years later, on December 5, a Facebook ‘memory’ popped up on Mrs Dicking’s newsfeed with a post she shared five years previously about her missing cat.

She said: “I reposted it, and went to work feeling pretty sad.”

Marina Dickings lost her cat Bailey over five years ago. Last night she was reunited with him for the first time. Picture: GREGG BROWNMarina Dickings lost her cat Bailey over five years ago. Last night she was reunited with him for the first time. Picture: GREGG BROWN

By this time Mrs Dickings had several cats, but Bailey “was the original cat”.

It was only by chance that within two days, Marina’s now 11-year-old kitty would return home.

“I would never have imagined that Bailey would be in my arms within 48 hours,” she said.

It was Carla Huggins, from Ipswich, who saw a cat wondering around her garden in 2016. She took him in, saying: “He was in pretty poor condition. He had a bad back leg and bad back teeth.

“I love cats and hate seeing them hurt.”

Though microchipped, Miss Huggins’ attempts to return the cat - which she had named Beasty - to his owner were unsuccessful. The cat had clearly been missing a while, as the owner’s contact details on the microchip had changed.

Beasty’s leg, however, had gotten worse, so Miss Huggins ended up by calling Cat Rescue. Upon scanning him again, Andrea Grenfell from Cat Rescue decided to carry out an even more thorough search for the cat’s owner based on the outdated information held on the micro chip. This time, the search was successful, and Beasty, or more accurately, Bailey, was reunited with his long lost owner.

Miss Huggins said she was happy that Bailey had been returned, adding that: “I’ve never been able to pick him up and have a cuddle. But as soon as Marina cuddled him, he was calm.”

On hearing that Bailey had been found, Mrs Dickings was overjoyed. “After Bailey was lost, I had given up on getting my cats microchipped. But I tell you what. This weekend, all my cats are getting chipped.”

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