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Cat who escaped at motorway services in Gloucester is found still living there seven months later


Millie with animal rescuer Louise Davies and her owners Shaun and Pauline (Picture: ALFIG/SWNS)

A cat that vanished at a motorway service station during a family stop has been found still living there – seven months later.

Two-year-old cat Millie leapt free from her cat basket while her owners Shaun Ore, 56, and Pauline Dearing, 42 stopped at Gloucester Services last June.

The frantic couple spent nine hours searching the service station for their beloved pet, before leaving to continue their journey.

After they’d all but given up hope, this week they were contacted by Louise Davies from Animals Lost and Found in Gloucestershire (ALFIG) to say the cat had been found by staff at the services.

Pauline said: ‘She was just Millie, I gave her a big cuddle and she went belly up in my arms.’

Shaun said: ‘I was a bit wary if she might bite but she was normal when she saw us, she’s gone back to her old sort of ways. To survive on the M5 is just amazing.’

Shaun and Pauline, who now have four other cats, were making the journey from West Bromwich back to St Ives, Cornwall on June 12 when they made a pit stop on the M5.

They had adopted brown and black-coloured Millie after Pauline lost her father, and she accompanied them on their trip to help her get used to car journeys.

Pauline Dearing reunited with Millie after seven months (Picture: ALFIG/SWNS)

When they got her out of her crate to stretch her legs, however, Millie managed to wiggle free of her harness, dashing out over the grass that covers the rest stop building.

The distraught couple got permission to search the premises and roof, but eventually were forced to give up after nine hours.

Shaun said: ‘It was devastating to be honest, I didn’t want to leave.

‘I went back up a few times, I took her favourite treats and I had something of Pauline’s.

‘It wasn’t the same, you’re used to having something there day and night and then suddenly something had left.’

Pauline says Millie’s disappearance affected the family deeply, as they’d initially gotten her for ‘a bit of companionship and something to cuddle’. And, as they’d adopted her as a feral cat, it was feared she’d never return.

Millie is now happily back at home (Picture: ALFIG/SWNS)

That didn’t stop them doing as much as possible to locate the errant moggy, with Pauline, Shain, and Louise at ALFIG joined by a team who handed out posters and asked locals if they’d seen her.

It was five weeks ago that the call they’d been hoping for finally came, with Dan Jenkins from Gloucester Services phoning Louise to report he’d spotted a cat that matched Millie’s description.

Although initially she was reluctant to let anyone near her, manager at the service station Tom Hibberd began luring her in with food. They were eventually able to catch her, and a check of her microchip confirmed the cat was Millie.

Pauline said: ‘We were shocked! I actually texted [Louise] back to say “are you joking?”‘

The delighted couple were thrilled when Millie went straight over to Pauline, and she has since made herself comfy sleeping in her old favourite spots in their house.

Shaun and Pauline have since made a donation to ALFIG, an entirely volunteer-run group based in Cheltenham but covering the whole county.

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