By Rory Reynolds
A CAT who disappeared and turned up in Plymouth more than a year later was finally reunited with its owner yesterday.
It is thought that Sampson – a large black and white cat – walked 500 miles to Plymouth after vanishing from his home in Penicuik in 2008.
Owner Linda was thrilled to see the nine-year-old pet after he toughed it out on the streets of the English port town for over a year.
Sampson was found after he was handed into a vet, who found a tracking chip in his neck and traced him back to Penicuik.
Linda says she’s thrilled to have him back, but will be keeping a watchful eye on him.She said: “On Sunday night I got a phone call completely out of the blue, just as I was going to bed, saying ‘I’m a vet calling from Plymouth, do you have a cat called Sampson’?
“I said I used to have a cat called Sampson but he’s been missing for over a year.
“And they explained that he’d just been handed in.
“I’ve absolutely no idea how he got down there – it’s possible he could have climbed into the back of a removal van or a car or something, but he’s a very very bad traveller.
“Not only does he cry but he’s also sick a lot, so I really think somebody would have known if he was in their car – he probably would have got thrown out.
“I think he might have walked actually because he’s very sociable so and he could have got food on the way and stopped in at peoples’ houses.
“He’s quite good at looking after himself, a mixture of that and bin-raking.
“We had the curtains open and we saw the person from Eagle Couriers with him, and my daughter screamed out “he’s here!”.
“So we rushed to the door and there he was in his carrier basket.
“It’s just amazing really – I actually think he’s put on weight and his coat is looking a bit thicker.
“It’s just like he’s never been gone, although the first thing he did was go directly to the kitchen – which isn’t a kitchen anymore.”
When asked what Linda thought Sampson was doing in Plymouth, she said: “Maybe he was trying to get to France, or trying to see a bit more of the world.
“I’ll try and keep an eye on him – but he is an adventure cat.
“I’ve no idea how he got there and how long he’s been living there, but it’s lovely to have him back really.”
June Dyer from Eagle Couriers said: “Linda contacted Eagle and asked how possible it would be to get a cat back from Plymouth.
“We said that we would collect it and bring it back to Penicuik free of charge.
“Sampson was as good as gold and sat in the passenger seat next to the driver.
“He wasn’t sick or anything like that at all and I think he enjoyed the ride back up to Scotland.
“We do vet runs so it’s not unusual to carry pets – but it is unusual to go to Plymouth to pick up a cat and bring it back up here.
“We did this free of charge because we were happy to help, and we’re glad that this story had a happy ending.”