A beloved family cat who went missing in Wiltshire two and a half years ago has fought all the odds to return home alive and well.

Chris and Anne Wardell were distraught when their cat Dennis disappeared from their family home in Manningford Bruce near Pewsey in April 2021.

Despite numerous searches and desperate Facebook appeals, the couple were unable to find Dennis and so registered his microchip on the missing pet database PetTrac.

As the years went by and they continued to hear nothing, the couple were forced to come to the conclusion that Dennis must have died.

But on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, Chris could not believe his ears when he received a surprise phone call from PetTrac to say that Dennis had been found alive and well, and had returned to the village.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Dennis the cat has spent over two years surviving out in the wild.Dennis the cat has spent over two years surviving out in the wild. (Image: Anne Wardell)

Steve and Sheila Smith who also live in Manningford Bruce had installed a wildlife camera in their garden for hedgehogs, and had noticed a skinny black cat regularly chomping on the hedgehog's food.

“He was very nervous but came back to their garden for food every day until they managed to entice him indoors. They then borrowed a scanner and found that his microchip was registered with PetTrac,” explained Anne Wardell.

The hedgehog lovers immediately contacted PetTrac and were astounded to find out that Dennis had been missing for over two years, and that his family lived less than a mile down the road.

“Dennis has always been a very curious cat, and often sneaked into cars & delivery vans. We think that he must have stowed away in a van or a lorry back in April 2021, been taken somewhere far from home & couldn’t get his bearings,” said Anne.

“He’d obviously been living on his wits trying to find his way home, and thankfully found himself in the garden of the lovely Steve & Sheila Smith, who treated him with such kindness.

“We are forever in their debt for getting Dennis back home where he is settling back in really well,” she added.

The Wiltshire couple are now urging all pet owners to get their pets microchipped and register them with PetTrac is they go missing.

“Microchipping is the reason we get to see our cat again. If only Dennis could talk and tell us where he’s been all these years,” said Anne.