Chloe Hill was 6 years old when her new kitten, Salem, disappeared.
The devastated 6-year-old and her mother, Karen, spent weeks searching their neighborhood, in Birmingham, England, before giving up.
Ten days ago, on Christmas Eve, 11 years later, Chloe and Salem were reunited.
Salem had been picked up and handed in to a Birmingham shelter. The staff scanned her for a microchip, and called Karen. At first, Karen thought it was a practical joke.
Chloe, now 17 and from Halesowen, said: “I just couldn’t believe it when I saw Salem again. I never thought she would come back after all these years.
Karen had adopted Salem for Chloe from a rescue group in 1999. ‘‘We’d only had her for a few weeks when she slipped out the front door one day and ran off. I couldn’t believe it when we got the call to say she had been found.”
Karen hurried over to the store for litter trays and food, and then brought the cat home to an unsuspecting Chloe.
“Mom asked me who I thought the cat was. I thought I recognized her as Salem, but I didn’t want to say as it seemed stupid because I thought there was no way it could be her.”
Where Salem had been living for the past 11 years is unknown, but she was brought to the shelter by a retired person who had been feeding her.