Mee-wow! Misty the cat returns after 3 years on the run
A family cat has been reunited with its owners after nearly three years on the run.
On Monday Misty, a four-year-old moggie from Jordanstown, Co Antrim, was back home with retired civil servant Chris Ball after she went missing in June 2011.
The runaway tabby has been on quite an adventure since she stowed away in an east Belfast furniture delivery van when the Balls' neighbours got a new bed delivered.
It is thought she has been living in the docks area of the city for at least one of those years.
Mr Ball (65) and his wife Alexandra had given up hope of ever seeing Misty again, so were astonished when their son got a call this week from a steel worker to say she had surfaced just 10 miles from home, at the Harland & Wolff shipyard.
"She has returned home much to our shock and amazement," Mr Ball said.
"We are delighted. We were visiting our son Adam in London when our other son James got the call. He collected her straight away."
The Balls got Misty and her brother Smudge as kittens in June 2010 from Cats Protection in Dundonald, Co Down.
The hero of the story is Ballysillan man Chris Harris (30), a steel worker at Harland & Wolff, who said Misty had been knocking around the harbour area for quite a while.
"Some of the boys said they had seen her running about the shipyard over the last year," he said. "She was sitting near my feet and I saw she had a collar on. So we coaxed her closer with biscuits and I got hold of her. I called the number on her collar and couldn't believe it when he said she had been missing for three years."
Now Smudge is learning to get used to having his wayward sister home.
"We took Misty to the vet to get inoculated and the vet says it might take two or three weeks before they are old pals again," Mr Ball explained.
"They are a bit wary of each other at the minute, but Misty seems to know all her old haunts and knows she is back home."
Mr Harris has been rewarded by Mr Ball for helping reunite him with his pet.
"We gave him a small gift, a little something to put into his cup of tea of a morning, if you know what I mean. It will warm his chest," he said.