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A 12-year-old cat named Forbes wandered away from his home in Aberdeen, Scotland, ten years ago. Thanks to a microchip, Forbes is now back with his family, Neil and Lucy Henderson. Long ago, they had given up hope of ever seeing their beloved pet again. Now, they are “over the moon” and have realized a “dream come true.”

“This is just the best outcome for us. We never thought we would see him again,” said Neil Henderson. “It’s like a closed chapter has just opened up. It’s a dream come true.”

Cat named Forbes

(Images: SSPCA)

Forbes Disappeared in 2011

In March 2011, Forbes went missing from the Aberdeen home, and the family started a long search. As part of the efforts, a friend made posters, and they went door-to-door looking. While speaking to neighbors, they even asked people to check their garages and sheds. But, the young kitty was nowhere to be seen.

Forbes, missing cat

Image via BBC News

“We’d had him from when he was a kitten and we had such a special bond,” Neil said. “He was such a unique and friendly character, we absolutely adored him.”

Although they looked far and wide, the search went cold. Finally, after the better part of a year went by, they began to think “the worst may have happened.” 

Three years later, the couple moved to Edinburgh, 128 miles south.

Forbes is Found Less Than Two Miles from Home

According to the Daily Recordless than two miles away from his home in Aberdeen, Forbes, now thin with “protruding bones,” turned up wandering in the Ferrier Gardens area. According to the Press and Journal, the cat was sheltering underneath a trampoline.

Then, Animal rescue officer Greg Stevenson from the SSPCA went to pick up the cat after receiving a phone call. When he arrived, Forbes was “very friendly.” Even better, this cat had a microchip, so the officer soon had the cat’s name, address, and contact information. Of course, the officer couldn’t have known how old that information was.

First, Stevenson went to Forbe’s address, but nobody was home. Then, he called the phone number, and by some amazing luck, it rang. Soon, a delighted Stevenson was on the phone with Lucy Henderson, who was initially speechless. After a few minutes to take it all in, she called her husband to share the wonderful news. 

“Forbes was found less than two miles from where he went missing though we have no way of knowing where Forbes had been all this time or what adventures he might have been on,” said Stevenson. 

Forbes the cat

Now, everyone was thrilled and amazed to hear that Forbes was going home – after a full decade.

You Might Want to Pull Over

When Lucy called her husband, he was driving. So, she told him that he had better pull over.

“My wife phoned when I was on the motorway and she told me I had to pull over. I was completely unprepared for what I was about to be told and hearing that Forbes had been found left me completely astounded,” said Mr. Henderson.

Overcome with emotion, Neil immediately turned around and went straight home. 

Going Back in Time

The next day, the couple traveled north to Aberdeen and immediately recognized Forbes. It was like going back in time. 

“That whole chapter of my life closed; I’ve been trying to put it into words; it’s such a weird mix of nostalgia,” he said. 

“It takes us back to ten years ago when we were in Aberdeen, the job I had then, the things we were doing, it’s like it’s been locked in time when I look at him.

“It’s like one of those dreams where you wake up and think ‘damn it’, but it’s the reverse, I keep looking at him and thinking ‘Forbes, you’re actually in my house.'”

So, now the family has a waking dream every time they see their house cat.

Imagining Forbes Adventures

Meanwhile, Lucy Henderson, a teacher, has told her students about the experience. Now, they will write stories imagining what the cat had been up to. 

“The kids are really excited, they’re going to write little stories and things about the adventures of Forbes.”

Mr. Henderson, too, has imagined scenarios about what Forbes had gotten up to.

“I don’t think the reality is quite what I have in my head, I like to imagine him on a sailboat galivanting around the world, but he probably just kicked about it Aberdeen.”

Otherwise, he says, it’s possible Forbes, once fond of catnaps, was having one very long nap, he muses, like a sort of feline Rip Van Winkle.

Forbes sleeping

Forbes Makes Up For Lost Time

When they first saw each other after ten years, Neil instantly knew it was Forbes. Likewise, it seemed the cat likely recognized his dad.

“…When he was brought out, I recognized him immediately. Forbes did give me a big cuddle so I’m hopeful that he remembered us.”

Neil Henderson meets Forbes again

After the incredible reunion, Forbes received veterinary care and was in good health other than exposure to mites and worms. After treatment, Forbes finally returned home and was soon up to some of his old habits again.

“Since coming home, he has adopted habits he used to have. In my younger days, I used to stay up late, and Forbes would come in the room and start meowing at me until I turned off the video game I was playing and went to bed,” said Neil.

Neil and Lucy Henderson with their cat

Then, Forbes began making up for lost time and cuddles.

“This was so he could come and cuddle in to me. He’s started doing the same thing again, which is so heartwarming.”

A Happy and Incredible Ending

Today, the family has two cats and two dogs, slowly being introduced to their long-lost cat.

“He is staying inside while he gets used to everything, and the other animals get used to his scent, and vice versa. He’s exploring a new room each day.”

Lucy and Neil Henderson with their cat

A Good Reminder About Taking in Cats

Who knows where Forbes lived for the last ten years? Since he was so friendly, it seems unlikely the cat was living feral for the whole time. For Stevenson, it’s a reminder that, even though it may be tempting, it’s often best not to invite a cat inside if it’s not yours. 

“Due to the roaming nature of cats, they can go missing or return to homes where they have previously been fed. No matter how tempting it is to invite a cat that is not yours into your home, please don’t do this as it can cause great upset for owners.”

After ten years, it’s incredible to see such a reunion, which the family had only dreamed about. Now, Forbes will enjoy his golden years with the people who love him so very much.

“We never thought we would see him again,” said Neil. “It’s like a closed chapter has just opened up. It’s a dream come true,” he told the BBC.

What an amazing story and a great reminder that microchipping works and cats can sometimes turn up long after you might think possible. Cats are incredibly resourceful. If only we could ask Forbes what he’s been up to all this time.

 

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