“They had found him as a stray and asked me to give him a thorough check-up before putting him up for rehoming,” said Vicky. “I scanned him for a microchip and contacted the national Pet Log database and was amazed to see that its owner lived in Ramsgate. However, when I telephoned the number given it was out of date, so I couldn’t contact the owner.”

Then Vicky, who lives in Rugby and has been with Avonvale for three years, had an idea and began to trace the veterinary practice that had inserted the microchip. She was then able to get up-to-date details and put in a call to the owner Amy McNeill.

“I couldn’t believe it when she rang to say that Tinkerbell was alive and well,” said Ms McNeill, who immediately made plans to catch a train to Leamington and taxi to Southam. “It took ten minutes for it to sink in—then I started to cry. He was about a year old when he went missing and we had given up on ever seeing him again. My son Jake asked about him every day and he was really excited about seeing him again.”

How Tinkerbell got to Southam is still a mystery but staff at Avonvale say it has been known for cats to find a snug place to go to sleep in furniture removals vans and awake to find themselves hundreds of miles away.