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Ameeka

Meowricle! London cat found 150 miles from home reunited with owners

A London cat who travelled 150 miles from home was miraculously reunited with her owners last month.

Ameeka, 3, went missing on 22nd September this year, leaving her owner Ash Shakel and his family devastated.

Three weeks later, she was found on an industrial estate in Rugeley, over 100 miles from her home in Plaistow, Newham.

Shakel said he was gobsmacked when he found out how far Ameeka had gone.

A photo of Ameeka the cat. She has yellow eyes and black and white fur, and a small cat collar around her neck.
ADORABLE: Ameeka was raised from a kitten by Shakel and his family Credit: Ash Shakel

He said: “When she went missing our family was just depressed. We weren’t even talking to each other, we were just searching for her.

“Weeks went by yet we didn’t give up hope.”

Ameeka was found on the estate by software engineer Rob Billingham, who initially thought she was a cat from nearby.

He realised she was lost when she tried to follow him to the estate’s canteen, and decided to scan her microchip with his RFID device.

He knew to check for a microchip as he is a cat lover himself.

Billingham said: “I had a cat who was 20 and passed away last year. I had him for a very long time and he was my best friend.”

A photo of Ameeka on the industrial estate next to Mr Billingham's knee.
HERO: Billingham found the beloved cat and called Rugeley Cat Society for their help Credit: Rob Billingham

After Billingham scanned the Microchip he contacted Rugeley Cat Society to get their help in tracing Ameeka’s owners.

Rugeley Cat Society was founded in 2013 by Sallie Young after she lost her cat Doris and has helped reunite 256 missing cats with their owners.

Katrina Hemmings and Leanne Atkinson, two trustees of the charity, came to the estate and helped catch her.

Hemmings said Ameeka had lost a bit of weight and wasn’t very happy, scratching and biting Billingham as she was lifted into their cat carrier.

Hemmings explained: “She’d been in territorial mode, she’d got to try and survive and everything like that.

“She’d done pretty good really because she wasn’t in that bad a condition.”

She took Ameeka to her house and gave the feline food, water and treats as she waited in a specially fitted out cat kabin more usually used by the society for foster cats.

That evening, Shakel and his brother drove up to collect her, bringing flowers and chocolates for the trio.

A photo of Mr Shakel holding Ameeka.
REUNITED: Thanks to her microchip and the help of strangers, Ameeka was returned safely to her family Credit: Ash Shakel

Shakel says Ameeka wasn’t sure what to make of him at first but started returning to her usual self on the drive back.

She is now happily settled back into the family’s home.

It is not yet known how Ameeka got to Rugeley.

One theory is that she got trapped inside a van and accidentally driven up to the Staffordshire town.

However, Shakel suspects a possible catnapping, as Ameeka lost her collar the day before she went missing.

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