A CAT who has been missing for more than 12 years has finally been reunited with its family.

Black-and-white Quincey was reported missing from his home in Witham by loving owner Margaret Smith in December 2006.

Despite months of searching, Quincey could not be found and Margaret sadly died two years later always believing he must have been killed in a car accident or from an illness.

But 12 years on, the self-sufficient puss was taken in by volunteers at Cats Protection’s Colne Valley Branch after he was reported as a stray living in Braintree.

A quick scan showed Margaret’s details, and further research by Cats Protection volunteers using social media sites located her daughter Paula, who lives in Braintree.

Paula, who decided to keep her late mother’s cat, said: “My mum really adored Quincey, he was such a friendly and lovable cat. She was heart-broken when he went missing and searched high and low for him, without any luck.

"Because Quincey had epilepsy, we thought he must have had a fatal fit, or had been hit by a car. Mum eventually moved on and even got another cat, before she passed away two years later.

" I saw a post on Facebook from the local branch of Cats Protection trying to trace relations of Margaret Smith, along with a photo of Quincey. I really couldn’t believe it and phoned straight away."

She added: "It’s such wonderful news, and so great to see Quincey again. All my family are huge cat lovers, so I had no hesitation in taking him in.

"He’s a very old cat now, but he’ll be getting lots of cuddles and attention so he can live out his older years in comfort."

"Mum would have been really pleased he’s finally made his way back to us, as she really adored him."

The happy reunion comes as Cats Protection renews calls for a change in the law to ensure that all owned cats, like dogs, are microchipped.

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations said: “It’s always lovely to hear of stories where cats have been reunited with their owners, but most of these happy endings are only possible if a cat has been microchipped.

“Microchipping is an essential part of responsible pet ownership, and is already compulsory for dogs. This should now be extended to ensure all owned cats are microchipped, giving the same level of protection to keep them safe and protected.”