Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 13:26 UK

Lost cat turns up 500 miles away

Sampson the cat
It is not clear how Sampson got as far as Plymouth

A missing cat has been found almost 500 miles away from his Scottish home, more than a year after he went missing.

Sampson was handed in to a vet centre in Plymouth, Devon, on Sunday - 478 miles away from Penicuik in Midlothian.

The cat, who had been thought to be a stray in Plymouth, was identified by a micro-chip, and will now be reunited with owner Linda Jansen.

Ms Jansen said: "Forget the Proclaimers, my cat really did walk 500 miles."

She said: "I have no idea how he travelled so far. He may have been trying to get home but was walking in the wrong direction."

Ms Jansen and her two daughters Kirsten, 12, and Lauren, 16, first rescued Sampson from a cat sanctuary in the Borders.

She said: "A lot of people knew him. He was such a character and really was the man of the house, it was so strange when he went missing and we couldn't find him."

She had given up hope of seeing her the cat again and even crossed his name off at his vet.

Then on Sunday she received a call from the Woodlands Veterinary Surgery in the Devon town.

'Shock and elation'

She said: "I couldn't sleep at all after I got the call. I had given up on seeing him again. The odd thing is that he is a very bad traveller, he always gets car sick when he travels so I can't imagine him lasting on a long road trip like that."

Because of the distances involved Ms Jansen was unsure how to bring Sampson home and approached Edinburgh-based Eagle Couriers to find out about shipping charges.

After hearing the full story the firm then offered to transport the cat for free.

Director Fiona Deas said: "His is one of the most amazing pet stories I have ever heard. I don't suppose we'll ever find out how the animal ended up on the south coast of England, but we can make sure it gets home safely.

"As an animal lover myself I can't even begin to imagine the kind of shock and elation the owner must be feeling at the moment."

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