Family Finds Cat Six Years Later Only To Get Bad News in Return


Tabs was found lying in the street nearby his old forever home. Tabs had been missing for six years. His family was certain Tabs had just been waiting for them to return. Tabs was 13 years old when his family last saw him in February of 2013, and 6 years had passed since then. Tabs was now 19 years old. Lucky for him, he got one last chance to be with his forever family. Jude Corr and John Kinloch, husband and wife, celebrated Christmas Eve 2019 with Tabs. Tabs wasn’t meant to be lost. Jude and John had simply moved from their home in Gillingham to Isle of Sheppey, Kent. Tabs had moved to the new home with them. But Tabs disappeared soon after the move. John had been devastated when Tabs went missing. Jude told Independent reporter Olivia Petter that her husband had kept Tabs’ photo as his screensaver all those years. She said that he “never changed it” in all those years. She also said that he had “not stopped crying” since Tabs was discovered. For Jude, the reunion of Tabs and John was as if the two were best friends who had been reunited.

Jude felt that Tabs may have been waiting to see them again. She couldn’t understand how it was possible for Tabs to survive at his age. Tabs had lost a lot of weight, but his face was still the same. For both Jude and John, having Tabs back was what she called, “a Christmas miracle”. It was truly amazing that Animal Rescue volunteer Lisa Jones spotted Tabs near Gillingham, Kent. She had just been out to buy her daughter a toy and she was walking home. She said that she spotted a cat at the end of her road. She said that the cat was “looking poorly, was skinny, and really matted”. As the 32-year-old mother of three, Jones admitted that she had been homeless herself at one time and because she knew what it felt like, she decided to “look after” the cat. According to, Tabs was lying in the street close to the Kinloch’s old home when she found him.

Jones told KentOnline that took Tabs to her home and gave him a little bath in her sink. She also fed him and gave him a gentle cuddle in a purple towel. Jones had saved other animals before, including a mouse and a pigeon. She had planned to keep Tabs permanently. But she called Kent’s Animals Lost and Found charity and Tabs’ owners were identified through his microchip.  Luckily, the microchip included his name and the Kinloch’s phone number. Kent’s Animals Lost and Found Director Natasha McPhee called Jude and John at about 8pm and they “drove immediately” to retrieve Tabs. They drove all the way from Isle of Sheppey to Gillingham; a distance of about 20 miles. They were so shocked that they thought the call was a prank. But when Jones told them the cat’s name was Tabs, they knew it was their beloved tabby cat.

Tabs had gotten lost. He had returned to his former home in Gillingham where things were familiar. Apparently, Tabs had survived on his own in his familiar surroundings while waiting for his forever family to come home. The only thing different for Jude and John at the reunion was his appearance. Tabs had sores all over his body. His spine was sticking up from his back, and his fur was very matted. Jude and John, both employed as prison workers, drove Tabs home, but the journey was tough on him. Though Tabs ate his first good meal in perhaps a long time before starting the long drive home, he vomited in the car. Jude told SWNS via Fox News, England, that they took Tabs to the vet for a check-up two days later. It only took the vet one look at the bedraggled male tabby to tell John and Jude that it was time for Tabs “to go to heaven”. Jude believed that Tabs “was stronger than any of them knew”. She was convinced that if Lisa Jones hadn’t seen Tabs that night, Tabs would have died right there in the road at the back of their old house. But Tabs got a chance to come home with John and spend time with Jude, Ziggy, their other cat, and Pip, their Jack Russell.

Jude saw Ziggy helping Tabs to find the food bowl. She believed that Ziggy recognized Tabs even “after all those years” and that she knew it “sounded corny”. Jude saw that the other pets could tell that Tabs was ill. They had propped Tabs on top of a hot water bottle to help comfort him. Both Pip the dog and Ziggy the cat had given Tabs “a good sniff” when he arrived. The other pets seemed to welcome him but also moved cautiously when near Tabs.  For Jude and John, Christmas 2019 was what Jude called “a rollercoaster of sadness and happiness”. They were delighted to gather Tabs home on Christmas Eve. They were fully aware that Tabs experiences had aged him considerably. They were just glad to have even a few moments more with him. They had no illusions when they took him to the vet to be checked because they knew that time was no longer on Tabs’ side. Ultimately, they donated £250 to Kent’s Animals Lost and Found. Jude’ mother matched the donation amount, too.

Reporter Michael Broad added an editorial comment to the end of the story. He suggested that all cat owners who move to a new home located within 20 miles or so from their previous home should check at their old address if their cat goes missing soon after the move. He mentioned that cats have a natural connection to their home territory which gives them a compulsion to return to it. Broad also reminded his readers that cats “are good navigators”. Broad’s research indicates that cats may be able “to detect the Earth’s magnetic field’ which allows them to use the field as a form of compass. This could explain why so many cats, and dogs for that matter, are found at their old homes after their families moves away. One thing is certain. For John and Jude, their reunion with Tabs, though only two days long, gave them a treasured chance to be together again as a family. Tabs had the chance to experience the love of his forever family once more. It was a miraculous gift which they will never forget.

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