‘Miracle’ cat Charlie returns to Harrogate home after four-week search
Last updated Aug 21, 2023
Erika and Jack reunited with Charlie today.

An overjoyed Harrogate family is today celebrating the return of a cat who went missing for four agonising weeks.

Erika Hartness spent hours a day searching for seven-year-old Charlie after the Tonkinese disappeared on July 22.

She plastered the area with posters, flooded social media with appeals and put up a £500 reward.

But when Charlie, who had never been away for more than two nights, did not return after a few days she began to fear the worst.

Nevertheless, she and 17-year-old son Jack continued to search under hedges and explore every possible lead and then last night the family received the best surprise ever.

Erika recalls:

“Me and my husband Paul were in separate rooms at home when we heard this almighty miaow. We both thought ‘that’s Charlie’ and ran to the back door.”

It was indeed a bedraggled, emaciated but very much alive Charlie. He had lost half his weight, but otherwise seemed fine.

This image taken today shows how emaciated Charlie is.

A trip to the vet today confirmed Charlie requires nothing but food and tender loving care.

The family is still unsure what happened but Erika believes the wandering moggy got trapped, perhaps in a shed, and was eventually let out — possibly by someone who had just returned from holiday. She said:

“We don’t know how he survived for four weeks without food or how he got water. It’s an absolute miracle he’s alive.

“Even the vet said he should be dead.”

Charlie is now recovering at home, miaowing profusely for food and cuddles. He hasn’t ventured outdoors.

One of the posters.

He used to sleep alongside Raffles, the family Labrador, who died five weeks before Charlie’s disappearance.

Erika wonders whether Charlie went looking for Raffles on the day he went missing.

The family, which even enlisted the support of a company that helps to find missing pets, was overwhelmed by support. Erika said:

“We want to say a really big thank you to everybody. The help we’ve had has been amazing.”

She remains curious about Charlie’s missing month and said if anyone had any information to get in touch.

“There’s probably an entirely innocent person out there who saw a cat shoot out of a shed and didn’t think much of it.”

If you have any information, email us at [email protected] and we will pass on the message to Erika.

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