Sharon Davison was heart-broken when her beloved cat Ninny Fonza vanished from her Raumati South farmland home, on the Kāpiti Coast, in July last year.
Exhaustive searches and inquiries proved fruitless for the smoky chocolate Devon cat and then all hope was lost when Sharon moved to Tūrangi in February this year.
But she has just received a phone call which has changed her world — Ninny Fonza was alive albeit quite skinny.
A few days earlier Jessica Pallikaros and her mother Deborah were driving out of Nīkau Valley, near Paraparaumu, when they saw a cat run into bushes.
They thought it was a bit strange as cats aren't normally seen in the area.
The next night the cat appeared on their Nīkau Valley property, which was some distance from where they last saw it, and was promptly chased up a tree by family dog Coco.
Despite the earlier altercation the cat was back at the Pallikaros address the following night, curled up on an outside couch.
The family made a fuss of the cat, who was very friendly, gave him some food, which it demolished, made the couch more comfortable with some cushions and a blanket, and even Coco was well behaved.
Jessica posted an image of the cat on social media which led to Claire Brown, from Vets on Riverbank, Ōtaki, offering to scan the cat to see if it had a microchip in it.
At the clinic a scan revealed Ninny Fonza's identity which led to a phone call to Sharon. Jessica and Deborah met her in Hunterville and a special reunion took place.
"It was so cool," Jessica said.
"I was kind of sad because we really liked him and we thought we would keep him if we couldn't find a home for him.
"The owner was so happy and it felt good to do the right thing."
Sharon was naturally delighted to have Ninny Fonza back.
"I just feel like I've won Lotto.
"All of my Christmases have come at once.
"I grieved, before I left Kāpiti, for months and months.
"We did so much to try and find him.
"I thought he was dead."
And Ninny Fonza was very content.
"He just won't leave me alone.
"And he won't leave the food bowl alone."