Published: 00:01, 06 October 2017
A runaway moggy, known affectionately as Steven the KFC cat, has been reunited with his owners after surviving on popcorn chicken for three years.
The black cat, whose real name is Jack, went missing in 2014 and owner Fay Griffiths was devastated.
The 29-year-old said: “We moved from Iwade and kept him in for two weeks like you’re meant to, but when we let him out for the first time he didn’t come back.
“We were very sad and my son Jacob was only three at the time.”
But out of the blue, Fay received a call late one night. Although she wouldn’t normally pick up an unrecognised number, she had a hunch it was important.
Danielle Hoynes, a volunteer at Animals Lost and Found in Kent, delivered the news she’d tracked Jack down to the car park of KFC at the Sittingbourne Retail Park, off Mill Way.
She had managed to get close enough to scan the microchip of the cat, who had been spotted in the area for the past few years.
Fay, who lives in Westerham Road, Sittingbourne, said: “It proves just how important it is to have them chipped. It does work.
“Jacob is nearly six now and is so pleased, bless him. We’re all really excited.”
The cat’s journey home was not an easy one, and it took a couple of days to capture him, as he had evaded attempts earlier that week.
Fay, who teaches at a Chatham primary school, added: “My husband went down to KFC a couple of lunchtimes to try and tempt him out with popcorn chicken and get him in the cat carrier.
“The staff had named him Steven and said they would really miss him.
“He had a little party trick when he would wait until no cars were around and go up to the window to be fed leftover chicken.”
Thankfully, the nine-year-old puss has been given a clean bill of health, except for a bit of a weight gain from all of the fast food he’s been eating.
He is now home and “full of beans”.
"My husband went down to KFC a couple of lunchtimes to try and tempt him out with popcorn chicken" - Fay Griffiths
Animals Lost and Found in Kent is a volunteer-led group that helps reunite lost animals with their owners.
Volunteer Danielle Hoynes has been working with the organisation for the past two years, and spotted Jack.
She said: “Most people are aware of the KFC cat and he’d moved into the car park of Pizza Hut when I managed to get close enough to scan him.
“But when I went to get the cat carrier he ran off.”
She phoned owner Fay, who was “over the moon” to hear he’d been found.
It took Danielle three days working with Fay’s husband Matt to capture the moggy, and it was Danielle’s daughter, Aiah, who managed to win his trust and catch him.
Danielle added: “If they get them chipped, then if the worst happens they are saving themselves heartbreak.
"If they have an indoor cat, people don’t see the need, but if they get out then they have no bearings whatsoever.
"It doesn’t cost a lot of money to have your pet chipped – you’re paying £10 or £15 for absolute peace of mind.”