A WOMAN has been reunited with her beloved pet cat after spending three years apart.

Mrs Gillard spent the last three years "grieving her best friend" after her six-year-old Siamese cat, Champers, went missing in 2016.

The cat-owner had released Champers into the garden before it mysteriously disappeared from the Barrow neighbourhood.

Mrs Gillard, who lives on Dalton Lane, said: "I had just moved house and Champers was unfamiliar with the surroundings.

"When he first went missing, I was walking up and down Abbey Road, I was so distraught.

"I looked all over Barrow, I even went to Ulverston. It was the not knowing that was the worst part - I was distraught."

Mrs Gillard spent the next three years embarking on a 'missing pet' campaign, using posters, online appeals and search parties to spread the word.

She said: "There's been a few sightings over the years which has amounted to nothing.

"I was starting to lose hope.

"I always used to think of him when I was going to sleep and wish that

wherever he was they were looking after him."

Mrs Gillard received the news that her beloved Champers was alive and well on Sunday evening.

She said the reunion was like "a family member being returned to me."

She said: "A lady on Ruskin Avenue called me to say she had spotted a Siamese cat in her neighbour's garden.

"I drove down and knew instantly it was him.

"It was such a sense of relief and excitement.

"Imagine not seeing someone for that period of time, it was like having my dreams come true."

Due to the well-kept condition of the returning pet, Mrs Gillard is convinced he had been looked after by a resident.

She said: "His nails weren't dirty or in poor condition, someone had been feeding and grooming him, I'm sure of it."

Since his return, Mrs Gillam is keeping a close eye on her feline friend, refusing to let him roam the streets.

She said: "I'm just so relieved to have him home.

"I don't want to let him out of my sight."