July 9, 2018 5:55 pm
Updated: August 13, 2018 2:55 pm

Brampton family reunited with lost tabby cat 5 years after he went missing

WATCH ABOVE: A family in Brampton got an unexpected surprise when an animal control officer knocked on their door. They had found their missing cat that hadn't been seen for five years. Katherine Ward reports.

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Five years ago Sherri Oakley lost a member of her family.

Her adopted Tabby kitten named Leo went missing without a trace.

“It was horrible, we couldn’t [handle] not knowing what happened to him,” Oakley told Global News on Monday. “You grieve like you would a family member.”

Leo was more of an indoor cat, but every so often he would wander outside under a watchful eye to play with rabbits in the backyard.

One day a door was left open and Leo got spooked and took off.

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READ MORE: BooBoo the cat, missing from California, found happy and healthy in Guelph

Oakley looked in windows throughout the Brampton neighbourhood hoping someone may have picked him up thinking he was a stray. She also made several trips to the local shelter.

There was no sign of where he went.

But five years later there was an unexpected knock at the door — an animal control officer had a surprise.

“She came up the driveway and she said ‘are you missing a cat?’ And I said ‘yes,’“ Oakley explained.

Leo was there in a crate.

“I just went into shock and I still go into shock just thinking about it,” she said.

He was found just a few streets away from Oakley’s home.

He looked a little different, but the family dog recognized him right away.

Thanks to a microchip, animal control knew who to call when they found the tabby.

READ MORE: N.B. lost cat that came back 13 months later now off to B.C. to reunite with owner

Some people think micro chipping is like putting a GPS tracking device on your pet, but it’s not — the information only helps identify a lost pet when it’s found.

The most important thing is to pass that information on to the city.

City officials said that’s something many pet owners don’t take the time to do.

Oakley said she now feels like her family is complete.

“He’s jumping around just like he was before he left.”

And Oakley doesn’t plan to let Leo out to explore anytime soon.

“He doesn’t even want to go outside, he’s not hanging out at the door,” Oakley said. “It’s like he knows I’m staying in now I don’t like it out there.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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