I had so many call outs and took his basket with me every time. each call out was false hope but I was grateful for everyones help. Back in 2005 I didn't really know much about the online stuff!
Last week of July 2005 I'd been out for a birthday meal with family and my sister dropped my off home about 11pm. There is a road between two woods about one minute from my home. She saw Joey cross the road - her car headlights picked him up. She called me as she was afraid he'd run off or dart into the road. Mum was staying over to help search next day. That night we walked up to the woods and walked along the verge by the road and woods. I had a jingling sound - maybe a collar bell - following me and then it stopped. Silence. Joey was never a cat that miaowed. I decided it wasn't him.
The day after my birthday a woman came to my door - a black and white cat fed in her garden each night. She studied the picture in my kitchen window and promised to call when he returned. I couldn't raise my hopes.
She called and I walked to her home, a street away, and the opposite direction to the woods. I did not take his basket as I expected another false call out. A cat was curled by the fence, hidden in the shadows. I thought no, not him. Afterall he'd recognise my voice too.
Then the cat got up and walked away. The street lights were on - it was Joey. Luckily the woman's two cats blocked his way.
'Joey!' I called out. He turned, saw me and came running to me, miaowing for the first time. He sat cradled in my lap and purred.
He was unwell because of whatever he'd eaten but the vets put him right. He and Sam, best of friends before, resumed there friendship after a little hissing from Sam.
Eventually I knew I had to let him out and we began slowly ... harness, doorstep until one day took the brave choice of letting him be a cat that goes outside.
I found it odd, that when i went to the woods following one path, Joey was walking the other path, opposite direction, to this lady's garden at the same time as me.
We now live in Norfolk. He stays by my side (his choice) and goes out for a few hours and never far. And we still keep in touch with Jodie.
Joey has also been in Your Cat magazine.