A Croydon couple are celebrating the return of their missing cat for the second time, after they inadvertently rescued an imposter named Nigel in a case of mistaken identity.

When Teddy, a Russian blue, failed to come home in early January, owners Linda and Martin Richardson reported him missing to Animal Search UK, an online database for lost pets.

A couple in Reigate, 11 miles away, contacted Linda, 58, to tell her they had just taken in a Russian blue with identical white markings. Relieved, Linda went to collect him the next day, taking 'Teddy' back to their South Croydon home.

When she heard a "tremendous commotion" outside the now blocked-off cat-flap a few days later, Linda assumed 'Teddy' had snuck out for a wander.

That evening, Martin called down to tell her the cat was upstairs in the bedroom, sleeping on his usual chair.

Looking at the sleeping cat beside her on the sofa, Linda realised there were two Teddys in the house.

"My husband told me I must've had too many glasses of wine, but I was looking right at him!" she said.

"It soon became clear we had two identical cats in the house.

"I had blocked off the cat-flap earlier so we wouldn't lose him again, so obviously I was a bit surprised when I heard noise from outside.

"I thought Teddy must have got out a window, so just let him in. It was only when my husband went upstairs that we noticed there was more than one in the house."


Given the cat upstairs had slept in Teddy's usual place in the bedroom, they knew he must be their own.

After they couldn't see any other Russian blues missing on Animal Search, the couple took Teddy's double to the vet, where he could be scanned for a microchip.

They discovered his name was in fact Nigel, and he was registered to a phone number and address back in Reigate.

Nigel's owner Oliver came to collect him later day. Oliver had only recently moved to the area, and assumed Nigel got lost when exploring.

"We're so delighted to have Teddy back, and so pleased to get Nigel back where he belongs, " Linda said.

"I was so amazed there was a cat so much like him. We think they may have come from the same breeder, given the identical markings."

On Nigel's arrival, Linda did have suspicions about changes in her pet's behaviour. However, her vet assured her it was normal for a cat to take a period to adjust after a traumatic ordeal.

Linda thought he must have hopped in a builders van to travel the substantial journey.

The two cats have the same identical patches of fur on their bellies and legs. Only on closer inspection did they realise Nigel had a tiny spot under his chin where Teddy did not.

Teddy is now back to his usual self, and has even been allowed to venture outside again.

Tom Watkins, founder of Animal Search UK, said “We also advise the public to register any found pets with us too.

"It's free and proactive, we'll check the lost pet database we manage.

"So, if you can't get the pet to a vet to have it scanned- all is not lost. we share their photos to our network of 80k nationwide volunteers and often have reunions in this way."

For more information visit: www.animalsearchuk.co.uk/report