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A woman has been reunited with her cat, which had been missing for eight months, after recognising its meow during a phone call.

Rachael Lawrence, of Braintree in Essex, said she recognised the mew in the background as she rang the vet to check on her other cat, Torvi, who was in for a procedure.

The 40-year-old mother-of-three said she asked whether it was Torvi meowing but was told: “No, that’s just a stray we had brought in a week ago”.

Barnaby, who is almost two, went missing last year. Ms Lawrence said she rang the vet back “a couple of hours” later, adding: “It was just bugging me because I recognised the meow.”

She said she had asked if the cat was black and was told it was, and then asked whether it had a white patch on one of its back feet and was again told yes.

Ms Lawrence brought photos of Barnaby, given the nickname Fatman by his family, when she went to collect Torvi and said she “knew it was him”.

“I cried,” she said. “We hadn’t seen him for eight months.” She added that she had video called her children to tell them the news and said: “He’s back home where he should be. He’s getting on so well.”

Ms Lawrence said Barnaby has “loads of scabs and he’s all skinny and missing fur” but is “more than happy to be picked up and cuddled”. She added: “We just need to fatten him up to get him back to being Fatman.”

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