He disappeared from his Market Harborough home on August 18, slipping out of the front door late one evening.
Three months later there was still no sign of Noël the cat, and the Colley family who had launched a campaign to find him, had given up hope of ever seeing him again.
They had even adopted a new cat - Trish - from the same rescue centre.
But Noël was not lost. On November 19, he allowed himself to be handed in to the Town & Country Veterinary Centre on the town’s Northampton Road.
And thanks to his microchip, Noël was back for Christmas with Hannah and Simon Colley and their children Thomas (11) and Niamh (nine).
Hannah Colley, who runs IT business Indigo Computing, said: “When the vets told me they had him, I assumed he must have been handed in to them dead.
“When I heard he was alive, I finished a meeting pretty quickly! It was wonderful to see him again and he climbed straight into his cat carrier as if to say ‘take me home’! We are looking forward to a happy Christmas all together!”
Harriet Goulden, Head Nurse at Town & Country Vets, added: “Microchipping involves the implantation of a device about the size of a grain of rice into your pet’s neck. It will certainly increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to find your pet, should they go missing.”