A CUMBRIAN cat whose disappearance left his owners heartbroken has mysteriously returned after a six-year absence.

After Biggles went missing one summer afternoon, Gillian Gibson thought the big, bushy-tailed animal may have perished.

But when Gillian and her husband, David, returned from a trip to Mexico, they found the much-loved cat, now bearing a large, unexplained scar around his neck, sitting in their garden at Crook, near Windermere.

“I was absolutely delighted to see him. It’s fabulous,” said Gillian, 54, who runs the Five Oaks care home with her husband, 65.

“I thought it couldn’t be Biggles but an hour later he was crying and trying to get in at the cat flap and then at our roof light.”

Now Mr and Mrs Gibson want to know what has happened to Biggles since he vanished in summer 2001.

Some of the personality traits of the 14-year-old cat have changed and now he is reluctant to go into the house that was once his home, even though his sister Piccalilli and auntie Dizzie are still there.

“He seems to have become a loner. He comes in the house in the middle of the night but he has been sleeping in the summer house,” said Mrs Gibson.

“We are trying to piece together what happened. Biggles is quite wary of people now and he does amble off.”

She said neutered Biggles never used to stray from the house but, since his return, has been spotted roaming the area.

The couple have taken video footage of Biggles to study in the hope of finding out more about how he picked up the scar.

Despite his becoming a wanderer, Mrs Gibson said she is glad to have him around once more.

“He is still a big, soft, loveable thing – and as lazy as he always was,” she said.