A CAT which survived for seven weeks trapped beneath a kitchen cabinet after its owners moved house has been reunited with the family.

Lucky 14-year-old Lucy, had been left behind when the Duke family moved from Stone, near Dartford in Kent to the Highland Capital.

Unbeknown to the Dukes, or the new owner of their former house, Lucy had become trapped but survived without food and apparently, no water.

Fortunately, she was discovered just in time and, having been nursed back to health, finally made it up to the Highlands to be reunited with her relieved owners at their new home in Westhill — three months after the move and at an additional cost of more than £1000.

Geoff Duke, who works for an Inverness medical firm, loaded up the removal truck before he and his wife, Debbie, and their children, Bradley (13) and Melissa (18 months) stayed in a hotel the night before catching the plane from Heathrow to Inverness. They had arranged to pick up the cat from the house en route to the airport.

“Morning came, the taxi was in the driveway with its engine running,” Mr Duke recalled. “We all hunted high and low but the cat could be found nowhere in the house.”

They assumed that the cat had escaped when the enthusiastic new owner started stripping walls with a sander the previous afternoon.

“The cat was clearly missing,” Mr Duke said. “Having made a very hard but obvious decision to continue to the airport, the upset and stress on the journey to Heathrow was almost unbearable.”

Their old neighbours took up the search, fixing posters to lamp-posts virtually all the way to the M25 and details were entered on “lost cat” websites.

“Several weeks went by, life went on, and we became resigned to the fact that we would never see Lucy again,” Mr Duke said.

But almost seven weeks after moving to Inverness, they received a message that Lucy had been found. She had been living under the plinth below the kitchen cabinets.

Subsequently, Lucy was taken to a local vet who initially thought the cat was dead on arrival but, after being put on a drip, she responded well to treatment.

“We were told that for the cat to survive after this time she must have an incredible will to live,” Mr Duke said.

“How the cat had survived with no food was a miracle in itself but, dehydrated though she clearly was, how she survived with no water at all, or where she was getting water from was a big mystery that we shall never know the answer to.”

Their previous neighbours looked after Lucy until she was certified fit to travel by the vet. Mr Duke flew down to collect her and then brought her back on a flight from Heathrow, seemingly unaffected by her ordeal.

The cost of Lucy’s disappearance included more than £600 in vet’s bills and the air fares.

“It is one of those things,” Mr Duke reflected philosophically. “She deserved it, given she could survive all that time and had shown an incredible will to live.”