BUSHWOOD residents have been praised for their kindness after a lost cat was found 11 days after going missing.

The inquisitive eight-year-old Charlie had travelled more than 30 miles from his home in Kent after he climbed into a furniture van bound for London on March 1.

Distraught owners Mark and Linda Fishman, of Halling, realised that their much-loved pet had taken a trip to the capital after tracking down the furniture van and scouring its itinerary. The operators had seen a black and white cat jump out of the vehicle at another delivery address in E11 3AY.

Linda, 60, said: “We were devastated and in such a state when he went missing. We didn’t know where to start.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The poster the Fishmans put up for missing cat Charlie

The Fishmans' missing poster for Charlie

But, with a possible location in mind, the couple came to Bushwood every day for 11 days to search for Charlie, calling him, leaving his litter tray out and items of their clothing that he would be drawn to. Other family members also helped in the search.

But they were not alone as the neighbourhood also rallied to the plea on the couple’s Facebook page - Help Find Charlie.

Linda added: “We put posters through every door and posted Charlie’s photo on lampposts. We were given so much help and support from people in the area. They let us look in gardens and sheds and offered us cups of tea and food, even accommodation. We drove up to the area each day of our search and in the first two days we walked 20 miles calling for Charlie.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Charlie the cat jumped into a furniture delivery can in Halling, Kent, and hopped out in Leytonstone. He was later found in the Wanstead Flats area

Charlie the cat

Linda wanted to particularly mention resident Ruth Greenwood who posted the Charlie appeal on local Facebook pages and Michelle Linaker, who runs a cat protection group and advised on cat behaviour and how to lure Charlie out.

And on March 12 the mischievous runaway was spotted on a path in the Wanstead Flats area. Eagle-eyed passers-by recognised him and tried to take him home, but Charlie was afraid of their dog. He followed them, however, and sat on their porch before they took him in to safety and phoned the Fishmans.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Linda Fishman gives Charlie a hug

Linda Fishman gives Charlie a hug

Linda said: “When he saw me he jumped into my arms for a hug. We didn’t think we’d find him, but we would never have given up. I cried with relief.

“He was very thin and very hungry, but had survived quite well. Now he is a bit subdued and, I hope, not so naughty and adventurous.”