GIVEN up for dead for more than four years, Dexter the cat walked back into the life of his owners at Hervey Bay Airport last night.
Dexter disappeared in Shepparton, Victoria in 2007 and Anna Stevenson and Chris Golden thought they would never see their pet again.
"He went missing when we were away on holiday," Ms Stevenson said. Posters, advertisements and countless door-knocks later the couple were forced to assume he had met his demise.
They moved to Hervey Bay with their remaining cat, Entree, and Dexter became a loving memory.
Over the following years Dexter became something of a legend around the streets of Shepparton, Ms Stevenson said.
He was notorious for stealing food from the bowls of other cats, fighting with neighbourhood dogs and constant attempts to capture him were in vain.
Finally, an elderly lady was able to trap him, and the whole street threw a party, Ms Stevenson said.
The Shepparton animal shelter found his owner was living 1660km and two states away through Dexter's microchip, and Ms Stevenson received a call on Wednesday she thought would never come.
"I shouted to Chris, 'Dexter's alive' and arranged for him to be flown up as soon as possible," she said
Yesterday evening, the Qantas Link flight reunited owner and pet and Dexter seemed to recognise Anna immediately.
As soon as she picked him up, a thin but happy Dexter began purring loudly, still responding to his name after not hearing it for over four years.
Ms Stevenson thanked the animal shelter in Shepparton as well as the staff of Jetpets and Pets to You for their help in bringing Dexter home.
Dexter's new life will now see him as an "inside cat".