An adventurous cat who ended up 75 miles away from home after stowing away in a delivery van has joyfully been reunited with his heartbroken family – thanks to a County Durham veterinary practice.

Unknown to his owners, Flash hopped into the back of a delivery van in his home in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, before travelling all the way to Washington Services on the A1 at Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

The distraught family had almost given up hope of finding their four-legged friend until a hero came along.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Stowaway cat Flash with his family

They received a phone call out of the blue from the team at Prince Bishop Veterinary Hospital in Leadgate, near Consett, County Durham, to say Flash had been handed into the practice. Owner Charlotte was relieved to hear the news of her beloved pet as she “immediately burst into tears”.

Prior to this, they contacted the company that had delivered furniture to a neighbour on the off-chance the driver may have found Flash, but hearts dropped to find that there was no sighting of him by the driver.

Turning to plastering posters around their neighbourhood and posting on Facebook to appeal for his safe return, the family were distraught to receive no updates on the disappearance of their 16-month-old furry friend they rescued as a kitten.

Flash had travelled a further 16 miles and turned up on the doorstep of someone living in Chopwell, before being taken to Prince Bishop Vets.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Stowaway cat Flash with his family

Clinical director Gillian Brown scanned Flash for a microchip, she was then able to easily trace his owners and reunite them with their pet.

A microchip is a small chip which is inserted under your cat’s skin to give them their own unique code which is held on a database.

Flash was found infested with ticks, and would not have survived long term, if it weren’t for his saviour, due to the diseases he could have held and the risk of developing anaemia.

Charlotte was shocked after hearing of Flash’s journey: “We couldn’t believe he had travelled so far, and it is a lovely feeling to have him back home. I’m so relieved he was microchipped, and the details were up to date.”

“We’re so grateful to the lady who took him to the vets to check if he was chipped. If it wasn’t for her, he may still be missing.”

Prince Bishop Vets has dozens of stray cats handed in every year, but few are returned to their owners.

Gillian said: “We don’t often have a happy ending like Flash’s story as the chances of reuniting them with their owners are slim if they’re not microchipped, which is very sad.”