Lakrits, which translates as liquorice in English, was just three years old when he parted company with the family in 2001 without so much as a by-your-leave. Vera Dettmann said the cat seemed unimpressed by city life after they moved in to Södermalm from Skogås, south of Stockholm.
“He hated being cooped up in an apartment, so he took off at the first possible opportunity,” she told news website Nyhetskanalen.se.
Despite the family’s appeals for help and frantic searches for the headstrong runaway, nothing was heard of Lakrits until rumours of sightings began to surface in 2008.
But the family did not dare to believe they would ever see Lakrits again until Dettmann received a call from a cat refuge on Thursday. Staff there had been able to identify the single-minded creature from a tattoo on his ear.
“I thought I was going to faint when they rang,” said Dettmann.
“When the kids and I saw him this evening it was like we had found a lost child,” she added.