Six years ago, Punky the Cat walked out the flap of his New Malden home, saying "Just going up the top for a pack of fags," and then vanished without a trace. Humans Maffelda and Bill Hay, under whose roof Punky had dwelt, had given up all hope for his return. But Punky has returned - older, rough around the edges, and virtually deaf - but he has returned.
Maffelda, a volunteer at the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, got a call from a colleague saying that they had found Punky - but that he was dead.
When Maffelda burst into racking sobs, her friend said, "Ha, ha! Just kidding. He's alive. We identified him from the microchip. You can come get him anytime. For 300 quid."
That's how we heard the story anyway.
Punky has not yet talked about his ordeal, preferring to spend these first difficult days alone with his family. The Hays believe he must have become spooked by their relocation to New Malden and so fled, and perhaps became lost.
But Londonist has other ideas. Oh, yes. Ideas.
Was Punky kidnapped? Or worse - impressed by a gang of sea cats and forced to be a gunner on one of Her Majesty's armed vessels? Or has Punky been employed by the Secret Service, living under an assumed name all this time? Is it a coincidence that the alleged "disappearance" of a certain cat belonging to a prominent Cabinet Minister happened to occur at the very time Punky showed up at his old home? And what of Punky's links with Iran?
The world hasn't heard the last of Punky, you can be sure. Did you see "Oldboy" ?
And then there's Punky's male "owner", Bill Hays? Did Punky return to settle a score with Bill?
Why, has Punky returned in order to ...
... um ... to ...
... to do something bad to Bill?
Keep reading Londonist for the latest on the developing Punky drama.