A cat not seen since 2016 was reunited with his owners more than six years after his disappearance.

Raffael, also known as Raffi, disappeared from his home in Old Trafford to the devastation of Mustafa Javed and family.

They searched for months and months for the cat, but came to the conclusion he died after this search was not successful.

Mr and Mrs Javed, as well as children Ibraheem, Khadeeja and Maryam, even arranged a funeral for the missing moggie.

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Mustafa said: "My children were devastated when Raffi went missing. He was a clever cat, he wasn't the sort to wander off, he always stayed near the house, so it was the pain of not knowing what had happened to him that was the worst part.

"I remember it was freezing cold at the time but we searched for him in all weathers, we’d go out walking in our wellies, we literally looked for months and months, setting up Facebook groups and going from house to house in the local area."

A breakthrough came last month when RSPCA inspector Rachel Henderson was called to an address in Longsight, Manchester, a few miles from Old Trafford, over a cat found in the garden.

She scanned the cat and she saw it was Raffi, who was microchipped and registered to his home, where she returned him after a trip to the Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for an abscess.

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Mustafa said: "I was travelling back to the UK from abroad at the time when my brother rang me to say Raffi had been found. We couldn't believe it, the children were so excited, it's all they could talk about. 

"I think the family was stunned and shocked. We'd been through the grieving process and had even had a 'burial' for him to try and bring about some sort of closure, so to hear that he'd been found alive after all this time, it was a lot to take in."

Raffi is settling into his old life in Old Trafford, where there is a new addition in the form of Marshmallow, another cat adopted a couple of years ago.

Mustafa added: “We wish Raffi could talk and tell us his story. When we picked him up from the animal hospital he looked at us as if to say 'Where have you been all these years?'

"We get the feeling he knows where he is and it's amazing he's safe, he's well, he's back and we get a chance to have him with us again."