Marna Gilligan and Sean Purdy had given up hope of seeing Moon Unit again, so when they received an email saying that she had been found they did not believe it. “We thought, ‘It can’t be her — not after all this time’,” Ms Gilligan, 39, told the Evening Standard.

Last Friday Moon Unit’s owners, who had split up since she disappeared, made the journey on Eurostar to bring their cat home.

She and Mr Purdy, 46, adopted their pet when she was about five months old but she disappeared after a New Year’s Eve party in 2008. “We searched for months and had numerous tip-offs but they were never her,” Ms Gilligan, who now lives in Kent, said. “We moved on eventually, and she was just part of our memories.”

Last month they received an email from Petlog, a microchipping database, to say that a shelter in Paris had taken in a cat found at a suburban railway station. Photographs proved Moon Unit’s identity and it was decided that Mr Purdy should resume ownership. They have set up a crowdfunding page for Aide et Défense des Animaux en Détresse, the shelter that found her.

Two questions arise. Was Moon Unit on her own all that time? It’s hard to believe a city moggie could survive eight years in the wild, but, given that she was missing almost all her teeth when she was found, it’s likely that she spent considerable time as a stray.

More pressingly, how did she get from London to Paris?  At first Matthew Cobb surmised that she may have walked through the Chunnel, but if you think about it for a moment, that couldn’t have happened. Britain is absolutely paranoid about rabies coming from the outside, so the Chunnel has extensive barriers against animals getting through it, including visual inspection and electric fences. And so far those have been successful, for there have been no cases of rabies in Britain since the Chunnel opened.

That leaves only the possibility that Moon Unit was either carried to France or hitched a ride on a plane or boat. We’ll never know. If only cats could talk!

Here’s Moon Unit being taken back home. (I wonder how the Brits let her in given the six-month quarantine requirement.)