A MISSING cat has returned home after being discovered under the bonnet of a van.

Ted, short for Theodore, went missing from his family's Ramsbottom home on Wednesday, January 31.

A community search was scheduled to take place when the missing two-year-old feline had still not showed up on Friday night.

Owner Sinead Johnston, aged 43, said: "It was out of character for him to leave the house for long.

"By Thursday I was genuinely worried and certain something had happened to him.

"Ted's brother, Frank, was moping about and we were all feeling very despondent."

The family, including 12-year-old Katy and nine-year-old Patrick, leafleted Havenbrook Grove where they live as well as nearby streets in Holcombe Brook.

They also released an appeal for help over Facebook which was shared by dozens of people.

But at 6pm on Friday, a man arrived at the family home bringing good news he had found their beloved cat.

The handyman, whose name the family do not know, had been working in the neighbourhood on Wednesday when Ted went missing.

It is thought that the cat had jumped into the bonnet of the man's silver-blue Transit van.

It was not until two days later that the driver discovered Ted by chance when he went to top up the water in his vehicle.

Mrs Johnston said: "By sheer good luck, the man had needed to top up the water in his van.

"When he opened up the bonnet he found Ted hiding in the engine.

"If he hadn’t needed water, Ted could have been stuck there for weeks and he obviously wouldn’t have survived."

Ted was wearing a collar which was labelled with the family's full address, enabling the driver to source the owners.

"We think he climbed into the van for shelter because the weather was really nasty", Mrs Johnston said, before adding: "The man had driven to Peel Brow where he stayed for two days. All this time, he had no idea that Ted was in the engine.

"We were so relieved he found him. I was convinced he was dead or injured, or trapped somewhere.

"When he was returned, he was hiding in the back of the man's van and scared to come out.

"But he eventually ran straight inside to get food and water."

Ted has been given the all clear from the vet but is being kept at home for a few days to rest.

The family have asked the driver to get in touch on Facebook if he reads this article so that they can thank him.