A missing cat has returned home to Headingley, Man., after disappearing nearly three years ago.

Lainee van Hoof told CTV News her cat Loki, who liked to explore, escape and stay out all night, would always return home in the morning, until one day in the summer of 2016.

“He just didn’t come home to eat breakfast, and we started searching,” said van Hoof.

That summer, her family put up posters, posted on social media, and drove around looking for Loki, to no avail. After years of heartache, a surprise call recently came from the Winnipeg Humane Society.

“They’re like, ‘Well, we have your cat.’ And I’m like, ‘Which one? My cat’s at home.’ And they said, ‘Loki?’ And I just started laughing, like I couldn’t believe it.”

With the help of Loki’s tattoo and up-to-date contact information, the Humane Society was able to make the connection.

Van Hoof said Loki was found in Rosser, which is about 15 kilometres north of Headingley.

The same day they got the call, the family loaded into the car to go pick up their beloved pet.

While Loki can’t explain what happened while he was away, a few battle wounds hint at a tough journey.

“He’s missing a tooth. He has one of his other teeth just broken right off. One of his claws has been ripped out,” said van Hoof. “He’s been through some stuff.”

Van Hoof believes Loki also suffered a broken bone on one of his front legs.

She said her kids are thrilled Loki is back, and said it looks like he feels the same.

“He came right out of his crate, and rolled right on his back for belly rubs. It was adorable.”

Before Loki disappeared, van Hoof said he was a big cuddler, something her kids missed while he was gone. Now that he’s home safe, she said they don’t plan on letting Loki out of their sight.