A PUREBRED Tasmanian cat found 2500 kilometres from home in the western Queensland outback was probably the victim of catnapping, carers say.
Nursing staff at the local hospital found the long-haired Himalyan, named Clyde, in Cloncurry, in the state's north west, earlier in April.
He was taken to the town's veterinary clinic, where it was discovered Clyde was microchipped.
Records revealed he was a very long way from home.
Clyde went missing from his southern Tasmanian owners in 2006.
He will be flown home to the Apple Isle this afternoon from Mount Isa airport.
His owners were "shocked" discover Clyde was still alive.
"They plastered southern Tasmania with photos looking for him when he did originally go missing to no joy so they are just stoked," Cloncurry veterinarian Donna Weber told the ABC.
"She still can't believe it and I'm sure they're going to be really glad to get him home and I'm sure he'll be a lot happier in nice cold Tasmania rather than in hot Cloncurry.
Clyde's epic journey has experts baffled, but Kathleen Kidd, of the Cloncurry Veterinary Surgery where Clyde has been living, said it was likely he had been stolen and brought to the mainland.
"There was a bed and breakfast down the road from where they live in Tasmania and they assumed tourists must have picked him up and taken him," Ms Kidd told brisbanetimes.com.au.
"Those sorts of cats would be worth quite a bit of money."
But Dr Weber said it was possible he had "walked all the way from Tasmania."
"He's a bit skittish because he's obviously been living like a wild cat," she said.
"He's fussy with his food so he still knows he's a special cat."
An RSPCA Tasmania spokeswoman said the cat's tale was remarkable.
"It is an unbelievable story," she said. "We weren't even aware of it, but I'm sure there'll be lots of calls coming in. It's amazing."
In July, aging Brisbane pooch Muffy was flown back home to Queensland after she was rescued by the RSPCA from a squalid Melbourne backyard.
Her 17-year-old owner Chloe Rushby was just eight years-old when Muffy ran away from a friend's house nearly a decade ago.
Chole's mother, Natalie Lampard, said the family, which now lives on the Gold Coast, had given up hope of ever finding the dog alive.
"I left Muffy with a friend to look after ... and she wandered off," she said.
"I never thought she'd come back. It's unbelievable.
"I'd say she's about 13, 14 (years' old now)."