A young boy with autism and his family have been reunited with their missing cat thanks to a widespread social network and community campaign.

Ava, an 11-month-old British short-blue hair, was found near a back garden fence by two neighbours in Upshire around 9.40pm last night.

The missing feline was last seen on Monday evening at around 6pm in her home in Upshire before her owners noticed she had disappeared.

Five-year-old Reggie Palmer was given the kitten as an early Christmas present and as a therapy method to help cope with his stress and anxiety.

The youngster’s mother, Amy-Louise Palmer who is her son’s full-time carer, said she was overwhelmed by the quick response to people searching for Ava.

“I believe she was too hot to handle from all the sharing on Facebook, I think who ever had her let her go.

“She was heard crying at the back fence by two neighbours with not a single mark of dirt on her, considering she was gone for over 24 hours and it was raining an extremely muddy.

“We all ran around the back to find her waiting to come into the garden. Reggie has not stopped kissing and cuddling her.”

Ms Palmer, who is a full-time carer to Reggie, said Ava’s disappearance had a massive impact on her son making him extremely restless and anxious.

The youngster also mostly uses sign language to communicate with family and friends due to his limited speech.

Mother and son along with seven-year-old-daughter Bailey, had been desperately searching non-stop for the cat for the past 24 hours.

The family believe the feline may have escaped by accident by figuring out how to jump and climb from the children’s trampoline on to the garden fence.

Despite quickly putting up posters and alerting their neighbours, vets, and cat sanctuaries within the area and Harlow district across social media, no sightings were reported.

Fortunately, Ava’s distinctive lilac and cream fur, yellow eyes and tiger print tail, wearing a pink collar with contact details attached may have made it easy for residents to identify.

Ms Palmer said the bond between cat and boy as “unreal” and “literally best friends” and had feared someone had picked her up and would not return her.

“She keeps him calm and content we had noticed a huge difference since she was gone.”

“She is a very friendly cat and will approach anyone. She will always sit with him, I have never seen a cat like that before, it was like she understands him.”

“I have been taking Reggie out with me in case she recognises his voice and will come running to him.”

Epping Forest Guardian had published an article to promote the missing campaign to reunite Ava with the Palmer family last night which was shared over hundred times within the first hour.

Just over an hour later, Ava was reported safe and well.