We love cats not only because they are cute, awesome, and perfect, but also because they are independent little explorers who love to go on adventures. However, this sometimes causes problems for their owners who are worried sick at home, not knowing when their furry friend will return.
That’s why animal advocates have long encouraged people to microchip their pets. That way, you have a much better chance of finding your beloved friend if he or she goes missing.
Recently, the story of a cute little orange named Cat went viral, as the adorable feline went missing and didn’t come home for 536 days in a row. His owners – Mindy and Luke Criner – were just starting to lose hope when Cat finally reappeared in their lives, purring and meowing for their attention.
This cat named Cat was missing for 536 days.
This feline was adopted from the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter in Virginia and was very shy at first. He wasn’t very enthusiastic about playing with other kitties, so his potential owners decided he needed a loving home to bring out his confidence. We adopted a cat named Cat in June 2015, he would be about 6 years old now. He was the shyest kitten in the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter kennel.
They actually wanted to put him in their “barn cat” program because he was so skittish, but he had this look in his eyes like Shrek’s kitten as he watched the other kittens play with envy, and I knew right then that he was destined for our family.
You could see in his eyes that he just needed love. It took some work, he immediately attached himself to my husband, Luke, but one day we woke up and he was lying on my chest purring and that was the beginning of my backup cat,” Mindy told Bored Panda. As it turned out, it was quickly gained enough confidence to walk around her yard and explore his new territory. Unfortunately, one time, Cat didn’t return from his adventures.
“He disappeared in early May, would go out for a bit during the day if the weather was nice and come home when called for lunch or dinner, and he would make a loud meow to let you know he was coming. I put this new collar on him that had just come in the mail and let him out to play in the tree in front of the house as usual, but he stopped and looked at me and I had the strangest feeling that I wasn’t going to see him again, so much so that I called my husband to tell him about it. We assumed it would be a normal day, but we weren’t so lucky. He didn’t come home for dinner, he didn’t show up when we called him. In the morning, I was in full panic mode,” Mindy told us.
His owners were very worried and starting to lose hope.
The Criner family immediately publicized their furry friend’s disappearance on the Lost & Found Pets – Hampton Roads, VA Facebook page. They also put Cat’s litter box and food outside in hopes that the smell would bring him home but to no avail.
The signs and small home posts scattered throughout the neighborhood that the Criners had their friends check constantly didn’t help either. The family was beginning to lose hope. “I sent a message with all the cat information to Gina (a true gem of a woman, who runs the Lost and found pets of Hampton roads FB page purely out of the goodness of her heart) who immediately shared it and had people looking.
We followed all the recommended advice she gives on the page, set up a litter box and food station so he could smell his way home, and set up small home stations a few blocks and about a mile from the house with his pet house, food, and something that smelled like us (the neighbors were fantastic and even checked in for us so we didn’t have to travel as much with the baby). We put up signs at the local grocery store, vets, shelters, and in the neighborhood. No cats to be found. After a few months of walking around at night calling and praying for animal control or the shelter to call, I started to lose hope.”
When one day they received a voice mail from animal control
Every night Mindy and Luke would walk around their neighborhood in hopes of finding Cat but to no avail. “I knew that if someone found him, or worse if he had been hit by a car, I would get a call because he would be scanned. Weeks became a year, then a little more and each day the cracks in my broken heart got a little bigger. Then, on Halloween, 536 days after he went missing, I received a voicemail from the Humane Society and an email from the microchip company saying he had been found!”
It turns out that a man took care of Cat for an entire year.
“Honestly, I didn’t believe what I was reading. I thought it must be a mistake. The voice mail from AC said to contact the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter to find him. I drove to this shelter as fast as the law would allow and walked through the door holding back tears.
I was given a tour of all the rooms, but no cat. The wonderful woman at the front desk immediately picked up the phone and called AC and everyone she could think of. She discovered that a man had called AC after Cat was hit by a car on Halloween night. When AC showed up, the man in his 60s said he had been feeding what he thought was a female for at least a year when Cat was hit. Instead of taking her to the vet, he called AC and reported that the stray cat he had been feeding for a year had been knocked down and had to go. AC immediately scanned him and my information came up.
The man didn’t even know that microchips existed. He kept Cat at home until I could be contacted. I called right away and got her back that afternoon,” Mindy told Bored Panda. “The reunion was unreal. He was only a mile away, two blocks from the park where we take his little human 3-4 times a week. He was sitting on the porch, eating from his bowl, when he looked at me, I said his name and gave him my characteristic kitty call. He meowed back at me, as he always did, took another bite out of his bowl, and walked over to me when I approached.
I sat on the steps and let him come to me in case he got spooked, and he got into my lap and purred. I started walking to the car where the cat heard my husband (who has an incredibly distinct voice), Luke, talking to the guy who had fed him, and Cat knew we were going home and purred louder than I thought and gave me that first super long head butt. It was like that headbutt put that little piece of my broken heart back together. My husband took the perfect picture of the exact moment he knew he was going home with his family.”
When Mindy went to the man’s house, she was greeted by Cat who immediately started purring after seeing her.
When we got home, he went straight to “his” bathroom, where we keep the plants during the winter, making it a mini jungle and sat in his spot. It broke my heart and melted him at the same time. His canine brothers and sisters came to see him, they all had their welcome home moment,” Mindy revealed to Bored Panda.
“I hope our story gives hope to others who lose their pets, and maybe those who unknowingly fostered someone else’s pet will check to see if it was scanned so that this pet can be reunited with his family and someone else can feel the overwhelming joy we do,” she added.
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