Cats are naturally curious, and it has been to their disadvantage most of the time hence the saying “curiosity killed the cat.” The felines will disappear for a few days to hunt, reproduce, or explore, but if the days turn into years, you will probably lose hope of ever reuniting with your pet again. That happened to one woman whose 17-year-old cat returned home after being gone for ten years. Here is the story of the reunion and what you can do if you ever find yourself in the same situation.
It all began seventeen years ago
Kathy Ehrler’s friend found three abandoned kittens seventeen years ago, and instead of leaving them to become strays, Kathy decided to take only one; he was entirely black, except for a white star on the chest. Coming up with a name was easy since Kathy already had a favorite square-dance caller group in Chicago, so she named him, Herschel, after one of them. Kathy and Herschel became the best of companions, even taking him with her during her camping trips, so she had to clip his bails to prevent canvas damage. She also had him neutered and microchipped, not knowing how much that chip would come in handy in future.
However, the companionship did not last long because after being with Herschel for seven years, she let him out one night, but he did not come back home, leaving the woman in a frantic search that turned unsuccessful. For ten years, Kathy had no idea where her beloved feline friend was, and with time she pushed it to the back of her head. Therefore when a vet called to ask if she owned a cat, she answered with an emphatic “no.”
Cat returned home
It took a moment for Kathy to recall that she did not have a cat then, but she once did, and he must be very old. Therefore she asked the vet whether the cat was elderly to which he replied “yes,” and Kathy knew her Herschel was alive. A little girl had found him, and instead of keeping him, she took him to the vet who located the microchip that disclosed Kathy as the cat’s owner.
Good deeds never go unrewarded; hence when the girl returned Herschel to his home, Kathy was so grateful that she offered the girl $25. The girl, whom Kathy never got the name, declined, but the woman insisted since to her it was like a child coming back home, and she had to pay the rescuer. Surprisingly, for a cat that had been lost for a decade, Herschel only had three ticks on him-no mites or fleas. Yet despite the long absence, the cat settled in his bed like he had never left. Kathy knew that although he now looked skinny, someone took care of him at a certain point in his life. Besides, with the alarming rate of damage that cats can have on wildlife, Kathy is happy that she had him neutered before he got lost.
He is not the longest-missing cat
When Janet moved into her new husband’s apartment, their cat Winston would roam around the neighborhood, but he always came back. However, after being in Peter’s house for six months, Winston went missing, and the couple thought it is the new environment if having dogs, teenagers, and a new home that became too much for Winston. Luckily they had microchipped him, so when he was found 15 years later in Launceston and taken to the vet, it was easy to identify the owners. Unfortunately, unlike Herschel, who seemed to have been well-taken care of, Winston had matted fur. He was also very unhealthy –looking which, when combined with his old age of seventeen years, would have led to being euthanized had they not found the owner.
Like Kathy, a woman named Janet let her cat, Boo, outdoors one day, but she never saw her again. According to Laughing Squid, Janet was so desperate to find her lost feline friend that she placed ads in newspapers and plastered posters on lampposts, but her efforts were unfortunately unfruitful. However, once again, the microchip proved useful since it helped reunite Janet with her cat after 13 years when a vet called her, asking if she had a cat. When she went to get back Boo, Boo instantly recognized her because she rubbed Janet’s face.
How do you care for a cat that returns home after being lost?
According to CatBeep, most owners might be too happy after the reunion with a long-lost cat that they will prepare a feast for the animals. However, that would only result in making the animal sick since he was not used to eating large amounts of food. It would be best if you instead opted for a high-protein diet that does not contain any grains, and it should be wet ideally. Also, allow the cat to have plenty of rest, so a pinch of catnip is highly recommended.
While Herschel did not have many parasites on his body, he was among the lucky few since straying results in picking up all sorts of parasites. Consequently, a bath to get rid of the parasites and have him clean and anti-flea treatment should do the trick. Although the cats mentioned here were all taken to the vet after good Samaritans found them, some cats can find their way back home; hence you are the one to take them to the vet for a thorough checkup. Some injuries they sustained during their exploration could be internal, and only an expert can identify and treat them accordingly. You should also have the cat spayed or neutered if you had not done so already.
Moreover, it may take some time for your pet to get used to her new environment if she has been gone for so long. Therefore a little stimulus for the first few days is advisable. Finally, since by now, you have learned your lesson about letting the cat out, consider having your pet indoors throughout or in an enclosed outdoor area to prevent another incident.