It is generally accepted that cats are a mysterious species, particularly the domesticated types. They skulk by and look at their owners as if somehow their very existence is somehow annoying. Yet come dinner time they always manage to find the owner’s value. This story adds to the mysterious aura of felines, as it manages to connect the age old mystique of cats with modern technology. Placing microchip identifiers on pets is a positive trend that is beginning to be a requirement for owners across the country – and in certain parts of the world. Its purpose is to help locate and identify lost cats and dogs, and to return them to their rightful owner. The process is quick, simple, and relatively inexpensive, so both the owner and pet can return to their normal lives. There has been little resistance to the idea, meaning that responsible pet owners see many advantages but little downside to the technology.
The story begins in Maine, where a cat named Miss Kitty had been living more than a decade ago. Like most cats, it decided to stray away from its adopted owners. The cat’s original owner, Brenda Martin, had passed away and the cat was adopted by her daughter Jennifer Banis. Unknown to her mother at the time, someone had created a sphinxlike portrait of the cat which would be given away a few years after Miss Kitty left on her journey. That portrait would mysteriously resurface later at the same time Miss Kitty resurfaced more than a decade later.
After more than a 10 year absence, Miss Kitty was found by a woman only eight miles from Jennifer’s home. The woman had been feeding her and noticed that the cat had been exposed to the elements for too long. When taking care of the cat it was noticed that a microchip was implanted on the back of her neck. What ensued was a search for the owner based on the information on the microchip. The search wasn’t easy as more than a decade had passed and Jennifer had changed her phone number a number of times. The third attempt proved lucky, and the connection had been made.
Happily, in short order the cat was returned to Jennifer, albeit it in very poor physical condition. One mystery that was clear to Jennifer was how Miss Kitty managed to survive all those years wandering from Jennifer’s home in the wilderness. Part of it was clearly the kindness of strangers. Part of it is suspected to be luck. Miss Kitty survived, but the homeless journey had taken its toll on her. From the initial appearances it looked as if she was deaf and extremely thin.
A veterinarian gave Miss Kitty a thorough check up, and the prognosis was not good. Among the treatments given to her were the much needed warm blankets, medicine, and food in an attempt to bring her weight up to normal. She had labored breathing, and it was suspected she may have developed asthma. Oxygen was added to the list of treatments in an attempt to restore her back to health. Despite all these efforts, the prognosis remained unfavorable. Her fur was matted, and from a general health point of view it was concluded Miss Kitty simply had been out in the wilderness too long.
It wasn’t too long afterwards that yet another medical problem showed up. Jennifer had taken her to the vet as Miss Kitty had continuous problems breathing. Surgery was required to repair a collapsed larynx, but that effort soon failed as Miss Kitty required a tracheotomy to allow her to breathe. More than week later came the onset of pneumonia, which further complicated the efforts of trying to keep her alive. It was only days later that Miss Kitty used up all of her nine lives.
But the tragic outcome of the return of Miss Kitty actually had a silver lining to it. That portrait that had been made and given away to an unknown person was made by someone that Jennifer hired when her mother was still alive. But the mysterious disappearance of Miss Kitty some years later left Jennifer heartbroken, and keeping the portrait passed down to her by her mother was too stressful. The portrait was now in a stranger’s home, with little hope of every finding it again. That is, until that stranger turned out to be a new friend of Jennifer who she met right around the time Miss Kitty returned home. Walking into her newly found friend’s home, there hung the picture in the center of the living room wall.
Jennifer sees the decisions that were made over the more than 10 years since Miss Kitty had become a part of the family as both mysterious and fortuitous. Her children, ages 6 to 11, had never known the existence of Miss Kitty; they had never met her. Yet at this point in time, a decade later, all her children now had witnessed a connection that would bring the family together. Jennifer sees the return of Miss Kitty as a way for her to return home to be with the family she had left behind.
No one can blame Jennifer for giving up. There are amazing stories of how cats have wandered off and returned years later to their owners, but those stories tend to be more of the exception than the rule. That is what makes this story so amazing yet mysterious. Most other stories about returning cats have them happy and healthy. This one does not have a happy ending. But maybe it is why we should look more closely and think about why Miss Kitty managed to find her way back home.
There are many facts to this story, and an equal number of mysteries. And that is why we continue to follow these types of stories, wondering why things happen the way they do.