A New York cat gave his family quite the shock when he returned after 11 years.
Dutchess County SPCA staff member Carol O’Connell spent the last three years watching a stray cat roaming around her neighborhood, according to the Hyde Park animal rescue. The organization shared the amazing story on their Facebook page on Thursday.
Though the feline would come by her home from time to time, the DCSPCA said O’Connell never managed to get close enough to pet him — that is until recently.
“On a whim, she borrowed a scanner from the shelter and discovered the cat was micro-chipped,” the DCSPCA wrote on Facebook. They added that the chip allowed O’Connell to learn that the black and brown furry animal had a name and an owner.
That wasn’t the most intriguing part of the story. Tiger, as he was called, has been missing for 11 years!
An important check-up
After seeing a doctor, who noted Tiger was in “remarkably good shape for having been on the streets that long.” Tiger finally made his way home on Thursday.
The sweet moment is documented through a series of photos on the DCSPCA’s Facebook. They included everything from Tiger sitting in his cage, to him getting checked out by a vet. Of course they also included the heartwarming moment where he was reunited with Welz.
“Today he is back with his family whom he had not seen since he was 3 years old,” the shelter proudly wrote beside the happy images.
O’Connell explained in an interview with ABC 7 that after the reunion that she was inspired to help the kitty. She noticed that his health appeared to be declining.
“Each year he came to my house, he deteriorated more and more each year, and that’s when I realized either somebody just abandoned him or he just was missing or lost or he was just a feral cat,” O’Connell told the outlet.
“This spring he started to come around a little bit more in the mornings so I started to work harder to try to gain his trust,” she added.
Welz also shared with the local news outlet that Tiger had run away 11 years ago. Someone accidentally opened their door and let him escape.
“We were heartbroken and we ended up a year later moving to another house about 10 houses from that house. [W]e told those owners to keep an eye out for him but he never returned,” she recalled to ABC 7.
Welz said she was always confident that her furry friend would one day return home despite the long absence.
“At that point, we determined that he was coming home, we had made a commitment to him and we wanted him to come back home to us,” she told the outlet.
Welz said she is forever indebted to O’Connell and her family for finding Tiger.
“I can’t tell them how grateful I am to them for their persistence and their dedication and for making sure that our cat was okay,” Welz told ABC 7.
“I have no idea where he was for the years in between, I’m sure he could tell us many tales, but the thing is that he is now home with us and he will be with us for the remainder of his life,” she sweetly added.
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