A woman was in for the surprise of a lifetime when her beloved cat who had been missing for over a decade turned up in New York this week.
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, who 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, adding that the chip allowed O’Connell to learn that the black and brown furry animal had a name and an owner.
But that wasn’t the most intriguing part of the story: Tiger, as he was called, had been missing from his mom Maggie Welz for a whopping 11 years!
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After seeing a doctor, who noted Tiger was in “remarkably good shape for having been on the streets that long,” he was finally reunited with Welz on Thursday.
The sweet moment was documented through a series of photos on the DCSPCA’s Facebook and included everything from Tiger sitting in his cage, to him getting checked out by a vet, to 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.
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Speaking to ABC 7 after the reunion, O’Connell explained that she was inspired to help the kitty after noticing 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 after 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 and we told those owners to keep an eye out for him but he never returned,” she recalled to ABC 7.
Despite being gone for more than a decade, Welz said she was always confident that her furry friend would one day return home.
“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.
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Now, with her beloved cat back in her arms, 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.