Woman Lost Her Cat and 11 Years Later Gets a Call from the Shelter
The Welz family was sure they would never see their cat again after he went missing. Eleven years later, an animal shelter had news for them.
The citizens of Hyde Park in Dutchess County, New York, were shocked when they learned what the county's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) did for a stray cat.
Carol O'Connell, who works for the no-kill animal shelter, went above and beyond to make this miracle happen, and the story went viral in no time.
In 2016, O'Connell started seeing a stray cat walking around her home. She tried to take him to the SPCA several times, but the animal would run away if she got too close.
She worked hard to gain the cat's trust, but it wasn't easy. O'Connell admitted she and her family worried about him constantly if they didn't see him.
The cat would disappear for weeks before briefly coming back and disappearing for weeks again. Due to his elusive nature, the O'Connells would call him Spirit or Ghost.
O'Connell earned Spirit's trust three years after their first meeting. She quickly borrowed a scanner from the animal shelter to check if the cat had a microchip, and he did!
With that information, the shelter discovered that the cat's real name was Tiger and his original owners were John and Maggie Welz, who lived only two miles away from O'Connell's home.
[A Facebook user] shared more information about Tiger's whereabouts during those 11 years.
O'Connell contacted John and explained that she had found a cat that belonged to him. Unfortunately, he didn't know what she was talking about. John explained:
"Then it dawned on me what she had been saying that Tiger had been found after all this time."
The Welz family needed a while to remember Tiger because he had been missing for 11 years! The couple explained that their cat was only three years old when he escaped.
Cats typically do that and often come back home, but Tiger never did it. John and Maggie spent months looking for their pet to no avail. Nobody in their neighborhood had information about him, and they eventually lost hope.
Their cat was alive and well, but many things can change in a decade. Most people would have requested time to evaluate the situation and decide if they wanted to welcome Tiger back, but the Welzes didn't.
Shortly after the shelter's doctor checked out Tiger, he reunited with his owner, Maggie. She admitted to being in shock, but she and John were willing to embrace their long-lost cat.
Tiger, who was extremely thin when he was found, needed a while to get re-acclimated. Fortunately, the Welz family said it was like no time had passed. Maggie admitted:
"Each night I've slept with him, he crawls right up on me, and I just look at him and think, 'I can't believe that you're home with us.'"
Nobody knew if Tiger lived with another family for a while or survived in the wild independently. Luckily, his owners pointed out that they could finally rest easy knowing that their family was together again.
Without O'Connell's help, the Welzes couldn't have reunited with their cat. However, Tiger's microchip made things easier. John, Maggie, and the shelter wanted to tell this fantastic story to encourage other pet owners to microchip their pets.
The Dutchess County SPCA posted photos of the emotional reunion on Facebook, and internet users took to the comment section to share their thoughts.
One of them shared more information about Tiger's whereabouts during those 11 years. He lived with a person who always kept a belled collar on him, so a few neighbors called him Jingle Bell.
The netizen added that Tiger ran entirely free after the caretaker passed away. The cat's eye got nicked in a scruff, explaining why it looked cloudy in the pictures.
Another Facebook user wrote that O'Connell's patience resulted in a miracle. If Tiger could talk, he would have an "amazing story" to tell!
If you liked this story, here's another one about a stray dog that came to a grocery store asking for help on a hot summer day.
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