Cat jumps into his mom’s arms after being lost for almost two years

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Courtesy of Mindy Criner

Just when this pet owner thought she’d lost her cat forever, a beautiful twist of fate led them to find each other after getting a call from the animal control. She has been missing for 536 days!

Mindy Criner and her husband, Luke, adopted Cat from the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter based in Virginia. At first, the feline was very shy. He would often sit in the corner watching other cats play, but Mindy knew that he behaved that way because there was one thing missing in his life – a family who would love him.

“You could see in his eyes he just needed love,” she told The Dodo.

It took time and effort but eventually, Cat warmed up to his new family and home. When Mindy and Luke had a baby, Cat loved him with all his heart. That’s when his parents knew that they made the right decision of adopting and giving the once shy kitten a chance.

Courtesy of Mindy Criner

When Cat had warmed up to his surroundings, he found an activity he liked to do – wandering around the yard and exploring outside his home. One day, Mindy called him in after his usual stroll, but Cat was nowhere to be found.

Mindy panicked and immediately reached out to the owner of the Lost & Found Pets – Hampton Roads, VA, Facebook page to help her spread the word about her missing pet. She and her husband got to work, doing everything they can to bring Cat back home.

They put a litter box and food outside in hopes that Cat would recognize the smell. They installed little housing stations all over the neighborhood and had friends check them whenever they could. They also put up posters everywhere. Every night, they walked all around the neighborhood calling Cat’s name, but they never found him.

“Weeks turned to a year, then a little more and every day that crack in my broken heart got a little bigger,” Mindy said.

Courtesy of Mindy Criner

Then, 536 days after Cat went missing, Missy received a call from the animal control saying that someone had found him.

“I thought it had to be a mistake,” she said. “The voicemail from the animal control said to get in touch with Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter to find him. I drove to that shelter as fast as the law allowed and walked through the door already fighting back tears.”

When she arrived at the shelter, they informed her that a man – who thought Cat was a stray – had been feeding him for over a year. After Cat was hit by a car and survived, the man called animal control. They scanned him for a microchip and found that he actually had an owner.

Mindy connected with the man and then drove over to his home. When she arrived, Cat was sitting on the porch enjoying his snack.

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Courtesy of Mindy Criner

“I sat on the steps and let him come over to me in case he was scared, and he got right in my lap and purred,” Mindy recalled of the moment. “I started walking towards the car where my husband (who has an incredibly distinctive voice), Luke, was talking to the guy that had been feeding him and Cat purred louder than I knew possible and gave me that first super long head boop. It’s like he nudged that little piece of my broken heart back in place.”

As soon as Cat saw his parents, he knew that it was finally time for him to come home. And once he was back, Cat settled in instantly. He greeted his furry siblings and claimed back all the spots he used to occupy as if he’d never been gone at all. Mindy and Luke have been spending as much time as possible bonding with Cat and getting reacquainted with each other.

Courtesy of Mindy Criner

“I hope that our story will give others missing their pets hope, and maybe those who have unknowingly taken in someone else’s pet will check to see if they’re scanned so that pet can have their happy reunion with their family, and someone else can feel the overwhelming joy we’re experiencing,” Mindy said.

Every ‘lost pet’ story deserves a happy ending, and we’re glad that Cat got his!