Photographer Steve Hamel was working on his car one day in December 2020 when an unexpected guest arrived—a long-haired ginger feline with white mittens.
The cat strutted about his garage and hopped on his jeep as if she had done so lots of times, but Steve was pretty sure she was a stranger.
“I’m just trying to fix my jeep. I don’t even own a cat,” he said as he shared his story with Love Meow.
Steve didn’t know where the cat had come from, but he was smitten by the friendly feline. She insisted on getting his attention and even climbed onto his shoulders to snuggle. While he worked, the cat stayed on his shoulders for a ride around the garage.
After taking a tour, she hopped onto a crane and looked over the jeep as though she was giving it a thorough inspection. Eventually, the cat settled on a toolbox and used it as her makeshift bed.
Steve didn’t expect to meet a little helper in his garage that day, but he’s glad that he did.
The sweet kitty didn’t come with a tag, and they also couldn’t find a microchip, so Steve and his family began knocking on their neighbors’ doors to see if she had an owner.
“If we are unsuccessful we will be keeping the cat. She is quite a love,” Steve wrote on Facebook.
By then, his daughter had named the cat Sally, and their family completely fell in love with her. They bought her some supplies and a name tag.
“Sally loves to hang out on my shoulders and although she does have a full set of claws that make it painful to do this in the house, my work jacket makes it pretty comfortable,” Steve said.
He posted Sally’s story on Facebook, where it went viral and earned thousands of reactions. A couple of days after the cat made its way into his garage, he was contacted by a family who recognized her.
Turns out, Sally actually had owners who lived in the area.
“We found the owners. These lovely people were reunited with their beloved cat. They lived right around the corner from us and had many heart warming photos of the cat playing with their daughter,” Steve wrote in an update.
Steve said it “felt good” to reunite Sally with her owners, although he admitted it was “heartbreaking” at the same time. However, they knew it was the right thing to do, so they have no regrets.
Losing Sally left a cat-shaped hole in their hearts, so they began discussing the idea of adding a feline member to their family.
They ended up adopting an adorable black cat, and they couldn’t be happier.
“We wanted a tabby but this one stole our hearts. She’s super sweet and black cats are less likely to be adopted than other cats. We had already made a Sally tag, so this is Sally 2.0.,” Steve said.
Sally 2.0 settled in pretty quickly after moving in. Now, their household has several dogs and one cat, making them a perfect blended family!
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