Cat Who Ran Away From Home In 2008 Finally Reunites With Owner After 11 Years On The Street

by Angela Andaloro

Losing a pet is one of the hardest things an animal lover can go through. It’s especially hard when the animal is lost because it has run away.

Owners often hold out hope that they’ll be reunited with their animal. Unfortunately, it’s not often that their dreams come true. One New York woman beat the odds, however, when she was reunited with her cat, who had been missing for over a decade.

The miracle happened thanks to the kind heart of Dutchess County SPCA staff member Carol O’Connell. Carol noticed the same stray cat going about his business in her neighborhood over the course of three years.

She had been interested in checking out the feline for a while. The stray wasn’t willing to let her close enough to him, however. When she finally was able to earn the cat’s trust, she borrowed the SPCA’s microchip scanner to see if the cat had an owner. It turned out he did! She contacted the owners, who revealed that their cat, Tiger, had been missing for 11 years.

stray cat

It can be absolutely heartbreaking to lose a pet. That’s especially true when the animal runs away. Pet parents can get frantic wondering whether their pet is safe and has found shelter. Sadly, too many of them don’t find out the fate of their beloved furry friends.

This week, a seemingly stray cat got a second chance with his family when a kind SPCA worker was able to get close to him. Dutchess County SPCA staff member Carol O’Connell had been watching the cat around her neighborhood for three years.

stray cat

The feline wouldn’t allow Carol close enough to pet him, but he was content to drop by her house once in a while. “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,” Carol told ABC7.

stray cat

Carol worked on developing a relationship with the cat. “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 explained. Finally, she was able to get close enough to check the cat out.

stray cat

Carol borrowed a microchip scanner from work to see if the cat had a family. The next time he came around, she checked him for a microchip. Carol discovered that the cat was, in fact, microchipped and had contact information for his family!

spca maggie welz

What happened next was so incredible that the Dutchess County SPCA decided to share the story on Facebook. “With information from the chip, we were able to locate the owner, and discovered the cat had been missing for 11 years!” the organization explained.

Maggie Welz couldn’t believe it when she got the call. “Unfortunately somebody opened our door and he ran away and never returned,” Maggie told ABC7. Not too long afterward, Maggie and her family moved from the home they lived at when they lost the cat.

woman looking out window

“So 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,” Maggie explained.

dutchess county spca

The cat, Tiger, got checked out by a vet while at the SPCA. The veterinarian, Dr. Crum, was surprised to see what good shape the cat was in considering how long he had spent on the streets. Tiger was given a clean bill of health to go home to his family.

Now that Maggie and Tiger have been reunited, they’re enjoying making up for the lost time. Despite the fact that Maggie hadn’t seen Tiger since he was 3 years old, there was no question that she would take him back with her.

“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 OK,” Maggie said of the SPCA’s work. Everyone from Carol to Dr. Crum went above and beyond.

“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,” Maggie said happily.

So many people, from patrons of the SPCA to strangers online, were amazed by Tiger’s story. They are so grateful for the work of those like Carol who go above and beyond for animals that are often ignored or forgotten.

Everyone is so happy to hear that Maggie and Tiger will have each other in the years to come. It’s a beautiful happy ending that gives others hope that their missing pets might pop up once again. It’s also an important reminder to support your local SPCA.