It’s common knowledge that cats are quite self-sufficient and independent animals. They take pleasure in their own space, their own company, and are often very capable of taking care of themselves. I instance, if they had a can opener, why would they need us if they already had one?

Cats, on the other hand, have a natural curiosity that, unfortunately for their human guardians, occasionally leads to trouble. Especially in situations in which the “fur kid” of the partnership makes the decision to not return home at the time that they are expected to, causing their human parents to worry and concern for their wellbeing.

When their adorable ginger boy called Cat went missing, Mindy and Luke Criner’s lives turned upside down in precisely the same way. Cat hadn’t been seen in 536 days, and his parents were starting to give up hope of ever finding him. After a long absence, Cat appeared once again at that point.

You may read their wonderful tale if you scroll below.

In 2015, Mindy and Luke obtained Cat from a rescue organization. They saw that he was quite hesitant, even to the point of being unable to engage in playful interaction with the other kittens in the shelter. They instantly saw that he was destined to become a member of their family.

You could tell by looking into his eyes that all he wanted was love. When we woke up one morning, he was just resting on my breast purring, and that was the beginning of my sidekick cat,” Mindy recalled. “It did take effort; he had an instant relationship to my husband, Luke; but one day we got up, and he was just laying on my chest purring.”

It turned out that all Cat needed was some affection, and rather quickly he built up the courage to go about his yard and investigate the new area. One day, Cat didn’t make it back from his travels, which was a terrible disappointment.

It turned out that all Cat needed was love, and he quickly built up the courage to step outdoors into his garden and explore after receiving it. Cat, on the other hand, never came back from one of his excursions into the great outdoors one day.

“He hadn’t been seen since the beginning of May; he liked to spend some time outside during the day if the weather was fine, but he’d always come back inside when he was called for lunch or dinner. He’d give a resounding meow to let you know he was on his way. He went missing in May.

He stopped and looked at me, and I just had this strange feeling that I wasn’t going to see him again. In fact, I called my husband and told him about it. I had just put this new collar on him that had just arrived in the mail, and then I let him out to play in the tree out front like he usually does.

We had the impression that it was going to be an ordinary day, but we were wrong. He did not respond to calls or arrive home for supper. He also did not come home. “By the time morning rolled around, I was operating in full-on panic mode,” Mindy recalled.

The family quickly put up a notice on the Facebook page for Lost & Found Pets in Hampton Roads, Virginia, in the hopes that someone could have seen him there. They also put Cat’s litter box and food outdoors in the yard in the hopes that the scents of Cat’s house could attract her attention and lead her back.

Additionally, they posted posters all around their area, but none of their efforts were fruitful.

“I emailed a post with all of the cats’ information to Gina, who is an absolute gem of a lady who maintains the Lost and found pets of Hampton roads Facebook group completely out of the goodness of her heart. She posted it right away, and people started searching for the cats.”

We followed all of the advice that she gives on the page, including setting up this litter box and food station so that he could smell his way home. Additionally, we set up small housing stations a few blocks and about a mile away from home with his pet house, food, and something that smelled like us (our neighbors were wonderful and even checked in for us so that we wouldn’t have to travel with the baby as much).

Posters were placed around the area as well as the local grocery store, veterinary facilities, and animal shelters. There’s no sign of a cat everywhere. After a few months of nightly walks during which I would contact animal control or the shelter and hope that someone would pick up the phone, I began to lose faith.

They looked for Cat every night in their area, but there was no trace of him anywhere.

“He was microchipped and had a collar with the vet’s information and my name, and I knew that if someone discovered him or even the worst-case scenario, which was that he had been struck by a vehicle, I would receive a call because he would be scanned,” the owner of the dog said.

The days progressed into weeks, then months, and then a bit more, and with each passing day, the fissures in my shattered heart became somewhat wider.

Then, on Halloween, 536 days after he had been reported missing, I received a voicemail from Animal Control and an email from the firm that makes the microchips announcing that he had been located!

“To tell you the truth, I was having a hard time believing what I was reading. I was certain there must have been a mistake, “Mindy replied.

“The message left by AC instructed listeners to make contact with the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter in order to locate him. I was already fighting back tears as I went through the entrance of the shelter, even though the law limited how quickly I could get there.

They took me into each and every room, but there was no sign of Cat anywhere. After learning that Cat had been struck by a vehicle on Halloween night, the great lady working the front desk went directly on the phone and phoned AC as well as anybody else she could think of. Eventually, she discovered that a guy had called AC and informed them that Cat had been injured.

When AC arrived, the gentleman in his 60s reported that he had been feeding what he believed to be a female cat for at least a year when Cat was hit. However, rather than taking Cat to a vet, he called AC and reported that the “stray” cat he had been feeding for the past year had been hit and needed to be removed from the area.

AC instantly scanned him, and my details were on the screen very immediately. The individual was completely unaware of the existence of microchips. He took care of Cat and kept her at his home until he could get in touch with me. “I immediately gave him a call, and I picked him up that same afternoon,” Mindy added.

“The get-together was like a dream. He was just 2.9 kilometers away, or 2 blocks from the park that we visit three to four times every week with his little human. When he glanced over at me, he was sitting on the porch eating out of his bowl. I called out his name and gave him my characteristic “kitty kitten” style of a call to get his attention.

As he usually did, he meowed straight back to me, took another taste of food from the dish, and then strolled right up to me as I approached. In the event that he was anxious, I sat down on the stairs and invited him to come to me; to my delight, he climbed straight up onto my lap and began purring.

I started walking towards the car where Cat heard my husband, Luke, talking to the guy that had been feeding him, and Cat knew we were going home and purred louder than I knew was possible and gave me that first suuuuper long head boop. Luke has an incredibly distinctive voice, and Cat heard my husband talking to the guy that had been feeding him.

It was as though the head boop pushed that fragment of my shattered heart back into its proper position. My husband took the image that perfectly captures the precise moment when he realized that he would be heading home with his family.

“When we arrived home, he walked directly up to “his” bathroom where we keep the plants throughout the winter so it’s a little jungle, and flopped right down in his usual old location. When we left, he went straight back to “his” bathroom. My heart was both broken and warmed all at the same time.”

“Mindy said that his canine siblings came up to visit him and that each of them had their own “welcome home head boop” moment when they saw him.

“I hope that our story will give others who are grieving the loss of 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 experience the overwhelming joy that we’re experiencing,” she continued.

This is how people responded to what was said.

By Anna

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