It’s always heartbreaking when a pet goes missing. You search everywhere, terrified that you’ll never see your friend again.
But it’s important to never lose hope entirely: we’ve seen many stories of dogs being found months or even years after they disappeared, making unlikely reunions with their families.
But one recent story is truly unbelievable: a long-lost cat has finally made it home after being away for 16 years!
Jason and Liz McKenry, from Annapolis, Maryland, loved their cat Ritz like family, but were devastated in 2006 when the cat escaped their apartment. Despite all their efforts, they could not find their beloved pet anywhere.
“We spent months looking all around and talking to the shelters,” Jason McKenry told CBS News. “Anything we could think of, we tried.”
The odds seemed stacked against them: the couple told USA Today that they were never sure exactly where to look, and while Ritz was microchipped they were told that shelters at the time did not often check cats for chips.
Despite everything, they never fully gave up hoping they would see their cat again. Life went on, and the couple got married, moved homes and had two children.
And recently — a whopping 16 years after Ritz disappeared — they got a message that left them stunned. According to CBS, Jason received an automated text from a vet, saying they scanned her cat’s microchip. Both reacted in disbelief.
“I was like, ‘Well, that’s gotta be a mistake.’ I mean, I’m thinking they recycled the microchip number,” he said. “He’s been gone for 16 years, I didn’t think this was possible,” Liz added.
As unbelievable as it sounds, it was true: Ritz, after a lifetime away from home, was finally found.
The timing was also miraculous: Ritz was being fed by a woman at a trailer park, but since the elderly cat had leg injuries she brought him to a vet to be euthanized.
But instead, Ritz reunited with his old family. According to CBS, despite his old age, he’s on the mend and settling in well at home. While it’s been such a long time, and this is the first time he’s ever met their children, Ritz seems comfortable with the family.
“He hasn’t balked at all about being handled,” Jason told USA Today, saying he’s friendly even though they’re not sure if he still recognizes them. “It’s astonishing.”
“He’s obviously had a long eventful life. But he’ll be comfortable for whatever time he has left.”
Thanks to microchips, pets can reunite with their owners years and years after they disappeared. But 16 years might be the all-time record.
“Sixteen years? That’s a new record as far as I know,” Tom Sharp, president of AKC Reunite, told USA Today. “That’s amazing.”
We’ll never know for sure what Ritz was up to all these years, but the important thing is that he’s finally home.
“I wish he could talk,” Jason said. “I’d love to hear his story.”
Wow, 16 years! That’s such a long time for a cat to be missing, but we’re glad that Ritz has finally made it home — better late than never!
We know this old cat will enjoy the rest of his days with his loving family. Share this amazing news!