A cat that vanished over a decade ago and whose owners had since moved to a different state was reunited with its family – after miraculously surviving the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, California, that devastated tens of thousands of acres.
“Honestly, I still can’t believe it,” Jennifer Leigh Thompson told the Sacramento Bee after finally reuniting with her furry companion, Pilot. “It’s surreal.
According to Thompson, Pilot had been adopted for several years when he abruptly went missing in 2007, while the family was still living in California. Three years later, the Thompson family moved to Colorado and gave up hope of ever seeing Pilot again.
Fast forward ten years: a Good Samaritan found a cat that had suffered severe burns in the Santa Rosa wildfire and was malnourished after not being fed or given water. They took the cat to a veterinarian, who discovered that a microchip had been implanted.
Sure enough, the microchip was still registered to the Thompson family, who was stunned to hear that Pilot was alive and had been tracked down.
“And to know what he’s been through with the fires is absolutely unbelievable,” Thompson said. “He’s one very determined little guy. And he’s doing amazingly well considering his injuries.”
Thompson traveled to California eight days later so that she could retrieve Pilot and take him to his new home in Colorado.
“I have no doubt that Pilot remembers me,” Thompson said, recalling the moment they were reunited. “I will never, ever forget that moment. He was asleep and he woke up and whipped his head around as soon as he heard my voice.”
“We’re so happy to have him back. He’s just as sweet as he always was and he doesn’t leave my side at night. It’s truly a miracle!” she said.