A cat that’s been missing for nearly 16 years was reunited with his owner right before he was almost euthanized.
The News Journal reports how the cat in question—a tabby named Ritz—managed to escape his home in Bear, Del., back in June 2006 after someone accidentally left the door open, understandably leaving his owner, Jason McKenry, distraught.
According to the same News Journal article, McKenry went around his neighborhood asking if anyone had seen the cat to no avail. After posting flyers around town in order to get a lead on the missing cat and checking in on animal shelters every now and again, McKenry gave up, assuming Ritz was long gone.
But then the other day happened. USA Today continues to report how McKenry received a text this week that Ritz had been found, and was actually about to be euthanized by a vet. Fortunately, his microchip was discovered in the nick of time.
“16 years? That’s a new record as far as I know,” comments Tom Sharp, president of AKC Reunite, a national database for microchipped pets. “That’s amazing.”
While McKenry got married to his longtime girlfriend, had kids, and moved to a new location in the almost two decades that he and Ritz have been apart, not much is really known as to what his four-legged companion got up to.
What is known, details the Daily Beast, is that Ritz wandered to the home of Emily Russell of Lums Pond about two years ago, who assumed he was just a regular undomesticated tabby and who assumed the role of caretaker for him.
It was Russell who came upon an injured Ritz one day—who she assumed was hit by a car—and who took him to the veterinary location where it was revealed he had a microchip the whole time.
“I started bawling my eyes out,” says Russel. “If I had known he had a chip, I would have taken him sooner, but he just looked like a feral cat.”
Ritz has since be reunited with McKenry, although he’s keeping mum on whatever escapades he’s gotten up to over the years.