After 11 Years Of Searching A Cat Finds Its Mother
About three years ago, when Tiger first began appearing in Carol O’Connell’s yard, he would not let her to approach him. The older cat was terrified, but she could sense he was kind.
According to Lynne Meloccaro, executive director of the Dutchess County SPCA (DCSPCA) in New York, “He would show up and then go for months at a time.” She gave him food, but she was unable to approach him for a while.
O’Connell knows all about frightened animals from her job at the DCSPCA, so she was certain that if she was patient and gentle, Tiger may ultimately warm up to her. O’Connell and her son Dan had been attempting to win Tiger’s confidence for the past three years.
Eventually, Tiger felt secure enough to approach them and even show them affection. It appeared from the way he behaved that Tiger may have once owned a home. O’Connell brought a scanner home from work on a lark to see if he was chipped; amazingly, he was.
Overjoyed, O’Connell told the shelter and they contacted the family listed on Tiger’s chip, John and Maggie Welz. When the shelter workers spoke with the Welzes, they couldn’t believe what they were hearing: Tiger had been missing for 11 years.
When he was only 3 years old, Tiger had been spooked by something on Halloween night and somehow escaped his house and disappeared. His family searched desperately and put up posters everywhere hoping someone would find him. When they sold their house, they asked the new owners to keep an eye out for him and continued their search from their new home, but eventually, they had to accept that Tiger wasn’t coming home.
“His family had given up on finding him, and we weren’t even sure they would want him again after all these years, but once they got over the shock that he was still alive, they didn’t hesitate — they wanted him back right away,” Meloccaro said.
When the Welzes got the call 11 years later that Tiger had finally been found, they couldn’t believe it, either. It was especially shocking how healthy Tiger was, considering how long he’d been on his own. He had an injured eye and a few skin issues, and was underweight, but otherwise, Tiger was totally fine.
Meloccaro reported that “several others have subsequently come forward and claimed they had been feeding him for a time over the years.” Although it appears that no one was able to apprehend him and bring him to us sooner, he was able to survive because enough charitable members of the community assisted him. Finally seized by Carol and Dan, he didn’t struggle and appeared content to be stroked and touched. Perhaps he had decided that he had spent enough time on the streets and wanted to return inside.
Maggie Welz was thrilled to see her beloved Tiger once more, so she dashed over to the shelter as soon as she could. Tiger hadn’t seen his mother in such a long time that no one was sure if he would recognize her or not.
Tiger was quickly taken into Welz’s arms when she spotted him when she entered the room.
… and it didn’t take long for Tiger to start cuddling her right back.
Tiger only gave her a quick sniff before laying his head on her shoulder, according to Meloccaro. It was obvious that he would have no problem with her continuing to be his human going forward.