A shy cat from the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter in Virginia was lucky enough to find a forever family. When his parents Mindy and Luke Criner took him in, they were heartbroken to see him sitting off to the side while his other furry siblings played. But Mindy knew that once he realizes he has a loving family, he will bloom
It took him a while to feel home but step by step he came out of his shell and opened up. When the Criners welcomed a new child into the world, Cat instantly fell in love with him. With time, Cat became a confident cat, and his favorite activity was exploring his yard.
When Criner called Cat to come back home one day, he didn’t show up. She asked the manager of a Facebook page, Lost & Found Pets – Hampton Roads, VA, for help and started looking everywhere.
The worried cat owner and her husband went above and beyond to find him, including spreading a litter box and food outside, hoping he would recognize the smell and find home.
They even set up housing stations around the area and asked friends to help them check. Posters were distributed, night walks of calling his name lasted to the small hours, and hope started slipping through their fingers.
As days turned to months and months turned to a year, every day without Cat increased the pain.
When day 536 without Cat arrived, Criner received a shocking call. When Criner woke up that morning, she didn’t expect that someone would call to tell her Cat was found.
The cat owner rushed to Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter to meet him, hoping it wasn’t a mistake. As she arrived at the shelter, tearing, she met the staff who told her a man had been feeding Cat for a year, thinking he was homeless.
She discovered that Cat was hit by a car. Fortunately, a compassionate man found him just in time and reached animal control. By scanning the microchip, they learned that the homeless feline had an owner.
Criner and her husband drove to the man’s house, and as they arrived, they saw Cat sitting on the front porch. The moment Cat saw her, he stopped eating the snack he had and ran right in her lap, purring.
Criner walked back to the car to call her husband, who chatted with the man, and when Cat heard Lukas’s voice, he purred louder as if he knew he reunited with his family.
When Cat came back home, his animal siblings were over the moon to see him again. He claimed back his old spots and started to make up for the lost time by snuggling up to his parents.
Criner hopes that their reunion story will spark hope in other worried pet owners, and motivate people who find homeless pets to check whether they have a family.