Missouri to York County: One man's journey to reunite with his missing furry friend
More than 12 hours and about 900 miles — that was the trip Chris Roberts embarked on from St. Louis to York County to be reunited with his cat, Lucy, who went missing for two months.
Lucy, a domestic short-haired tabby and calico mix, ended up in the hands of the York County SPCA after she was brought in as part of the clinic's "trap, neuter, return" program.
The program, which aims to spay/neuter outdoor, free-roaming cats to help eliminate overpopulation, occasionally will wind up with a couple of domestic felines.
So clinic medical director Dr. Kimberly Mann wasn't surprised when Lucy was found with a microchip.
"Cats travel a little bit — it's not usually a cat from down the road," Mann said. "Luckily most of the time they are chipped."
Roberts moved from Reading to St. Louis in January. It was during the moving process that Lucy escaped and went missing, according to SPCA veterinary operations manager Amy Gauer.
"He basically ran out of time and had to leave her behind," Gauer said.
But Roberts never gave up hope that he would be reunited with Lucy. Throughout the months when she was missing, Roberts kept Lucy's favorite blanket, carrier and food.
Then he got the call — and in 48 hours Roberts and Lucy were together again.
"The reunion was basically priceless. I've never seen a gentleman that excited to see his cat," Gauer said. "He actually started to cry — as did everybody watching."
While it was a heartwarming reunion for everyone at the York County SPCA, Mann said it was also an important lesson for all pet owners.
"It's only because that microchip was placed that he was able to reunite," Mann said.
She urges all pet owners to get their pets microchipped, as it's the most reliable way for them to be located.
Other forms of identification, like collars, can easily fall off an animal or become illegible.
In the case of Roberts and his tabby, the York County SPCA likely wouldn't have been able to successfully reunite the two if Lucy wasn't chipped.
"It was good to see an owner not giving up hope and traveling that distance to get his kitty friend he thought was gone forever," Gauer said.
— Reach Tina Locurto at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.