Cat Missing For 11 Years Finally Reunited With Family

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on October 25, 2019

The day that Tiger the tabby was accidentally let out of his upstate New York house and disappeared, his cat mom, Maggie Welz, made a commitment. She believed she would see him again and vowed to always keep an open place for him in the household. Little did she know that that day would come, but she would have to wait 11 years for it.

Credit: Dutchess County SPCA/Facebook

The year was 2008 when the door at the Welz family home was accidentally left open and Tiger, whom the family had adopted three years prior after finding him wandering around outside their home, got out. Maggie and her family moved shortly thereafter, but asked the new residents of the house to keep an eye out for Tiger. No one ever saw him in the area again.

A woman named Carol O’Connell, meanwhile, began to notice a cat passing through her neighborhood from time to time. Every once in a while, Carol or her son would see him outside their house in the early mornings. Carol said she was not sure whether the cat had been dumped by someone or was feral, but he liked to keep his distance. But she did notice over time that his condition seemed to be deteriorating, so she took up the task of gaining his trust. She and her son began putting out food and water for him.

And Carol’s profession? She’s an employee of the Dutchess County SPCA, giving her easy access to resources helpful in such a situation.

Credit: Dutchess County SPCA/Facebook

Earlier this year, when Carol got to the point of being able to approach the cat, she brought home a microchip reader from work, scanned him, and found that he was Tiger, Maggie Welz’s beloved cat that she had not seen since he was three years old. He was taken to the vet for a check-up and found to be in remarkably good health for having lived many years on the streets.

Credit: Dutchess County SPCA/Facebook

And then came the heartwarming reunion between human and feline. Maggie Welz and her husband John were notified that Tiger had been found. Her patience and hope had been rewarded. Without hesitation, they came for Tiger and took him home with them. Maggie expressed profound gratitude to Carol and her son.

Credit: Dutchess County SPCA/Facebook

According to a local news outlet, Maggie said, “I can’t tell them how grateful I am to them for their persistence and their dedication and for making sure that our cat was OK. I have no idea where he was for the years in between. I’m sure he could tell us many tales, but the thing is that he is now home with us and he will be with us for the remainder of his life.”

And how is Tiger doing now back with his family after 11 years? It’s as if he never left.

Said Maggie, “Each night I’ve slept with him, he crawls right up on me and I just look at him and think, I can’t believe that you’re home with us.”