After 14 years: A Man Finds his Lost Cat
A Florida cat has been reunited with its owner, 14 years after Hurricane Jeanne tore them apart.
Retired K9 officer, Perry Martin, from Fort Pierce, lost his orange tabby - Thomas Jr., or T2 for short - during the carnage of 2004's Hurricane Jeanne.
'They said, "Perry what would you do if we told you that T2 was alive?" And I said, "I'd probably tell you you're crazy because he died a long long time ago!,'" Martin explained to WPTV.
Two weeks ago, the then-stray tabby made its way to the Humane Society of Treasure Coast.
'He was just found on the street, he was brought in,' volunteer Sarah Fisher. 'He had fleas, he was skinny.'
The Humane Society found that T2 had a microchip, however, and were able to determine that he had been separated from his owner for more than a decade.
T2 joined the Fort Pierce household back in 2002 and micro-chipped.
The cat stayed with the family for two years before escaping in 2004 during the aftermath of the deadly storm.
'People didn't have air conditioning, so as time went on people left their windows and screens open,' Martin added. 'I was staying in Stuart at the time and he slipped out.'
Fearing the worst, Martin assumed T2 had been hit by a car.
He said: 'I filed a report with the Humane Society, in case animal control picked him up. He had a microchip and I thought someone would just call me if they found him.'
But Martin soon was giving up hope.
'My vet even listed him as deceased,' he added.
So when their reunion finally took place, Martin knew that the cat he was looking at was definitely his.
'As soon as I looked at that face, I knew exactly who he was. A little bit older, kind of like me!' he said. 'I'm convinced he had to have had somebody bring him into their house. He must have been part of somebody's family and maybe he got out. I just can't see him living wild in the area I figured he would be.'
'The national average for cats that get reunited with their owners -- is only two per cent. The majority of them, they don't get microchipped. For dogs, it's 20 per cent,' Fisher said.
As hurricane season slowly approaches, Martin hopes that his story will inspire others to go on and get chips for their pets.
Just update your information, your alternate information and your vet's information. They'll scan them and hopefully you'll get your pet back. You never know, he said.
His now 18-year-old tabby is showing his age but does eat well.
'Since he got home, he's eating, he's drinking, he's moving around,' said T2's happy owner.
Now a service dog trainer, Martin has added a golden retriever named Sassy to the mix. He says the two animals get along and that the dog is gentle with the old cat.
'He had an opportunity to come home, spend time with his family and be on a good note when he passes,' said Martin. 'Until that day, he'll be spoiled like he was before he left.'
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