A retired K9 handler in Florida went on with his life after his cat went missing during the hurricane season. Many years later, he was surprised to receive a call out of the blue from his veterinarian’s office. What the vet told him had him exclaim—“you’re crazy.”
When a ginger tabby cat “showed up” in front of Perry Martin, a retired Fort Pierce K9 handler, in 2002, he decided to adopt him and named him Thomas Jr., also known as T2.
“He was a stray. Just kind of showed up, the 60-year-old told KGUN9. “Took him to the vet, gave him his shots and that’s when he got his microchip.”
Two years later, when Hurricane Jeanne hit the Treasure Coast, Martin moved in with a friend in Stuart, and T2 escaped a few days later.
“People didn’t have air conditioning, so as time went on people left their windows and screens open,” he recalled. “I was staying in Stuart at the time and he slipped out.”
“I filed a report with the Humane Society, in case animal control picked him up,” he recounted. He had a microchip and I thought someone would just call me if they found him.”
But no one called about T2.
“My vet even listed him as deceased,” he said.
Martin then moved on with his life. Little did he realize that 14 years later, someone took the ginger tabby cat to the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.
“He was just found on the street, he was brought in,” said coordinator Sarah Fisher. “He had fleas, he was skinny.”
After checking the microchip on the cat, Fisher soon discovered that Martin was the cat’s owner.
“It’s amazing,” said Fisher. “It’s unheard of.”
When Martin received the call, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“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 recalled.
When Martin was reunited with T2, he saw with one glance that the cat in front of him was indeed his long-lost pet.
“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 shelter hopes that T2’s story will show pet owners the importance of micro-chipping and of updating contact details.
“The microchip wasn’t updated and it was an old phone number. We were able to track down the original owner,” Fisher said.
“The national average for cats that get reunited with their owners—is only 2 percent. The majority of them, they don’t get microchipped. For dogs, it’s 20 percent.”
“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.
Now that T2 has returned home after many years, Martin is making sure T2 is “spoiled like he was before he left.”
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