After being separated from his family in Wanaque, New Jersey for two and a half years, Jimmy the cat has finally made his way home.
Though officially an indoor cat, Jimmy loved the occasional trip outdoors to visit the neighbors and to accompany his family while walking the dog. During one of these outdoor adventures on September 13, 2014, Jimmy failed to return home.
Worried that someone had picked him up thinking he was a friendly stray, his owner, Susan Zelitsky, and her family put up posters and contacted the local shelter and police. The months passed with no sign of Jimmy, but Susan didn't forgot about him.
Two years later on March 19, 2017, Susan was browsing on Facebook when she came across a shelter's lost animals page. On it was a cat that looked a lot like her Jimmy, but a bit "more weathered."
Going through the lost cat's details, Susan was able to check off similarity after similarity between this cat and her Jimmy, including the fact that both cats were declawed.
The shelter where this similar cat was in West Milford, about 10 miles away from her home so she immediately gave them a call, even though it was past their opening hours.
By a stroke of luck, one of the shelter employees had been staying late feeding the animals and answered the phone. Susan explained the situation and the shelter employee suggested that she send over some pictures of Jimmy so that they could compare the markings.
Despite the fact that the photos Susan sent over were just old pictures from her cellphone, the shelter employee agreed that they looked very similar.
The next morning, Susan and her neighbor who Jimmy used to visit made the 10-mile trip to the West Milford Animal Shelter. When the pair saw the cat in his cage, there was no doubt that it was Jimmy.
Susan had brought her husband's pillowcase as well as a dog toy that Jimmy used to play with and he immediately reacted, head butting and sniffing both Susan and the items. After hearing the good news, Susan's husband quickly made his way down to the shelter and Jimmy was just as excited to see him.
While things had changed a bit in the Zelitsky household, including the addition of two new cats, Jimmy quickly made himself at home, just like he had never left.
We may never know what Jimmy was up to during the two and a half years he was missing, but one thing is for certain - everyone is glad that he's returned home safely.
All images courtesy of the West Milford Animal Shelter.
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