SARASOTA, Fla.-- Imagine your pet suddenly going missing. It's heartbreaking. And after a few months, you may give up hope of finding them at all.
But imagine then getting a call five years later that your pet's been found. It happened to a Bay area cat owner. And how they were reunited is a lesson for all pet owners.
If cats truly have nine lives, then Nicky is proof.
“He was really weak and a little sad,” says Jo Fogarty, veterinary technician at the Cat Depot. Jo is part of the team that’s been treating Nicky since Monday.
“He was purring even though you could tell he wasn’t feeling good,” she says.
A client found the 12-year-old near a tree, abandoned.
“He was emaciated,” says Dr. Rodrigo Rius, veterinarian at the Cat Depot.
Nicky arrived weighing 6 pounds, half his recommended weight, and his bloodwork showed serious liver disease. Rius admits he wasn’t optimistic.
“I love when I’m proven wrong. He’s been able to turn around a bad clinical picture. He’s lucky all over,” the vet says.
Really lucky, in fact. Nicky ran away from his original owner five years ago.
“I never thought I’d see him again,” says Cheryl Rozanek. She posted fliers looking for Nicky, and when weeks turned into months and then a year she says she gave up.
Then on Wednesday, Rozanek got a phone call saying Nicky had been found.
She says, “I had to see it to believe it. It had been five years.”
They were reunited on Thursday.
“It was so emotional we all started crying,” says Jo.
It’s rare for pets to be reunited with their owners after so many years. But thanks to a tiny microchip the size of a grain of rice located between Nicky’s shoulder blades the staff at Cat Depot was able to track him down. Sarasota County Animal Services helped out as well.
Rozanek says Nicky’s story is a lesson for all pet owners. She says, “Chip your animals - it works. If he had not had the chip in him they would not have (had my contact information).”
Jo adds, “He’s definitely a survivor. He decided he was going to make it no matter what.”
Nicky’s prognosis is good. He should be released soon.
Cheryl says, “I just want to bring him home.”
Indeed, a homecoming five years overdue.
The Good Samaritan that found Nicky is even paying for his medical care - and wants to remain anonymous.
(© 2016 WTSP)