Most pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. This was also the case for Jason and Liz McKenry, a Maryland couple that treated their kitten, Ritz, like their own baby, especially because they didn’t have any kids at the time.
So, when Ritz ran out of their apartment one day and disappeared, the Annapolis couple was distraught. “We spent months looking all around and talking to the shelters,” Jason told CBS News. “Anything we could think of, we tried.”
But even despite the couple’s extensive search, these efforts were in vain. The McKenrys’ wouldn’t see their missing cat again for nearly 2 decades.
As the years passed, Jason and Liz had kids and expanded their family. But they never forgot about their first fur baby. Liz reportedly even kept a copy of the kitten’s “lost pet” poster on her computer.
“It felt like if I deleted it, it never happened, and he’d be forgotten,” she told the station. “And I couldn’t do that.”
And then one day, 16 years later, Jason got a very surprising text message from the local vet’s office. “Cat Ritz has been found,” it reportedly read. “I was like, ‘Well, that’s gotta be a mistake,’” Jason recalled thinking, assuming the vet must have just recycled Ritz’s microchip number.
But as it turns out, the text message wasn’t a mistake.
Somebody had found the now elderly gray cat in a trailer park just 6 miles away from where the McKenrys’ lived. Sadly, the years hadn’t been kind. Ritz was limping so badly that someone brought him in to be euthanized.
But before administering Ritz’s final dose, the vet scanned the battered cat for a microchip, thus setting in motion the text that brought Ritz back to his family.
Sadly, the years haven’t been kind to Ritz, who has two bad legs and a lumbering gait that reveals his advancing age. But even so, the senior cat seems to enjoy being reunited with his forever family, which now includes two human siblings to lavish him with extra love, pets, and attention.
Not only has Ritz finally found his way home, but he’s also set a new record! According to CBS News, the elderly cat now holds the record for being missing the longest before being reunited with his owners through a microchip. Don’t forget to chip your animals!
Find out more in the video:
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