This reunion really was the cat’s meow.
Freda Watson’s beloved cat, George, slipped out the door of a home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 12 years ago. (The Winnipeg Humane Society originally reported that the cat had been missing for 10 years but confirmed to HuffPost that it had been 12.)
Watson thought she had lost the pet forever.
But on Thursday, an animal lover saw George in the street and took him to the Winnipeg Humane Society.
Staff found a faded tattoo on his body. Watson no longer lived at the address listed with the tattoo, but employees were able to reach her sister-in-law, who passed on the message that George was alive and well, according to UPI.com.
Watson said she was shocked.
“I said, ‘Are you serious?’” Watson told the CBC. “I couldn’t sleep the night before. I was crying that night and I was crying in the morning.”
Employees told Watson that George hissed at them. But he was much calmer when he saw Watson for the first time in more than a decade.
“As I went to the kennel and pet him, he sniffed me, and all of a sudden he was just rubbing up on me like he remembered me,” she said. “I carried him in my arms, and he put both his paws around my neck as if he was hugging me.”
Watson said someone must have taken good care of George for all these years, and that she hopes to track them down to find out if they’d like visitation rights.
“But George is truly our family and he deserves to spend some years with us,” she told the CBC. “He’s getting old — he’s going to be 14 in December.”