Tiger wouldn’t allow Carol O’Connell close him when he first started showing up in her yard approximately three years ago. The elderly cat appeared to be kind, yet he was terrified.
The executive director of the Dutchess County SPCA (DCSPCA) in New York, Lynne Meloccaro, told The Dodo, “He would show up and then disappear for months at a period.” “She fed him for a long period but couldn’t get close to him.”
Because O’Connell works at the DCSPCA and has seen a lot of frightened animals, she knew that if she was patient and nice, Tiger will ultimately warm up to her.
O’Connell and her son Dan have worked hard over the past three years to earn Tiger’s confidence, and the cat has now felt secure enough to approach them and even exhibit affection. Tiger seems to have had a home at one point, based on his demeanor.
O’Connell brought a scanner home from work on a whim to test whether he was chipped — and he was, amazingly.
Overjoyed, O’Connell told the shelter and they contacted the family listed on Tiger’s chip, John and Maggie Welz. When the shelter workers spoke with the Welzes, they couldn’t believe what they were hearing: Tiger had been missing for 11 years.
Tiger had been terrified by something on Halloween night when he was just three years old and had somehow fled his house and vanished. His family looked everywhere and put up flyers in the hopes that someone would locate him.
They requested the new owners to keep a look out for him when they sold their house, and they continued their hunt from their new home, but they finally had to realize that Tiger would not be returning home.
“His family had given up on finding him, and we weren’t even sure they would want him again after all these years, but once they got over the shock that he was still alive, they didn’t hesitate — they wanted him back right away,” Meloccaro said.
When the Welzes got the call 11 years later that Tiger had finally been found, they couldn’t believe it, either. It was especially shơсking how healthy Tiger was, considering how long he’d been on his own. He had an injured eye and a few skin issues, and was underweight, but otherwise, Tiger was totally fine.
“Some individuals have come out since then and stated they’ve been feeding him for a long time,” Meloccaro added. “He was able to live because a large number of caring members of the community assisted him, despite the fact that no one had been able to capture him and bring him to us earlier.
When Carol and Dan eventually got him, he didn’t fight them and seemed to enjoy being caressed and patted. Maybe he’d decided he’d had enough of living on the streets and wanted to go back inside.”
Welz hurried up to Tiger as soon as she entered the room and grabbed him into her arms…
Tiger cuddled her immediately back, and it didn’t take long for her to cuddle back.
“Tiger just looked at her, sniffed her, and then rested his head on her shoulder,” Meloccaro said. “It was clear that he was not going to have any objection to having her be his human from now on.”
Tiger is now back at home, where he belongs and has fully reintegrated into his family’s life. He has resorted to sleeping snuggled up with his mother every night, clearly missing them.
His family believed they’d never see him again, but he’s now home, owing to the generosity of their community, and they’re happy to have him back safe and sound.