Eleven cats escaped an Anamosa cat shelter after a fire in 2013. Some cats were able to make their way back home, but Tommy was nowhere to be seen.
“For the next six, seven weeks I set live traps around the burned building all the way up about four or five blocks away and checked those four or five times a day,” Animal Welfare Foundation manager Tracy McCarty said.
McCarty eventually went back to her normal routine and built a new shelter in Monticello, but never forgot about the gray short-haired cat Tommy.
“We had the fliers made and we hung those on just about every door, hundreds of doors in Anamosa,” McCarty said.
Three years later, Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control gave her a call.
“They said that they had picked up a kitty the night before and it had a microchip that they scanned and it scanned to Animal Welfare Foundation,” McCarty said.
McCarty says her reunion with Tommy was emotional.
“It was so emotional to know that we had finally found him and he found us and we’re so happy to have him back,” McCarty said.
Tommy has a leg injury that veterinarians believe happened a few years ago, but is in good health.
“He got out of the carrier and got up on my lap and licked my nose and gave me a big hug and he’s here to stay, he’s here to stay,” McCarty said.
They still have no idea how he ended up in Cedar Rapids. He won’t be put up for adoption, instead he will be the “kitty mascot” for the shelter. A permanent place he can call home.
McCarty says Tommy will also be the face of a micro chipping campaign the shelter will undertake to urge people to microchip their pets.