Ritz the cat has been returned to his owners — an incredible sixteen years after his disappearance.
Ritz was the beloved tabby kitten of Maryland couple Jason and Liz McKenry, who in 2006 escaped through their apartment door and was never seen by them again. Until now.
The couple was shocked to receive a call from a local vet who informed them that they had Ritz in their care. The now elderly cat had been brought in by a concerned resident of a trailer park located six miles from the apartment that Ritz had made his escape from.
A nomad lifestyle
The resourceful feline had been living the vagabond lifestyle in the park for some time, sleeping beneath trailers and living off scraps from kind residents.
When one of those residents discovered that Ritz was suffering from an injured leg she brought him to the local vet where she assumed that he would be peacefully put to sleep.
But when the vet saw Ritz, as is the procedure for all strays, he was scanned for a microchip. This is how after sixteen years, which included a house move, marriage, and two children, Jason McKenry was informed via text that he and Liz’s beloved first pet had been found.
Never gave up hope
CBS News, who first reported the story, spoke with the couple and Liz shared that she had never given up hope of Ritz returning to them. She had even kept the missing poster on her computer that they had created for Ritz 2006. She told the news station:
“It felt like if I deleted it, it never happened, and he’d be forgotten. And I couldn’t do that.”
A second chance
Ritz has now settled back into life with his original owners, with the couple sharing that he is very docile and has a gentle nature that has helped him build a friendship with their children who were delighted to finally meet mom and dad’s very first pet.
His peaceful demeanor suggests that Ritz spent some time as a housepet during his missing years. Ritz the cat is now a record holder as no pet reunited via microchip has ever been lost for as long as he was.
One lucky cat
Ritz is also considered to be a very lucky kitty given that he was moments from being put to sleep before his devoted owners were informed that their beloved kitten, who had left their lives all those years ago, was ready to come home.