A northern New Mexico family who hadn’t seen their house cat in more than half-a-year got a recent surprise thanks to a social media post.
After months of thinking their cat, “Fire,” may have met its demise, Judy and Jimmy Chavez found out last week their cat merely went on a 7-month adventure away from home.
“I didn’t think that she would have survived,” said Judy Chavez, recalling her cat’s disappearance from their home north of Española in rural Rio Arriba County.
Last July, Chavez says their 10-year old house cat named “Fire” disappeared after escaping outside. Fire spent her whole life indoors.
“That day she went outside, she was running away from the kitten and she never came back,” Judy said.
The family says they spent days looking for Fire around their home with no luck.
More than seven months after Fire disappeared, last week, the staff over at Española Humane received a stray cat surrendered to the shelter.
“(She was) just a big mat ball,” said Barbara Tebbell of Española Humane. “She really sweet though, had a sweet face.”
The cat’s fur was so overgrown, staff members had to shave the black and orange cat. They then put her up for adoption, sharing a photo of the cat on Facebook.
Within hours, a woman reached out to the shelter, recognizing the cat. That woman was Judy and Jimmy Chavez’s daughter.
“I couldn’t believe that it was her,” Judy said. “We called her name and she turned her head instantly.”
The Chavez family has since brought Fire back home, saying she’s in good health.
“I was happy to see her,” said Jimmy Chavez. “I was relieved because I’d never experienced something like this before and it was really a happy moment for us.”
Española Humane says the story is a reminder for pet owners to get their cats microchipped.
“We don’t normally think of getting cats microchipped, a lot of people think of getting their dogs microchipped, but it’s pretty important, especially with cats who go indoor-outdoor, they can disappear for a couple of weeks at a time and the chip will get them quickly back,” said Tebbel.