Cat That Disappears From Home Turns Up 3 Years Later Looking Completely Different

There’s a reason people say cats have nine lives: they are resilient. While you’d think domesticated animals are dependent on their human owners, cats are feral at heart and can fend for themselves upon being separated from their cushy indoor existences.

But when one particularly curious kitty ran away from his home in Cornwall, England, in 2011, his owners were distraught. They thought they’d never see him again. That made it all the more surprising when he turned up three years later and his, um, different appearance made him hard to recognize. What had he been doing all this time?

Gover, Cornwall, residents Helen and Phillip Johns adored their black tomcat, Woosie, with everything they had. Since their pet was an indoor/outdoor cat, he would come in and go out as he pleased. There was mutual trust between him and his owners.


In 2011, “he went out one morning as cats do and we never saw him again,” Helen said. Eventually the Johnses felt they had to move on from their cherished Woosie, even getting another cat, Lola, to fill the gap in their lives.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Tragically, Helen and Philip thought the worst, imagining their sweet Woosie starving to death on the streets or getting hit by a car. Because he didn’t come prancing home, ready for his Fancy Feast, they just figured Woosie had died. Boy, were they in for a surprise.

The New Arab

See, Woosie — a skillful traveler if you will — was thriving out in the world, as he somehow landed himself in the town of Callington, 30 miles from his home.

Necrothesp / Wikimedia Commons

After the adventurous kitty traversed 30 miles on his own, he declared Ginsters pasty factory his resting spot, perhaps smelling all the savory treats inside. He lurked around the outside of the building long enough for employees to eventually discover him.

Cornwall Live

The Ginsters factory employees, delighted to have Woosie around, unofficially adopted him and renamed him George. And yes, they fed “George” plenty of treats not meant for four-legged, furry friends.

The Royal Family / YouTube

It was as if Woosie had finally reached the promised land. Considering Ginsters is known for its Cornish pasty, workers fed him pastries and sandwiches practically whenever he wanted and let him roam the offices freely.

Though Woosie was brought back outside at closing time, he was always patiently waiting by the door for the Ginsters crew the next morning. This was their routine, and since the little tomcat was treated like the king of cats, it was a routine he quickly got used to.

Hello World –

This was Woosie’s life for a while… for three years actually. It was a good, long run at Ginsters’, but at the beginning of 2014, the workers decided to turn Woosie in to local veterinarians.

N2 Cat Crew / YouTube

Thankfully, Woosie had an identification microchip embedded in his skin. With one quick scan, the vets knew Woosie belonged to Helen and Philip Johns. They soon got a call they never thought they’d receive in a million years.

Olympus Cove Veterinary Clinic

“Nearly three years on, we get a call from the vets saying ‘we have got your cat here.’ I looked at our other cat, Lola, and told them they must be mistaken,” Helen said. She didn’t even consider the possibility that Woosie was alive; it seemed too unlikely.

“Then it suddenly registered they must mean Woosie. I was so shocked,” Helen continued. “I was gobsmacked. We never expected to see him again, not after he’d been missing for three years.” Though the Johnses were shocked then, they had no idea their missing tomcat would look so… different.

Best Friends Animal Society

Considering the busy factory employees never kept track of how much Woosie ate, he got pretty plump in those three years away from home! A regular diet of chicken and bacon puff pasties will inevitably result in a fat cat paunch.

Fat Laila / Facebook

“He’s a heavy cat now — he’s quite large. We think that he may have been eating all the pasties and sandwiches up there.” Helen explained. “He’s probably been given lots of titbits from staff there.”

Thomas Last

Though Helen and Philip were ecstatic to bring Woosie back home in Gover, they were a bit concerned about how he and Lola would interact. Other than the occasional “odd hiss” he’d direct at Lola, Woosie settled right in to his old abode.

Cole and Marmalade / YouTube

“He came home on Tuesday evening, came straight into the house and just stretched out in the chair as if nothing had happened. He’s like Lord Muck. It’s surreal. He’s unfazed by it,” Helen disclosed, clearly stunned.

@chillysheep / Unsplashed

But there was one mystery the family still needed to solve: “We think he may have climbed into the back of a lorry delivering to the Co-Op store and gone unnoticed by the driver,” Helen said of how Woosie possibly got to Callington. Of course, they couldn’t be sure.

“Or he could have jumped into someone’s car who was visiting the area when they opened the door. We just don’t know. It’s just a miracle he’s here after three years,” she continued. Helen and Philip understandably wanted Woosie to settle in for a few weeks before letting him explore the outdoors again.

@HeThrustsHisFists / Reddit

When Ginsters higher-ups heard about the heartwarming tale, a spokesperson issued a statement about company safety and hygiene: “As you would expect from a food manufacturer, we have very strict procedures to ensure that stray animals do not venture into the perimeter of our premises at any time.”

Voltage TV/BBC

Cats are curious explorers by nature, so Woosie’s little three-year vacation isn’t really unheard of. Other pet owners have, too, been reunited with their adventurous felines years after they escaped.

Emma Lee/WHYY

When Michelle Wright’s beloved cat, Fuzzy, escaped from a friend’s home, she scoured her Barrington, New Hampshire, community for several weeks in July 2010 searching for her fur baby.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

Michelle kept her diligent search for Fuzzy going, until a neighbor came to her with unsettling news. The neighbor had witnessed something that seemingly made Michelle’s search mission futile.

Tambako the Jaguar / Getty Images

“One of her [the friend’s] neighbors had told me that a black and white cat that resembled him had been struck by a car, which was extremely devastating,” Michelle told WMUR-TV news.

Paul Craven

“I was a mess for quite a while and I had given up for the most part,” Michelle continued. She was filled with resentment for herself, as if she could’ve done something to stop these events. Picturing innocent Fuzzy deceased was too much for her to handle.

Universal Pictures

And though this was true, there was a part of her that kept faith that Fuzzy was somewhere out there, alive. “I was devastated. But I would always keep my eye out for him when I was in the area,” Michelle relayed.

Nils Jacobi / Getty Images

Four years later, still no sign of Fuzzy, Michelle and her husband stopped into Barrington’s Pet Connection pet supplies store. It was there that she was finally met with a sign.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

And when we say “sign,” we literally mean what Michelle sensed was Fuzzy’s face. See, the Cocheco Valley Humane Society had a section in the store with animals up for adoption, one being a familiar-looking black-and-white kitty. His name was Molson.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

Michelle asked for Molson’s story. Pet Connection had been fostering him in support of the Dover, New Hampshire, shelter for just about a week — a far cry from the four years Fuzzy was missing. But really, he had quite the story.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

See, though Pet Connection was taking care of this Fuzzy lookalike right before Michelle found her way back to him, the poor feline had apparently been bouncing back and forth between families and the shelter for quite a while.

Photo by Jason Bahr/Getty Images for Purina Cat Chow

The Cocheco Valley Humane Society had re-homed Molson two separate times. The first time he was adopted by a woman, but that living situation only lasted seven months. Who would dare get rid of that mushy little face?

Ryan McBride / Foster’s Daily Democrat

The second time a family adopted the cat, later returning him when they moved away from the area. But this was an interesting development “His named was changed to Molson by his last owner,” Michelle said. She needed to know more about this cat.

Kristi Odom

“I had said to my husband, ‘Wow, he looks an awful lot like Fuzzy.’ And I asked how old he was and she said according to the shelter he was 4 years old. And at that very moment, I knew,” Michelle explained.

Ryan McBride / Foster’s Daily Democrat

Michelle was filled with emotions; she was going to prove this cat was her Fuzzy. “She was really adamant about it like, ‘That’s my cat, I swear. That looks just like my cat, I’m going to have to bring in pictures,’” recalled Jesse Senter, the owner of Pet Connection.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

“And then the next day she brought in pictures and lo and behold, they matched up everything to the paw prints and colors and markings and everything,” he continued. It was a perfect match.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

When Michelle saw the memorable black spot on the bottom of his paw, she couldn’t help but get teary-eyed. “I just started bawling. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I don’t care,” Michelle exclaimed.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

Michelle was more than happy to shell out the $85 adoption fee to reclaim her cherished kitty, who she’d been gravely missing for four years. The fee also covered the implanting of a microchip, so Fuzzy’s identity would never again be a mystery.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

And not only was their unlikely reunion one filled with love, but the story behind Michelle’s initial encounter with Fuzzy as a kitten, too, was one for the books. “He was a Valentine’s Day cat,” she said.

Ryan McBride / Foster’s Daily Democrat

As Fuzzy propped himself up on Michelle, his tiny paws resting on her knees, she felt the strong connection to Fuzzy she felt on Valentine’s Day 2009. Fuzzy was finally home. “If I never believed in miracles before, I do now,” she said.

WMUR-TV / YouTube

Whether or not you believe in miracles, you have to admit that Michelle Wright’s and Fuzzy’s reunion is marvelous. Perhaps you’d rather call it a stroke of luck. Whatever you wish to call it, it happens more than you’d think. From America’s New Hampshire to South East England’s Hampshire, people and pets are reuniting.

Rachel Griggs

Jo and Ade Haigh, from Stubbington, Hampshire, got Charlie when he was just seven weeks old. He was the sweetest little black and white kitten with glowing green eyes, and the English couple was happy to welcome him to his forever home.

Best Friends Animal Society

Charlie lived a happy life with his new parents in the suburban village of Stubbington, which he loved adventuring through. They trusted Charlie enough to let him walk around the south coast of England, confident he’d always make it home safely.

Andy Brooks

This went on for nine years. So imagine the Haighs’ shock when, one day in 2006, Charlie never came back home to his family. They did their best to avoid panicking, as that wouldn’t solve anything; instead, they made it their mission to find their fur baby.

天然ガス / Wikimedia Commons

The anguished couple put up “Lost Cat” posters around the neighborhood and desperately contacted local veterinarian offices and animal shelters in hopes that someone brought Charlie in. Alas, this was all to no avail.

@kodibramble / Reddit

Sadly, life had to go on; Jo and Ade couldn’t grieve forever. The couple wound up packing up and moving to a neighborhood over two miles from the house that they once owned and raised Charlie in.

Meathead Movers

The couple hadn’t visited their previous charming village in quite a while, but Jo stopped by the town they once called home when her mother was looking to purchase a property in that region in 2012. Anything for mum!

Tony Cenicola / The New York Times

“My mum, sister and I were looking at a place close to the house Ade and I lived in when Charlie went missing.” said Jo. Being back in their old stomping grounds brought back memories of Charlie.

Katy Kildee

“If it wasn’t for the bungalow my mum, sister and I were looking at, we wouldn’t have been around there,” she continued. Perhaps there was more than one reason Jo was brought back to the area.

Ana Maria Serrano / Getty Images

It originally seemed like just and uneventful trip back to her old neighborhood, when suddenly, Jo spotted an oddly familiar-looking black-and-white cat outside a house. It looked like a replica of Charlie.

RussieseO / Getty Images

“When we saw this cat on a wall outside a house I was immediately 99.9 per cent sure it was Charlie,” Jo recalled. But since she hadn’t seen her precious fur ball in about six years, it would be a miracle if it were really him.

Sage & Simple

“He was a lot skinnier but came straight over to me and responded to his name,” Jo explained. But of course, the cat could’ve just been responding to sound. She needed to know for sure.

quintanilla / Getty Images

Jo had a strong gut feeling that this random cat in her former neighborhood was in fact her missing pet, so she did what any crazy cat lady would do: she took him.


Jo immediately booked it to the animal shelter she worked at as a receptionist to check the wandering mystery cat for a microchip, as her and her engineer husband had one implanted in Charlie. The microchip test would reveal the truth.

Thomas Wells

Unbelievably, the microchip test revealed that this enigma of a cat truly was Charlie, who was 16 years old as of 2012. “I’m over the moon to have him back. We shed a few tears when the microchip test worked,” Jo gushed. It was fate.

Jo went and spoke to the man who lived in the house she found Charlie in front of, where she learned that he’d been feeding Charlie for nearly two and a half years! If only Charlie could talk to tell the tales of his six-year journey.

TanyaJoy / Getty Images

“Charlie had always been quite a friendly cat. When we lived in Stubbington he would often go down to the nearby stables where they would feed him. So it’s no surprise he found someone to look after him in the intervening years,” Jo explained.

Better Cities for Pets

Jo and Ade were beyond grateful to have their four-legged friend back in their home. But things were much different in the Haigh household since Charlie had last lived with them, as the family now had two other cats, two dogs, and beautiful twin babies, Drew and Daniella.

Though he was always a mischievous, fun-loving outdoor kitty, Jo and Ade were understandably wary of the idea of letting him outside again. Regarding the idea, Jo then stated, “We will eventually, but I don’t know when I’ll be brave enough.”

“He’s got the meow of an older cat now and you can tell he’s grown up into an older boy. He’s settling back in and doesn’t seem too fazed by the children,” Jo relayed of Charlie’s progress. The Haighs had always wondered what happened to Charlie after he disappeared, but that no longer mattered; Charlie was finally home.

The Six Cats Parade / YouTube

Though the story of Jo and Ade’s runaway cat is miraculous, cats are survivors, and this kind of thing happens more than you’d think. Though not all pet owners get microchips implanted in their cats, there are other ways of confirming that a lost cat is your lost cat.

Photo: Jaimy Jones / HCN Staff

Jon Gulla was craving both responsibility and love one day in 2012, so he followed in the footsteps of so many young adults before him and went searching for the perfect pet.

Jon Gulla / Facebook

When he saw two cats — Julie and her brother, Jack — Jon knew he’d found the perfect pair. He brought the two home and let ’em run hog wild around his place. The kittens cuddled together. They played together. They were a delight.

This made it particularly painful when, shortly after the adoption, Jon had to leave Julie and Jack with his mother. He was off to college and wasn’t into the idea of hiding cats in his dorm room.

Concordia College

Jon’s mother, Lorinda, welcomed the kittens into her abode because, c’mon, who wouldn’t? Julie had a little white spot on her fur that made her just so darn cute. But her joy in living with the two kittens was unexpectedly cut short.


Being that she was a cat and prone to bizarre fits of panic, Julie took off running one day. Just scooted out the door and headed down the street. “I couldn’t find her,” Lorinda recalled. “I was just beside myself.”

Devastated by the breakup of his dynamic kitten duo, Jon teamed up with his mom to find the missing feline. They wandered the neighborhood, hanging up posters, jingling bags of cat treats, and calling Julie!

Frantic searches for the cat halted, however, when doctors diagnosed Jon with lymphoma. With a fight for his life now ahead of him, he could no longer focus on the cat he so dearly loved.

The Good Doctor

Six years passed. Jon beat cancer, married his long-time girlfriend, found a new job, and set-up shop in Indianapolis, 25 miles away from his old home in Carmel. Things were looking up. But he never stopped thinking about Julie.

Xu Chen Yang / Facebook

Perhaps it was for that reason his mother was browsing PawBoost Lost & Found Pets, a page on Facebook dedicated to reuniting pet owners with, well, their lost pets. A certain post on it piqued her interest.

The Star

A woman named Christine McKeon wrote that she’d recently seen a cat under a shed in her backyard. The cat, she noted, was skittish, and just a little bit mean. It didn’t sound anything like Julie.


Most concerning of all was that the post didn’t mention the white spot on Julie’s belly, which would’ve been a good detail to include, Lorinda thought, were someone trying to find this cat’s owner.

Still, even after six years, she, like Jon, was drawn to the idea that Julie was definitely still out there, looking for them. She knew they’d be kicking themselves for the rest of their lives if they didn’t follow up with Christine.


So Jon made the drive, white-knuckle clenching the steering wheel in anticipation. In less than half-an-hour, he arrived at Christine’s house and stood before the shed a mean, stray, black cat called home.

Marketplace Homes / Flickr

With every ounce of love he could muster, just as he and his mother had done six years before in the streets of suburbia, Jon called Julie’s name. And nothing happened.

Jon Gulla / Facebook

But understanding that cats are cats and don’t really come when you call them, Jon gave it another go. Julieeeee, he called. Julieeee. Then, two glowing eyes peaked out at Jon from the darkness beneath the shed.

Jon in her sights, the cat once called mean and skittish emerged. “She came out running from under the shed,” Christine recalled, “like ‘Oh hey, I know this guy.” Soon, she was face-to-face with Jon.

And then she started purring like a lawnmower engine! She rubbed against Jon’s legs, and, after he bent down to pick her up, she crawled right up on to his shoulders! Still, Jon needed to be convinced this was his Julie.


“I turned her around…and I said ‘does she have a white spot?'” Jon explained. The folks gathered around confirmed: “She has a white spot on her stomach!” Jon couldn’t believe it. After six years, he finally found his cat!

In that moment of reunion, Jon pet Julie and noticed her fur was surprisingly well-kept. To him, it meant that she only recently moved in under the shed. Someone had been taking care of her over the years.

Delighted to have his cat back, Jon looked forward to another reunion — Julie and Jack’s. Would the siblings even remember the short time they spent together? Would they get along?

All of Jon’s anxieties melted away, however, when he put Julie down beside Jack for the first time. The two went right back to their old tricks, running around and playing together. Jon was overwhelmed.

“It’s almost like seeing a ghost or something,” he said of seeing Julie in his home. Still, this was one ghost Jon was happy to have haunt his house!

Jon couldn’t help but be thankful to whoever cared for Julie over those six years. There wasn’t a chance in the world she would’ve made it on her own over that time. Oddly, though, some animals do prove surprisingly self-sufficient on their own.

In November of 2018, for instance, when one of the most destructive wildfires in California history ripped through the Golden State, people were forced to make tough choices. Animals were, too.

The Drinks Business

For Andrea Gaylord, the decision to abandon the home that had been in her family for ten generations was one of the hardest she’d ever made. But even as she watched as the century-old home went up in flames, something else made her heart ache more.


As the Camp Fire made its way through Paradise, Andrea’s guard dogs, Madison and Miguel, had taken off and vanished without a trace. Though she and her husband had searched tirelessly for their beloved pets, the encroaching blaze forced the couple to flee, leaving the fate of the dogs unknown.


Andrea and her husband fled to a nearby shelter, where, alongside hundreds of other evacuees, they waited for the fire to be extinguished. All the while, thoughts of Madison and Miguel never left her mind.


Finally, after 17 days of non-stop firefighting, the raging Camp Fire blaze was contained. Like her fellow Paradise residents, Andrea was eager to return home, hoping somehow her dogs had survived. But when she and her husband attempted to leave the shelter, they were told that Paradise was still too unsafe to return to.


That’s when she contacted Shayla Sullivan of K9 Paw Print Rescue, who had actively been rescuing lost pets from areas affected by the Camp Fire. After learning of the situation, Shayla vowed to do whatever she could to reunite Andrea with Madison and Miguel.

Shayla Sullivan / Facebook

However, as soon as Shayla began her search, she received word of a dog matching Madison’s and Miguel’s descriptions wandering through the small city of Citrus Heights near Sacramento. The city was 85 miles south of Paradise.


Shayla drove down there, and when she arrived, she was stunned to find the dog described to her was, in fact, Miguel! Unbelievably, the dog had traveled from Andrea’s home in Paradise and had been picked up by another local rescue organization.

NBC News

Andrea was overjoyed when she heard the news about Miguel, but Shayla wasn’t satisfied with finding just one of the two pooches. And so, loading up her car once more, Shayla headed for Paradise.


The roads were barely navigable as Shayla made her way through the once-vibrant town, a graveyard of charred homes and vehicles peering out at her from beneath the ashes of burnt treetops. Forget dogs for a second: with so much destruction, was it possible anything could’ve survived out here?


Upon reaching Andrea’s burned-down property, however, Shayla got her answer. As she surveyed the scorched earth, Shayla noticed movement in the pile of rubble that was once the hundred-year-old home. She approached, her heart beating wildly…

Salem-Winston Journal

It was Madison! Apparently, the faithful guard dog had returned after the fire had been extinguished and was now sitting watch of his former home! But even with the dog alive and well, there was still one challenge that Shayla would have to face.

ABC News

Being that Madison was no lover of strangers, the wary dog immediately took off when Shayla approached him (some guard dog!). Shayla knew, if she wasn’t able to catch Madison, the dog would surely perish from a lack of food and water. Shayla needed a plan.


So after leaving some fresh water and a bowl of food out for Madison, Shayla returned to Andrea to share the good news and relay her difficulty in catching him. The pair was stumped over the predicament but devised the perfect method for luring the protective pup back home.

ABC News

Using an article of Andrea’s clothing, Shayla used the smell to calm Madison and draw her back to the property. And when the guard dog returned, he found his owners and brother waiting there for him!

The Independent

The tearful reunion was marked by excited licks and yelps from Madison, who was then fed a hefty bag of his favorite treat — Wheat Thins. Even in the face of catastrophe, Madison stayed loyal to his family and protected the home at all costs.

Daily Mail

In all the destruction, this loyalty was not lost on Andrea. “You are the best dog,” she told Madison through joyful tears. “The best.”

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