Seven years ago, while Denise Cilley was throwing her daughter’s 10th birthday party, their precious cat ran away.
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They searched everywhere for Ashes. But living in a rural area of Maine meant there were predators everywhere, and they feared the worst had happened.
Finally, after weeks of searching, the Cilley family grieved… then February 2022 rolled around seven years later.
During those seven years, Ashes had somehow made her way from her home in Maine to Longwood, Florida — that’s a 1,500 mile distance!
“I had a voicemail from a shelter in Florida that said they found my cat, and I was like, that’s weird,” Denise said. “And I was gonna call them and say, ‘Oh, you have the wrong number,’ but they called and said, ‘We found your cat.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I live in Maine and I’m not missing a cat.'”
Flabbergasted, Denise eventually found out that one of the locations that showed up on the microchip was the same shelter she adopts her kittens. It was in that moment that she realized who had finally been found.
“And I said, ‘Is it a gray tabby?’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, a female gray tabby,'” Denise recalled, “and I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness. It’s got to be Ashes. I haven’t seen her in six and a half years.'”
Ashes was taken to the Florida shelter by a local couple who had been taking care of the poor kitty for some time. She would frequently show up at their house, and they always made sure to feed her.
After a while, though, when it seemed her health was rapidly declining, they took her to a vet where her microchip was scanned – thankfully, it was updated and the shelter was able to contact Denise ASAP!
At first, Denise wasn’t sure when or how they’d get their beloved pet home. Between her medical expenses and the cost to get her on a flight, it seemed like it would take a while.
Luckily, their friend in Florida, Janet Williams, was more than happy to help out. In addition to temporarily keeping Ashes at her own home, she also created a GoFundMe to raise money for the expenses.
Before they knew it, just enough money was raised, and Ashes was approved to come home!
“Microchips work miracles,” Denise said. “It’s safe. It doesn’t harm the cat, you know, there’s no GPS, it’s not tracking you or your pet. You know, it’s a really quick procedure and it makes reunification possible.”
Denise never would have expected Ashes to have made it all the way down to Florida – she wonders if she somehow managed to make her way onto a moving van. But it seems that this will always remain a mystery.
“I have interrogated her [Ashes] quite strictly,” Janet said, “and she is not talking.”
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