Missing Cat Returns After 14 Years

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Tiger Lily returns home after 14 year hiatusIngrid Kerger holds long lost cat named Tiger. Credit: Boris Minkevich, Winnipeg Free Press

Fourteen years after her cat, Tiger Lily, disappeared, Ingrid Kerker of Winnipeg, Canada was stunned to receive a phone call from a veterinary clinic, asking if she had ever owned an orange tabby. The clinic had found a feline with an identification code tattooed in its right ear that led to Kerker's old address, reports the Winnipeg Free Press.

"I was just shocked," Kerker tells Paw Nation. "Tiger Lily disappeared on October 12, 1996. I remember because I wrote the date down in my Bible."

At the time, Kerker and her two young sons put up posters looking for their cat, but they never found her. "Over the years, we wondered what happened to her and she would come up in conversation periodically." Tiger Lily had once been a stray that Kerker adopted and had spayed and tattooed. "In Canada, every animal that is spayed or neutered has to be microchipped or tattooed," Kerker explains. "Back then, they didn't have microchipping, so I had Tiger Lily tattooed."

After getting the call from the veterinary clinic, Kerker quickly called her sons, both now in their twenties. "My younger son Rick [now 23] couldn't wait to go out and get her." Rick took along a photo of himself at eight years old, sleeping with Tiger Lily.

"She was very friendly right away," Kerker tells Paw Nation about reuniting with Tiger Lily. "She just cuddled up on my chest and it was like we hadn't skipped a bit." Except, of course, that Tiger Lily was much older. "The animal clinic examined her and we think she's actually 19 years old," Kerker says. The family has no idea what Tiger Lily was doing these past 14 years. All they know is that when the staffer at the animal clinic rescued her, the cat was thin and smelled of diesel fuel.

Tiger Lily is as affectionate as always and loves to hug cheek to cheek. It took her about three days to get used to the two other cats in Kerker's household, though the dog is another story "All three of the cats line up and eat out of the same bowl," Kerker says. "But Tiger Lily's still a little uncertain about the dog."

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