It's a cat owner's nightmare to find a beloved pet's body on the side of a road, killed by a passing car. Karen Jones of Kent, U.K., experienced that dreaded day when she and her family found the body of what they took to be their cat, Norman.
"I hadn't seen Norman all morning, because he often goes roaming around," said Jones. "So I had a feeling it was him when I saw the cat by the side of the road."
It was a fate Jones always thought was inevitable for her scrappy outdoor cat. Norman had been known to get into fights with other cats, and last year he came home one day with a broken leg.
The family brought Norman's body home with them to honor the cat with a proper funeral. Jones' 22-year-old son Harry spent hours digging a grave, and the body was interred with Norman's favorite toy mouse. As a final touch, the family placed a porcelain cat figurine on the ground to mark the grave site.
Jones naturally thought the cat funeral marked the end of her time with Norman, so it gave her quite a surprise then next morning when he bounded into her kitchen as usual, ready for breakfast.
Jones went outside to see if the cat had emerged from the fresh grave, but she found it intact. Norman wasn't a zombie, then, and clearly he wasn't dead. Jones realized she and her family had buried some other cat, one they didn't know.
"It was exactly the same size, same color and had the same face," Jones said of the dead cat, comparing it to Norman.
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The family celebrated Norman's "return from the dead" with an equal degree of ceremony as they displayed for his burial. Jones' brother even wrote and performed a song called "It Is the Day of Norman's Rising."
Jones' relief is tempered by the knowledge that what may be someone else's pet has died and the person doesn't know it. She has tried to find the owner of the buried cat.
But mostly, Jones and her family are happy to have more time with Norman. "The whole family is just delighted he is home," she said.