Chicago woman reunited with cat lost 2 years earlier in North Carolina

Chicago woman reunited with cat lost 2 years earlier in North Carolina

A Chicago woman whose cat escaped during a stop in Asheville, N.C., in 2019 was reunited with her pet more than two years later when a charity that takes care of feral cats picked up the feline.

Nicole Watkins said she and her son had been moving from Wake Forest, N.C., to Chicago with their two cats when they made a stop in Asheville and one of the cats, Naomi, dashed out of the vehicle through an open door.

Naomi ran off on Smokey Park Highway on Sept. 22, 2019, and Watkins said she spread flyers around the area hoping someone would spot the cat. Watkins said she alerted the local police and animal shelters, but had to continue on to Chicago because of a job interview the next day.

Watkins said she made five trips to Asheville in the ensuing two years to search for Naomi, and she also contacted veterinarians and posted in online cat owner groups in the hopes of locating the missing pet.

Naomi had been missing for more than two years when Watkins was contacted Nov. 30 and told her pet had been found by Friends2Ferals, an Asheville charity that captures feral cats to be sprayed or neutered and given immunizations before being released.

The group said volunteer Sam Glaze was rounding up feral cats when she encountered a feline on the Smokey Park Highway that seemed unusually friendly for a stray.

Friends2Ferals suspected the cat might have been an escaped pet, so they took the animal to a veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip. The chip identified the cat as 8-year-old Naomi, and included Watkins’ phone number.

“I cried. I jumped up and down. I sat down because I couldn’t believe it,” Watkins told the Asheville Citizen-Times of the moment she received the call that Naomi had been found. “I still can’t believe it.”

Watkins traveled to Asheville and was reunited with Naomi on Sunday.