An Ohio woman was reunited with her long-lost cat on Thursday, five and a half years after she first disappeared. He had meanwhile been on a journey of over a thousand miles – and he traveled a thousand more on the way back.
The owner, Margaret Burcham, said she had resigned herself to never seeing Bernie, a fluffy cream-colored tabby, again. He disappeared from her home in Florence, Kentucky in 2015, and her search for him never brought up any more clues thereafter.
“I looked, and I called the shelters and ended up accepting, somehow, that he would never come back,” she said.
Until February when he was picked up at a shelter in Waco, Texas – 1,080 miles from Dayton, Ohio, where Burcham now lives.
Volunteers at the heart of Texas Lost and Found Pets assumed the clean, healthy cat must belong to a local family, so they checked its microchip. It sent them back to Burcham.
“How often does that happen?” She said Thursday, “Just amazing and all the way in Texas.”
The next question for everyone involved: How would Bernie get back to Ohio? Brandi Neth, a Heart of Texas volunteer, was on his way northeast anyway and agreed to take him home.
The handover was Thursday afternoon – Burcham showed up in a sequin mask and Neth hugged Bernie for the first time in years.
“To be able to visit my family and bring someone along and give them the joy of having their animal back, the trip is just so worth it,” said Neth.
Nobody has any idea how Bernie first traveled to Texas from Kentucky. He’s definitely not saying it.
“I want to know,” said Burcham. Then she spoke to the cat that had cuddled in her arms: “We have to talk.”