When Nicola Keating moved from Cupertino to Los Altos six years ago, she kept all of her important belongings, but lost her 6-year-old cat, Magic. The orange tabby had lost his collar in a fight and Keating had scheduled a veterinarian appointment the day he disappeared.
After putting up fliers, talking to locals, and canvassing the neighborhood, Keating thought she would never see her cat again.
"We searched everywhere, high and low ... but nobody had heard anything and no one had picked up a cat," Keating said.
Keating, a native of Germany, got Magic when he was 6 weeks old for her youngest daughter. He lived in Germany for four years before moving with Keating's family to Cupertino. After living in California for two and a half years, Magic escaped.
Six years later, a man called animal control because a cat had been in his yard for three days. Palo Alto Animal Services picked up the cat from the man's garage and scanned the cat for a microchip, which contained the cat's name and his owner's contact information. Animal Control Officer William Warrior made the call to Keating on Nov. 6.
"First she said, 'How have you got my cat?'" Warrior said.
Keating has two other cats and knew that neither of them could be missing. After Warrior told her it was Magic, "She just blurted out, 'We lost it six years ago!'"
Warrior described Keating as "shaken in a really good way." He even put the very vocal tabby on the phone to talk to her.
After Warrior's call, Keating drove over to the shelter and reunited with the cat she had presumed was dead. The cat arrived at the shelter a little dehydrated and rough around the edges but without any signs to suggest that it had been living alone on the streets for six years.
"He has clearly been cared for. ... I don't know if somebody nearby is mourning an orange cat," Keating said.
The man who found Magic in his yard lives just two blocks away from Keating in Los Altos. After six years away, 12-year-old Magic seems to fit right in with the Keating family again, she said.
"We are super happy to have him home," she said. "He is a beautiful cat and very, very loving."
William Warrior put a video up on YouTube.com titled "Magic Repatriation" for those interested in seeing Magic at the Shelter.