JaneA Kelley | Apr 6th 2012
I don't know about you all, but I could really use some happy cat news. And today, just when I needed it the most, I found a story that made my jaw drop ... in a good way.
Back in 1996, Monika Moser's marmalade tomcat went missing from her Munich, Germany, home. Like any caring and responsible cat mom, Moser and her family searched for their beloved Poldi for months before finally deciding they had to accept the fact that they'd probably never see him again.
Little did Moser know that almost 16 years later, she'd get the surprise of her life.
Last week, Bernhard Schöttel and his son, Kilian, were hiking through a forest about 20 miles from Munich when they saw an emaciated marmalade tomcat sitting in a woodshed. Kilian noticed that the cat seemed very old since he was so skinny and no longer had any front teeth. The pair earned the cat's trust by feeding him, and when the Schöttels got close enough to get a good look at the him, they noticed a faded tattoo in his ear.
Before microchips came into common use, pet cats were often identified by numbers tattooed on the skin inside the ear flap.
Schöttel says his son is very good with cats and was able to get Poldi into a carrier. They immediately brought the sickly -- and clearly once loved and cared for -- cat to the Munich Tierschutzverein Animal Rescue Centre sanctuary, where the staff looked up his ID number in a database and contacted Moser.
To say Moser was shocked is an understatement.
When the Schöttels learned how long the wayward waif had been missing, they too were surprised and delighted. "The fact that we could help there makes us very happy," said Bernhard Schöttel.
It's nothing short of a miracle that Poldi managed to live 15 years as an outdoor cat; most outdoor kitties are lucky to make it to 12.
When a vet examined Poldi, it became even more obvious that the little guy's rescue couldn't have come at a better time: he had developed liver and thyroid problems that probably would have killed him if he hadn't decided to entrust his fate to two kind hikers.
Now Poldi is back in the loving arms of his mama, who will be taking good care of him for the rest of his days