TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A cat rescued from Topeka's streets is about to make a nearly 1,800 mile journey home - thanks to a protective measure taken by the owner she hasn't seen in nearly two years.
A woman posted the cat's photo this week on a Facebook site for pets found in Topeka. Kelsey Perdue maintains the page.
"(The woman) posted the pictures and was looking for help," Kelsey said. "She didn't know what to do. The cat had been on her porch for a week. It was trying to get in the door."
Perdue picked up the cat and brought her to Jayme Walshire at the Topeka Spay Neuter Project. A scan revealed the cat had a microchip. The owner who was listed was all the way in Oakland, California.
"I said are you sure you have that right? And he said to me, 'Are you sure you're in Kansas?'" Jayme recalls.
Jayme called the contact info and first spoke with the brother of the cat's owner, Leah Pesner.
The cat's name is Elephant.
"(My brother) said, 'Elephant is in Kansas! But the good news is Elephant has been found,'" Leah said. "It was pretty shocking. I cried!"
Leah says a former roommate took off with the cat nearly two years ago without her permission.
"I didn't think I'd ever see my cat again." she said.
Jayme says the way the story unfolded is amazing.
"It's like winning the lottery just to be able to get an animal home like this," she said.
It's also evidence of the importance of microchipping your pets. One study found that when cats go missing, 38 percent of those microchipped return home. Without a microchip, it's only one or two percent.
"If you have a black cat, it's really difficult to tell one black cat from another," said Roger McCauley of Topeka Spay Neuter Project. "It's one of the reasons why they're so hard to return back to their owners is because they're just - they don't have collars, they don't have IDs generally."
"I would never have gotten my kitty back and I am so excited!" she said. "If you care about your animal, microchip them."
Now, all that's left is to finalize plans for this purr-fect reunion. They'll be meeting up in a couple weeks to return Elephant to Leah and a feline sibling back home in California.
"She's gone on pretty much the biggest kitty adventure," Leah said.