GTPulse: Cedar Family’s Cat Returns Home After a Year Missing

Life is filled with realizations, some good, some bad. Realizing you’re in a relationship with the person you want to marry, or that you’ve moved beyond a painful past situation, or that you’ve successfully hidden your leftovers in the fridge… these are all good realizations. Then there are ones that don’t feel so good, like realizing midway through a cocktail party that you left your curling iron on, or looking at a test and almost instantly knowing you didn’t study enough. Among one of the worst realizations is the one where you’ve discovered your pet is missing. The heart-sinking, adrenaline-pumping feeling of knowing your pet is out in the wild is one that many have experienced. I remember battling the flu a few winters ago, shaky and weak while looking for my dog that had decided to wander off on a bathroom break. With my winter coat draped over baggy sweats and a tee-shirt, I walked through the neighbors’ yards calling for Clancy. Upon a defeated return home, who do I find at the front door? You guessed it. I didn’t know whether to yell at him or scoop him up in my arms for a tight hug.

The Hill family didn’t get such instant relief. When their cat Kittyeeow wandered off last November, they thought she was long gone. The fuzzy explorer has returned home after a year filled with adventures only known to her. The homecoming is a joyful one, and she’s just in time for the holidays.

As a modern mother, Catie Cunningham has to do it all; work, teach, cook, clean, and look after her little ones Sadie Hill and Wyatt Hill. Being a pet parent, to a cat especially, is relatively laid back. Your pet can’t talk back, balk about dinner options, or get into physical altercations with their siblings. Ideally, pets are the least stressful members of the family.

“I was 1 year old when I named her,” Sadie said.

“Sadie had just started walking, and when we were at a playground we heard this kitten. So I started calling her and this little tiny cat came bounding out of the woods. Sadie was just toddling around and this kitten was just weaving through her legs. The cat picked us,” Catie said. 

Kittyeeow wasn’t feeling well when she ran away. The Hill’s were devastated and hunted for her for days. Eventually, they began to accept that Kittyeeow had just traveled too far, no small happening to get over. Catie suspected that she had run away to find a place to pass on in peace.

After a while, their day to day returned to normal and the pain of Kittyeeow’s absence began to dull, but she never fully left their thoughts. With no concrete answers, it was easy for the kids to daydream about where she was, how far away, was she ok?

Kittyeeow was very much ok. This resilient cat was on a soul-searching adventure that will stay between her and the miles she traveled between Cedar and Lake Leelanau where she was found. She was found a few weeks ago by Jennifer Hansen. When Jennifer posted a picture of Kittyeeow in Overheard in Leelanau, Catie couldn’t stop thinking that it was their cat.

“It looks so much like Eeow, but there’s no way. It’s not possible, but I kept thinking about it. The kids’ dad messaged with her a little bit and I saw one of her neighbors had commented that it looked like so and so’s cat. So I said ‘If it’s not your neighbor’s cat, and if it’s a female, let me come see this cat.’”

Jennifer had been gently building a rapport with Kittyeeow by leaving food out and even using a loaned live trap from the Leelanau Veterinary Care. Kittyeeow was getting more comfortable with her, but Jennifer couldn’t keep the cat because of allergies. She just wanted her to find her home, wherever that was.

“I went and she looked a lot different, but she moved like Eeow. Putting her paws up and the way she brushed up against things. But her face was more squished and a little piece of ear missing, but I sat there and talked to her and watched her eat and tried to get closer. Within a short time, she let me pet her and then flopped over with her belly up. It can’t not be Eeow.”

Kittyeeow was purring under Catie’s touch like they were old pals. The next day, a can of food and a carrier brought her home where Catie captured her on camera cautiously coming out of the carrier to observe her old stomping grounds. It didn’t take long for her to use her old cat door and start affectionately snuggling Wyatt and Sadie.

“We were so happy,” Wyatt said. “She came out and kind of sniffed around and walked around. She wanted to get her scent everywhere and she was purring.”

She’s still getting re-acclimated to her not so new digs, but she’s getting comfortable quickly. After a hard year on the road, it’s nice to be back at home where it’s warm for Kittyeeow. For the Hill’s, it’s nice to have part of their family back just in time for the holidays.

“She’s a warrior cat,” Sadie said.


To stay updated on stories like these, join the newsletter community.

Categories: GTPulse