Iowa cat home for Christmas after being lost for nearly 5 years
DES MOINES, Iowa - Lottie the calico cat reunited with his Des Moines owner after nearly five years of loss, is home for Christmas for the first time since 2015.
Kara Hanlon had long accepted that her scratched cat had not been able to survive on its own since early 2016, when he was accidentally released from her house.
But on Sunday she got a letter in the mail that said something else. The Animal Rescue League's Animal Control Department picked Lottie up and identified him by scanning his microchip.
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"It was so shocking," said Hanlon, 37. "It was so long ago that if someone found him, I would have assumed that he would have been scanned for a chip. We had kind of moved on and we hadn't thought he would it was." still alive."
Hanlon met Lottie again on Monday, December 21st - the first in a series of coincidences. The last photo Hanlon took of Lottie was taken exactly five years earlier while he was sitting in a Christmas gift bag on December 22, 2015.
This is the last photo Kara Hanlon took of Lottie before he was accidentally released from her Des Moines home in early 2016. This week Lottie and Hanlon reunited thanks to the Animal Rescue League and Lottie's microchip.
"It's just so ironic that the same week of my last picture it comes back five years apart," she said. "It seems like a Christmas miracle that it just shows up and we get this letter out of the blue."
Animal control officials told Hanlon they picked up Lottie from the 400 Fleetwood block on the south side of Des Moines, 10 miles from home. That's close to Hot Tamales Catering, which Hanlon knew because she picked up food there earlier this year.
So Hanlon said she reached out to the owner "on a whim" to see if they recently found a calico. It turns out her family took one this month. They called him Jariah and looked after him for two weeks before calling animal control.
"I thought this brings the last two weeks together, but I wonder where else he was," said Hanlon.
Observe: Shops and restaurants here are open on Christmas Day
On Wednesday, shortly after ARL Animal Services posted on Facebook about Lottie's unlikely trip, a woman who recognized the cat wrote Hanlon with another piece of the puzzle. She said she cleaned an older man's home in Windsor Heights, where Lottie - known to the man as Patches - was a regular guest.
He came and went as he liked for years, often accompanied by an orange cat, until the man moved in October, the woman told Hanlon. The man suspected "patches" were female because male calicos are extremely rare, she said.
"I'm assuming it has made its way southeast from October until now, or I think the (older man's) family could have given it to someone," Hanlon said. "It's just really weird because pretty much all of the time he's been gone is now taken into account."
Des Moines's Kara Hanlon has reunited with her cat Lottie, who got lost in 2016 thanks to the Animal Rescue League and Lottie's microchip.
Lottie, now 6, is underweight and has ear mites, but both issues should be addressed soon.
He doesn't seem to recognize his old home, said Hanlon, and he probably doesn't know his real name anymore. But he's already befriended her new baby, she said.
"Now we come full circle," said Hanlon. "He's just a little treasure. And he clearly has a short-term memory loss or amnesia, so he's no longer allowed to go outside. All he has to do now is manage the inner workings."
This article originally appeared on the Des Moines Register: Iowa Cat Home for Christmas after being lost for years
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