California Cat Missing for 7 Years Reunites with Owner 2,000 Miles Away in Tennessee

"We like getting animals back to their rightful owners," John Welsh of Riverside County Animal Services said about helping Ebi the cat get back to her family

Ebi the cat

A California cat that went missing seven years ago has reunited with her owner, who now lives in Bearden, Tennessee.

Owner Joe Drnec was stunned when he received a call from an animal shelter in Jurupa Valley, California, informing him that his beloved cat, Ebi — who wandered off and never returned home when Drnec lived in California in 2015 — had been found.

"We never thought we would ever see her again. This is really an amazing story," Drnec said, according to a Riverside County Animal Services Facebook post.

The chief of Riverside County Animal Services, John Welsh, made the trek from Southern California to Tennessee to return Ebi — an 8-year-old short-haired cat — to her owner after identifying the pet's owner thanks to Ebi's microchip.

Long lost Ebi was brought to Riverside County Animal Services after someone found the pet in downtown Riverside, not far from where she went missing.

Ebi the cat

"We like getting animals back to their rightful owners even if they tend to be half the country away or to be more than half the country away, so it's just fun," Welsh told WATE.

He paid for the trip because the shelter cannot use taxpayer dollars for personal pets, he told the outlet.

"It took us some time to figure out what we're going to do, how to get this cat back to Knoxville. The logistics were basically me asking my wife, 'Can I do this?' " he explained.

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Welsh and Ebi flew out of Ontario, California, and landed in Nashville, Tennessee, on Feb. 16. They then drove to Bearden, a town outside Knoxville, for the reunion.

Drnec and his wife Leanna adopted Ebi from the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center in Riverside, California. She was primarily an indoor cat but became interested in spending time outside.

"She just went crazy at the door, always wanting to go outside," said Drnec, per a Riverside County Animal Services social media post. "She eventually became an indoor-outdoor cat."

Ebi never returned home in 2015, and the Drnecs moved to Tennessee the same year with their Calico cat Eunice who is now 14 years old.

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