California Cat Missing for 9 Years Turns Up at an Idaho Shelter 1,000 Miles from Home

For years, Harriet the cat's family believed she had been killed by coyotes until she turned up almost a decade later

cat in animal shelter
Photo: Getty

Last week, California woman Susan Moore received a puzzling call.

"We found your cat," the caller said, per local Idaho newspaper the Coeur d'Alene Press. "We found Harriet."

After chatting with the caller, an employee at an Idaho animal shelter Companions Animal Center, for a bit longer, things clicked for Moore.

Harriet was hers — but she went missing nine years ago from her California ranch.

Over a decade ago, when Harriet was just a kitten, Moore rescued her from a shelter. She and her family had just moved to the country and wanted a "good barn cat."

While she turned out to be a loyal barn cat — and excellent rodent killer — two years after being adopted Harriet disappeared without a trace.

Moore told the outlet she "tried everything" to find her cat, searching around their country home, contacting shelters and checking lost pet websites. Her husband hypothesized that coyotes had killed Harriet.

It's unclear where Harriet has been for the past decade, but she was found in Hayden, Idaho on Sept. 19 by a passerby, who then brought the stray kitty to Companions Animal Center.

After scanning the stray Harriet for a microchip, the center made the call to Moore.

"We called the owner," said Vicky Nelson, Development Director at Companions. "When [the family] answered and we told them we had their cat, they were speechless."

While Moore was elated to hear that Harriet is alive and in good health, she is still curious about exactly how she ended up two states over. She thinks it might be possible that Harriet either sneaked aboard her husband's horse trailer or a neighbor found her and then moved to Idaho.

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Though Moore thinks that Harriet likely had another owner in the nine years she's been missing, she's happy to take her back. Unless someone steps forward to claim Harriet, she'll be reunited with Moore and her family.

"I would love to leave her where she is at," Moore told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "She really doesn't belong to me. She belongs to somebody else."

Regardless, she will happily welcome the long-lost cat back to her ranch, where she hopes she will get along with their barn cats and other animals — two dogs and several horses.

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