I adopted Lola from the San Francisco SPCA. She’s about twelve years old now, and I’ve had her since she was a kitten. Well, except for the two and a half years that I didn’t have her.
One day in 2007, Lola didn’t come home. I posted signs and looked everywhere for her, but she was gone without a trace. I was heartbroken. All of my life I’d had a cat, but after losing Lola I decided that was it, no more cats for me.
The next year my husband and I moved to a new house. The year after that, on Christmas eve, I got a message from a woman named Paula who said she had my cat. Paula was my former neighbor, though neither of us realized it at the time. I had no idea who she was, where she got my number, or how she knew I’d lost a cat.
My hands were shaking as I dialed Paula’s number, but I was trying not to get my hopes up. After two and a half years it seemed impossible. I thought surely this was some sort of mistake, but soon after Paula answered the phone it became clear to me that she really did have Lola. For a while I was speechless. Paula asked if I was crying, I said yes, and then she started crying, too!
Lola appeared on Paula’s roof one day maybe a year earlier, and Paula coaxed her into the house through a window. She never did figure out how Lola got onto the roof. Lola’s fur was matted and dirty and she was very thin, and very scared. Once inside the house she had no interest in leaving again, but she wouldn’t let Paula get anywhere near her.
Lucky for Lola (and me), Paula has a big heart and loves cats. She fed Lola and took care of her, and eventually Lola let Paula pet her and brush her. Paula looked for missing fliers, but by then they were long gone, and so were we.
The SPCA implanted a microchip in Lola, as they do with all kittens before adopting them out. For a nominal fee I was able to register my contact information. So when Paula brought Lola to the vet one day, the vet scanned Lola and found the microchip.
When I brought Lola home from Paula’s house, she wandered around the house for a while, checking out her new surroundings. Up to that point she hadn’t shown any sign of recognition.
I was afraid she didn’t remember me, but then about an hour later she jumped up into my lap, looked me straight in the eye for a moment, and then started purring and nuzzling into my hair, just like old times, as if to say, “There you are! Where have you been?”