When Tiger initially appeared in Carol O’Connell’s yard three years ago, he wouldn’t let her get close to him. Despite the fact that the senior cat appeared to be kind, he was afraid.
“He would show up and then disappear for months at a time,” Lynne Meloccaro, executive director of the Dutchess County SPCA (DCSPCA) in New York, told The Dodo. “She fed him for a long time but was unable to approach him.”
O’Connell knew that if she was patient and courteous, Tiger would eventually warm up to her because she works at the DCSPCA and has seen a lot of scared animals.
Over the past three years, O’Connell and her son Dan have worked hard to earn Tiger’s trust, and the cat now feels safe enough to approach them and even show affection. Based on his behavior, Tiger appears to have had a home at one point. On a whim, O’Connell brought a scanner home from work to see if he was chipped — and he was, miraculously.
Tiger, who was only three years old at the time, had been spooked by something on Halloween night and had somehow fled his house and vanished. His relatives searched everywhere and put up flyers in the hopes of finding him.
When they sold their house, they asked the new owners to keep an eye out for him, and they continued their search from their new home, but they had to accept the fact that Tiger would not be returning home.
“His family had lost hope of finding him, and we weren’t sure they’d want him back after all these years,” Meloccaro explained. “However, once they determined he was still alive, they didn’t waste any time in getting him back on his feet.”
“Since then, other people have come out and said they’ve been feeding him for a long time,” Meloccaro remarked. “Despite the fact that no one had been able to capture him and bring him to us earlier, he was able to live because a great number of compassionate members of the community aided him.
He didn’t fight Carol and Dan when they finally caught him, and he seemed to love being petted and rubbed. Perhaps he’d had enough of living on the streets and desired to return home.”
Maggie Welz rushed over to the shelter as quickly as she could, hoping to reunite with her beloved Tiger. No one knew if he would remember her or not, Tiger’s mother was still alive because it had been so long since he had seen her.
As soon as she walked into the room, Welz rushed up to Tiger and snatched him up in her arms…
Tiger cuddled her back right away, and she didn’t take long to cuddle back.
According to Meloccaro, Tiger simply gazed at her, smelled her, and rested his head on her shoulder. “It was clear that he wouldn’t object to her being his human in the future.”
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