When Jenifer Banis’ cat disappeared 10 years ago, she never thought she’d see the cute calico again. Having originally belonged to her late mother, the cat named Miss Kitty held a special place in her heart. Her mother had asked her to take care of Miss Kitty after she passed away from ovarian cancer, and the special cat was even included in her mother’s obituary. Losing that living connection to her family was especially heartbreaking. Jenifer assumed the missing cat had died or traveled too far to return, but a decade later, she received an incredible phone call.
Eight miles from her home in Topsham, Maine, an animal control officer picked up a sad-looking senior cat covered in fleas and in obvious medical distress. The officer, Jeff Cooper, assumed the cat was either feral or stray, but he was shocked to learn the cat had a registered microchip. When Midcoast Humane in Brunswick called a number registered to the chip, Jenifer picked up.
In the 10 years since she had last seen her cat, Jenifer’s life had changed.
The mom of four had her own children who had never known her mother or her cat, but that didn’t matter. She rushed to be reunited with Miss Kitty and immediately brought her to a veterinary clinic. At 16 years old, Miss Kitty was suffering from age-related health issues. She was also diagnosed with pneumonia and underwent a tracheotomy to repair a collapsed larynx.
She was deemed well enough to return home with Jenifer, but Miss Kitty’s health continued to decline. For six days, Jenifer and her family doted on their beloved cat. Jenifer told Portland Press-Herald that she believes her late mother guided Miss Kitty home just in time.
“I really think my mother brought her to me so she wouldn’t die alone in the woods. It all was too much for her little body.”
As the days passed, it became clear that Miss Kitty could not recover.
After consulting with a vet, Jenifer decided to end Miss Kitty’s suffering. The senior cat passed away after spending her last few days with a family that loved her. Saying goodbye was difficult, but Jenifer said she was thankful for the chance to introduce her children to such a special cat. It was a way to connect with her late mother, and she feels strongly that it was meant to be.
“My mom was a really caring, connected person when she was alive, and I appreciate that people are connecting with us through this experience. I know my mom is happy now. Miss Kitty is with her, and she’s taking care of her now.”
Images via Portland Press Herald
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