Thumper, the cat, disappeared from his home in Maine in October. The shaggy brown and white cat had been used to coming and going outside for the past five years. Because at their previous residence, the vast area allowed for safe exploration with his humans near. However, his human, Katy Kerry, had recently moved to a temporary place after selling her home of 10 years in Saco. Soon, she planned a bigger move to Utah.
A few days after the move, Thumper snuck away while Kerry carried groceries into the rental home.
“Unfortunately, it was this love of playing outside that led [Thumper] to sneak out the front door while my mother was carrying in groceries, and that was the last time we saw him,” Kerry’s daughter Chelsea Tarbox said.
Losing Thumper was devastating. Hoping to find him, they did everything possible, posting on social media and making flyers. Also, they contacted neighbors, the local animal shelter and informed animal control, reported WGME13. Sadly, they do not note that Thumper was microchipped.
Now, as Kerry prepared for a move across the country, the women started to lose hope.
“We got nothing,” Tarbox said. “As time passed the hope that he would return faded and we began to grieve for the loss of our little guy.”
By December, the two women both moved away. When Kerry began a new life in Utah, her daughter returned to Boston.
Meanwhile, Thumper was alive and well and trying to find his way to his familiar home.
Thumper Survives in the Wild
Now, the little cat had to survive on his own as he traveled almost three miles, returning to Saco. According to Tarbox, he wasn’t a particularly tough cat, but he managed somehow.
“When he was indoor/outdoor he was a good hunter, but he’s not a tough cat,” Tarbox said. “I don’t think I’ve ever even heard him hiss/growl before.”
As it turns out, Thumper was quite resourceful and even had some adventures along the way.
Trail Cam Captures Thumper…and a Creature
Fortunately, for Thumper and his human family, an unseen eye was watching him one night.
Carolyn Meadow of Saco enjoys watching the animals on the trail cam in her backyard. Then, in late November, she saw an unusual interaction had taken place. There, in the picture, was a little cat peeking at an approaching creature!
As you can see, it was Thumper looking cautiously at what appeared to be a curious fox. According to a biologist from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, foxes don’t commonly attack house cats.
“Red foxes are opportunistic predators and could kill house cats, but it’s probably not that common,” said Shevenell Webb.
“House cats are very capable at defending themselves and can climb trees to escape predation,” she said. “The photo suggests curiosity from both the cat and the fox — neither appears to be alarmed at being so close to one another.”
However, some people have said they think it might be a fisher cat, a large weasel relative. If so, Thumper was lucky because these animals sometimes eat each other and even porcupines. On occasion, they have taken down lynx twice their size and can climb trees.
Fortunately, Thumper fended for himself with the curious creature. As you can see, neither animal looked aggressive in the trail cam picture.
Cat Lover Saves Thumper
Once Meadow, a cat lover, knew the cat was in the area, she decided to try and help. So, she put out food, thinking Thumper was probably a feral cat.
Then, the cat proved interested in getting closer.
“One night he ‘talked to me’ and I approached him slowly, crouched down, spoke to him and he came over and touched his nose to my hand. This clearly was not the behavior of a feral cat,” Meadow said.
From there, she slowly encouraged Thumper until finally, he was comfortably sitting on her lap. Now, she set out to find out who was missing him. At her sister-in-law’s encouragement, she searched on Facebook. Finally, she spotted a missing cat matching Thumper’s appearance posted in October.
Soon, Meadow was arranging a visit by Tarbox and a happy reunion.
A Reunion for Christmas
After Tarbox arrived, Thumper heard her voice and came running.
“He heard my voice as I was talking with Carolyn, immediately came out of his hiding spot and ran to my feet,” Tarbox said. “He let me scoop him right up, and we had a few moments of snuggling and purring before turning around and heading back to Boston.”
Tarbox was delighted to find Thumper, thanking Carolyn for her efforts in making it all possible.
“If I didn’t know he was gone for two months, I would have no idea. Truly the best Christmas gift I could have asked for,” Tarbox said.
After the reunion, Tarbox planned another reunion with her mother in January. First, they had to work out the best way to bring him to Utah. Perhaps, he will also get to play with his little plastic dinosaurs again too? 🦖