Mimi, the cat, went missing on Long Island a decade ago. But thanks to kindness and a microchip, she’s now reconnected with her long-lost human family in Valencia, Spain.
About three years ago, a good Samaritan, Gary Guiseppone, started seeing the black and white cat around his home in Miller Place. She was one of many feral cats in the area but looked pretty rough even then.
“She was in such bad shape, I didn’t think she would survive,” he said.
Mimi did survive somehow, and Guiseppone spotted her again recently and offered her food. At first, he thought she had a bad wound, but upon closer inspection, it was a piece of matted fur hanging from her body.
“It turned out she was just a hairy cat and fluffy, and she shed a million mats off her,” he told Patch.
He wanted to help her and set out a Have-A-Heart-trap. Previously, he had caught another feral cat, which he socialized and adopted. He described how Mimi reacted when she was caught, and it seemed she was ready for the easy life again.
“Usually the ferals go in there and they really freak out,” Guiseppone said. “She was like, ‘Okay, what are we doing now?'”
Mimi Was Hiding a Surprise
After managing to catch Mimi, Guiseppone took her to the Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Center on Monday, December 5. He intended to see if they would help shave her matted fur, then he would bring her back home. He left her in their care, later learning about Mimi’s microchip.
The shelter supervisor, Linda Klampfl, says Guiseppone described Mimi’s badly matted hair “like a shield of armor.“
“He said he could touch her, but it was like a shield or armor [over her], that’s how bad she was matted,” said Klampfl.
Klampft didn’t know if the cat’s fur had been matted for 10 years, but added, “you never know.”
The cat couldn’t tell anyone where she’d been and how she survived on Long Island for a decade, but she wound up on the opposite side of the peninsula.
Mimi’s Long-Lost Family in Spain
After cleaning her up, the staff found a microchip connecting them with her previous humans, but they no longer lived nearby. Ten years ago, Richard and Maria Price lived in East Setauket, about 11 miles Northwest. But today, they live across the Atlantic, some 3,500 miles away, in Valencia, Spain.
Richard Price, Mimi’s former Cat Dad, exclaimed:
“Oh my God. She’s alive! This is fantastic!” But then he had a tinge of regret, “Oh my God, we left her there. So, we felt both elated and horrified all at the same time.”
Twelve years ago, the Price adopted “Mama Mimi” from a rescue shelter in Smithtown. She had been living in a feral colony, where she must have learned survival skills. Then in July 2012, Mimi got loose from the cat-sitter, Richard’s sister-in-law, when they went on vacation. Probably missing her family, Mimi took off. Who knows where her travels took her?
“If only she could talk and tell us what she’s been through,” Price said.
A New Adventure
The Price family tried their best to find Mimi, putting flyers up and asking the local veterinarians. But there was no sign of their beloved Mama Mimi, and they moved on with their lives. They always felt like they were “leaving someone behind.”
“It was horrible,” he said. “Cats become your family, just like dogs become your family. And all of a sudden, she’s lost.”
At age 13, she looks like a new cat and is about to go on her biggest adventure, a trip across the ocean to Spain.
“It won’t seem real until I actually have her, until I’m actually holding her,” said Price. “It won’t seem real, it’s just too bizarre.”
Mimi is staying with one of the Price’s relatives until the family can visit her in Long Island. Then, they will make the trip to Spain with their long-lost furbaby. There, she will have three new cat siblings.
“We are trying our best to get her back,” Richard said. “She’s going to have to learn Spanish.”
Meanwhile, the story is helping the Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Center find homes for other cats and dogs. You can find a loving pet in the Long Island area at the center, which you can follow on Facebook here