A Jacksonville, Florida shelter shared “one heck of a reunion story”, after a microchip and some detective work led to reuniting Derek the cat with his long-lost humans after 11 years! The tabby was just a kitten when he went missing, leaving a family of kids who were devastated when he didn’t return home. They never stopped missing him. Now, after over a decade, they are making up for lost time.
It all started when a kind person saw Derek and contacted animal control because he was sick and needed help. Officer Alfredson arrived on the scene and brought the kitty to safety. She discovered Derek had a microchip, which initially led to a dead end. The registered information was outdated, and the phone number was out of service. It’s a common problem for microchipped pets and a timely reminder to keep the information current.
So, Afredson “put on her detective hat,” explained Jacksonville’s Animal Care & Protective Services (ACPS).
Detective Work and a Microchip
It was a good thing that Derek’s rescuer was both an animal control officer and a detective. That’s the way they are trained, per ACPS.
“The team at ACPS is trained to use every resource available when researching microchips, so Officer Alfredson put on her detective hat and went to work. She was able to obtain information that the microchip was implanted by The Jacksonville Humane, so she reached out to our friends at JHS and was provided the owner information that they had from 2010,” they shared.
When the phone number wasn’t in service, the detective kept going, finding more records with the electric company associated with the address. Officer Alfredson found a new phone number and called, leaving a message about Derek. Surprisingly for all, that’s when a magical reunion happened. The kitty’s long-lost family was stunned that he was alive!
A Magical Reunion for Long-Lost Kitten
Not long after leaving the message, ACPS got a call from Angela, Derek’s stunned mama.
“A few hours later, magic happened when Derek’s owner, Angela, received the message and came to Animal Care & Protective Services. Angela was shocked to find out Derek was found and wanted to reclaim him immediately! She told us that Derek had been a childhood pet for her children, and the kids were devasted when he went missing. That all changed thanks to a microchip and the determination of Officer Alfredson to locate Derek’s owner. Derek now gets to live out his life back in the place where he was raised and with a family who still loves him to this day.”
Angela shared a picture of Derek in the comments with a young man who had always missed his kitten.
“Thank you so much! Derek is doing great and fitting in well with our other cat Cedric. We are so happy and feel unbelievable lucky to have him back. Picture of Derek when we first adopted him with my son,” wrote Angela.
Then, she shared a picture of Derek with her son today. Derek is 13 years old now, but you can see these two love each other the same as ever.
“Picture of Derek & my son the day he came home.”
Congratulations to Derek and his human family for such an incredible reunion. And what great detective work for Officer Alfredson, tracking down his long-lost family! For those in the Jacksonville area, you can learn more about how to locate a lost pet on Animal Care & Protective Service’s website. The first tip is to keep that microchip information up-to-date with the microchip company. Not everyone is a skilled detective, after all.
Video by First Coast News: