T2, the orange tabby, is tougher than the Terminator.
Way back in 2002, the cat was a stray and wandered into the life of now-retired Fort Pierce K9 officer Perry Martin. He named the cat Thomas Jr. — nicknamed T2 (and that handle sure applies) — and took him to the vet for shots and the implantation of a microchip.
Two years later, T2 went missing after Hurricane Jeanne passed through Florida. Martin had moved in with a friend in Stuart in the storm’s aftermath and T2 escaped — probably through an open window since the storm had knocked out power and the September weather was sweltering.
Martin reported the cat missing to his vet. But when no one called as days dragged on, the grieving owner feared the worst: T2 must have been hit by a car on a nearby highway. Over the years, Martin moved a couple times, to Ohio and back to Fort Pierce.
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So imagine Martin’s surprise when he got a call nearly 14 years later from the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast on March 9.
T2 was alive and mostly well, the shelter told him, save for a few fleas. A Martin County Animal Services officer had found the skinny orange tabby, who was a stray yet again, and took him to the nonprofit shelter in Palm City, TCPalm reported. Vets, using a wand, identified the cat via the microchip that had been implanted in his shoulders.
Martin’s veterinarian, who figured the missing cat was dead years ago, used the information to track down a surprised Martin. A few days later, the shelter posted a happy reunion picture on Facebook. “Thanks to his microchip, we were able to contact his dad and get T2 back home,” they captioned the photo, which has been shared more than 800 times.
“That’s what happened to my dog Scamp! He went missing for six years and came back with pink nails,” a reader commented in the thread.
“When I got the call and someone said, ‘What if we told you T2 was alive?’ I figured it was a mistake,’ Martin, 60, told TCPalm. “It was too crazy to believe. I just went on about my life. I guess T2 did, too, because who would have thought that after 14 years, you’d find your lost cat?”
Martin, and the shelter’s message: Chip your pets.
“As soon as I looked at that face I knew exactly who it was. A little bit older — kind of like me,” Martin told West Palm Beach’s WPTV.
T2, who is now about 18 years old and weak — 18 is pretty old for a cat, even for a hardy survivor like T2 — has adjusted to being back home and with his human dad, WPTV reports.
“He’s eating, he’s drinking, he’s moving around. He had an opportunity to come home. Spend time with his family. And be on a good note until he passes,” Martin told the station. “And until that day, he’ll be spoiled like he was before he left.”