When Perry Martin received a phone call from his veterinarian telling him that his missing cat was alive, he was in utter disbelief. Thomas Junior, or T2 for short, had been missing for 14 years!

They asked, ‘What would you say if we told you that T2 was alive?’ and I basically told them that I would say they were crazy because he had passed away a long time ago,”  said Martin, a retired K-9 officer from Florida.

Lauren and Quinn Wadsworth gave T2 a much-needed bath after he appeared in their yard one day in early March.

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The now 18-year-old orange tabby had wandered off after Hurricane Jeanne struck in 2004. Martin and T2 had been staying with a friend in the nearby city of Stuart, about 20 miles south of Fort Pierce, after the hurricane ripped through their hometown. There, T2 managed to escape through an open window. Martin, his friend and the neighbors all looked for the cat for months, but after having no luck locating the animal, Martin assumed the worst: that he had been killed on the nearby highway.

Although he is 18 years old, T2 is still vibrant and active!

On March 5 of this year, T2 appeared in the Wadsworth family’s front yard, in Stuart, covered in fleas and looking very thin and walking funny, according to Lisa Wadsworth. Wadsworth and her two kids, Lauren, 13, and Quin, 11, could tell right away that he was meant to be an indoor cat from the way he kept trying to get into the house. He just wanted human affection, Wadsworth, 47, recalled.

T2 and Sassy get along splendidly.

Unable to keep the cat, the elder Wadsworth wanted to bring T2 to the Humane Society, but Quinn insisted that he see the family vet first — even offering to pay for it himself. Dr. Stanley Hopek scanned for a microchip, which allows vets and shelters to trace an animal back to his or her owner should they go missing, and was amazed to learn that the hardware was approximately 16 years old.

“As soon as I came around the corner and saw him lying in that cage, I knew it was him,” said Martin. “When I reached down there to pick him up it was like, oh, heaven… the bond was there and it just took that to bring us both back together again.”

We’d like to hope that T2’s story inspires other pet owners to microchip their furry friends and keep the information up-to-date.

No matter how long your pet has been missing, always keep that microchip information current!

Have you ever lost a pet?