Cat reunited with owner after missing for nine years

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After nine years, Stephanie Fulkerson, of Otis Orchard, Washington, was reunited with her missing cat. She received the unexpected and exciting call recently from SpokAnimal C.A.R.E., where her cat Rusty was waiting for her.

Years earlier she had Rusty implanted with an identifying chip, so once he was found in the wild near Felts Field, out of Millwood, the chip brought him back to her. After living in the wild, he was a bit scratched up, and he suffered from ear mites and weight loss, but after being treated at the vet, he should be back to good health.

Fulkerson reports that he's doing well: “He’ll eat a whole can of cat food” at a single meal, and he has been sleeping a lot, plus "he rubs and snuggles and follows me around."

Fulkerson got him from a shelter 11 years ago and named him Rusty for the part of his fur that was brown. He disappeared nine years ago, around the same time many other neighborhood cats went missing, and Fulkerson feared someone had taken him.

Lori Humphrey, staff member at SpokAnimal, said it was likely Rusty had at least one other home during the time of his disappearance and his discovery. It would have been difficult for him to survive nine years without a consistent form of shelter and food although, due to the mites and matted fur, it was likely that he hadn't had a home for a while.

SpokAnimal is accepting donations to help Fulkerson and her family pay Rusty’s vet bill; Fulkerson's husband recently lost his job and expenses are tight. Donations can be made to the Lucky to be Alive fund in Rusty’s name at SpokAnimal. Call (509) 534-8133 for more information.

Geanna Marek | @greenvegnliving
Geanna has been a vegan for over 3 years. She lives in the very veg-friendly city of Portland, Oregon, where she works as a freelance writer and library assistant. She is also currently training to run the Portland Marathon this fall. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, eating, and traveling. Find Geanna at


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