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Stickers the Cat jumped into a repairman’s truck in 2003, and vanished into thin air. Over the course of the last seven years, owner Nancy Shaskey never really gave up hope of finding the blue cream tortoiseshell, a cat her family had raised from a kitten.

After seven years, Stickers is finally home.

But where has Stickers been during the intervening years?

Megan Hess discovered Stickers when the wounded animal wandered onto her property in 2003.

She nursed her back to health and called her Mow-mows because the cat was talkative.

She would have whole conversations with you , Hess said.

The cat lived with the Hess family for seven years, but this fall, Hess decided she could no longer care for the pet, and she tearfully surrendered Mow-mows to the Humane Society of Utah.

I was heartbroken. She was part of my family, she said, her voice thick with emotion.

Mow-mows fate at the shelter looked grim, said Carl Arky, Humane Society communication director. Mature cats rarely get adopted; most people prefer kittens or younger cats.

But a tiny piece of metal behind Stickers’ neck saved her life. Technicians performed a routine intake scan of the cat and hit pay dirt: a microchip. They contacted Shaskey with the news.

Shaskey couldn’t believe the phone message she received from the Humane Society on November 9th.

I waited until the kids got home from school, she said. We went down there. It was her.

The reunion was a rare moment for shelter workers, who care for hundreds upon hundreds of animals that never see a home again.

It was one of my happiest days here. Usually there are tears about people giving up an animal, Arky said.

Hess was ecstatic to learn of the cats fate and glad of the reunion.

Shaskey noted the circular nature of this cats journey: The Shaskeys had picked up Stickers as an orphan kitten from the Humane Society, and that agency played a role in her return.

That cat, shes used up at least three of her lives, Arky said.

Stickers is a few pounds heavier, but her re-integration into the family has been smooth. She seems to recognize family members and some of her surroundings.

Shes sticking around, Shaskey said. Shes home.

Microchipping is an amazing technology, but a simple collar with ID tags might have gotten Stickers home a few years earlier, saving her family seven years of grief. Is your cat both chipped and collared?

[SOURCE: Dan Weist, The Salt Lake Tribune; Tortoiseshell Cat Photo: securepet.biz]