Amazing Cat and Owner Reunion

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Animal Services Division

Amazing cat/owner reunion!

Imagine the odds: At the very moment Patrick Gillett and Lisa Kinsley came to the Bonnie Hays Shelter to adopt a new kitty, the lost cat they'd been desperately searching for for the past 6 months arrived at shelter, too.

When Patrick Gillett and Lisa Kinsley came to the Bonnie Hays Small Animal Shelter on Saturday, they'd given up looking for their cat. Niko had been missing 6 months. They'd filed missing pet reports, checked the Bonnie Hays web site every day to see if someone had brought the cat in, and did everything possible to find their kitty. On Saturday, they decided it was time to fill the void with a new kitty. They came to the shelter to find a new cat to adopt.

Still, they brought Niko's photo with them, and the cat's medical records. As they filled out an adoption form to bring home another kitty, a couple came in with a stray cat.

Patrick couldn't help but look as the good Samaritans brought the cat into the shelter. The cat was white, like Niko. And he certainly looked like Niko. And it ended up that he had the same medical issues as Niko. Finally, there was no doubt. This kitty was Niko.

"If you saw this happen in a movie, you wouldn't believe it. This was serendipity, or fate, or maybe just plain magic," says Deborah Wood, manager of Animal Services for Washington County. "We reunite about 1,200 animals a year with their owners – but not like this. What are the odds of this happening?"

Wood says that she hopes that people remember some lessons from this amazing reunion:

  • Bring lost animals to the shelter. "There are people who are still afraid to bring animals to a shelter. This is where people come to look for their dogs and cats," says Wood. She adds that in most cases if an owner doesn't claim the animal that the finder will be first in line to adopt the animal. "This is a place where good things happen," says Wood.
  • If you lose an animal, make the shelter the first place you look. Keep in touch. "These owners had done everything right. They filed a missing pet report and they kept checking our web site to see if their animal came to the shelter," says Wood. At Bonnie Hays, the photos of all stray animals at the shelter are available for viewing. Go to and click on the "lost and found" button. There will be a link to "viewing lost pets."

Media Contact:

Deborah Wood, Animal Services Manager