‘Truly a miracle’: Cat missing for 10 years who survived wildfire is finally back home

Pilot is back in Jennifer Leigh Thompson’s arms.
Pilot is back in Jennifer Leigh Thompson’s arms. Jennifer Leigh Thompson

Pilot the cat is back in the loving arms of his family, 10 years after he went missing in Santa Rosa and after he survived the Tubbs Fire.

Last Wednesday, owner Jennifer Leigh Thompson finally got to hold Pilot in her arms again.

“I have no doubt that Pilot remembers me,” she told The Sacramento Bee. “I will never, ever forget that moment. He was asleep and he woke up and whipped his head around as soon as he heard my voice.”

It’s back to cuddling for Pilot and Jennifer Leigh Thompson. Jennifer Leigh Thompson

Pilot has been on quite a journey.

He went missing in 2007 – three years after his family adopted him.

Ten years later, he got caught in the recent Santa Rosa wildfire, suffering severe burns and surviving for as long as two weeks with very little food or water.

He was rescued by a good Samaritan on Halloween, who took him to Santa Rosa’s Petcare Veterinary Hospital.

It was at Petcare that his luck changed for the better.

It turns out he had a microchip that was still registered to the Thompson family, who had moved to Colorado three years after his disappearance.

Thompson, who worked in the veterinary field for 20 years and is now a pet sitter and dog walker, was “in disbelief” and thrilled to receive the call that Pilot had been found.

“Honestly, I still can’t believe it. It’s surreal,” Thompson told The Bee on Nov. 3. “And to know what he’s been through with the fires is absolutely unbelievable. He’s one very determined little guy. And he’s doing amazingly well considering his injuries.”

Eight days after receiving the call, Thompson was finally able to hug him again and then bring him home to Colorado.

“The staff at Petcare has been great. They’ve taken excellent care of him,” Thompson said. “They are all really happy for us.”

“We are so happy to have him back,” she said. “He’s just as sweet as he always was and he doesn’t leave my side at night. It’s truly a miracle!”

Suri survived the wildfires, but was left with burn injuries. She's being cared for by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Her family has already been found.

Pilot and Jennifer Leigh Thompson are reunited. Jennifer Leigh Thompson

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