Meow the cat went missing 3 years ago from Kansas home, owner says. Now she’s back.

Taylor Jezik says she never gave up hope after her cat, Meow, went missing from her Gardner, Kansas, home nearly three years ago.

Meow escaped one night shortly after Jezik moved to a new apartment complex. Though Meow previously went outside, this was new territory and she couldn’t find her way home — even after Jezik put out her litter box in hopes the cat could “smell” her way back.

Jezik’s son, Charlie, was devastated, she said. The two were close companions and he cried about losing Meow, Jezik said. Photos show Charlie sleeping and cuddling on the bed with Meow.

Photo from Taylor Jezik

Jezik tried all the things cat owners do when their pets run away. She drove to her previous neighborhood looking for Meow, posted pictures on Facebook and called all the local animal shelters. She even looked along the side of the road for dead cats.

“We did this for years,” Jezik said. “My son would randomly cry about her, and I would have to reassure him that she was too tough of a cat to have been killed by another animal.”

Jezik remembers hoping that someone had taken in Meow and given her a new, loving home.

Then on Tuesday, she received a text message.

“Hello Taylor Jezik, your pet Meow was found by Gardner Police Department,” it said.

Gardner police said a resident called them to report a cat was outside immediately after the rainstorms that hit the Kansas City area. The animal control officer took the cat to the Gardner Animal Hospital and employees scanned it for a microchip, police said. It traced back to Jezik.

Jezik said she still couldn’t believe it. She asked the animal control officer to send pictures of the cat.

“I instantly started crying,” Jezik recalled after seeing the picture pop up on her phone. “Hyperventilating and trying to tell my son the good news, we immediately left and went and got her.”

When Jezik and Charlie arrived, they called Meow’s name and the cat looked up at them, she said. Meow made herself comfortable shortly after they returned home, Jezik said.

Video shows Meow rolling on the floor and being pet when she got home.

Jezik called it the best day of her life, knowing Meow was safe and putting her son at ease.

“I’m still in shock over this whole situation,” Jezik said. “I am so grateful for (Tuesday). I can tell Meow is too.”

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.