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Missing cat found 1,200 miles from US home

BBC News logo BBC News 11/20/2019
a person petting a cat: Sasha had been missing for five years © Santa Fey Animal Shelter Sasha had been missing for five years

A man in the US state of Oregon has been reunited with his missing cat after it was discovered on the streets some 1,200 miles (1,900km) away.

The black cat, named Sasha, was recently found in the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, five years after disappearing from its Portland home.

The Santa Fe Animal Shelter said it was able to locate the owner by scanning Sasha's microchip.

The cat was flown back to Portland this week and returned to his owner.

Viktor Usov said he originally reported his pet as missing five years ago and had lost hope of seeing him again.

"I couldn't believe it," he told the animal shelter. "We thought the worst, but when we received the call, we were so thankful Sasha was alive and well."

Details of how the cat made it to Santa Fe are unknown, but Mr Usov believes that his friendly pet "hitched a ride" with someone.

"I guess I want to think he was on a great American adventure," he said.

Murad Kirdar sitting on a bench: Murad Kirdar (right) reunites Sasha and Viktor Usov © Santa Fey Animal Shelter Murad Kirdar (right) reunites Sasha and Viktor Usov

Murad Kirdar, a public relations officer at the Santa Fe shelter, said the story highlighted the importance of microchipping pets.

"A simple microchip, which is the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the pet's skin, helped us find the guardian of this missing cat," he said in a statement.

A microchip is the only form of pet identification that is "permanent, with a unique number that cannot fall off, be altered, or be removed", he added.

American Airlines flew Sasha and Mr Kirdar back to Portland on Tuesday so the owner and cat could be reunited. Spokesman Curtis Blessing told the BBC the airline was "honoured" to be part of the reunion.

"We're glad to have provided a happy ending to Sasha's long journey," he said.

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