Jesse White of Grand Haven said he was shocked when the West Michigan Spay and Neuter Clinic in Fruitport called him April 9 and told him the staff had located Corey, a gray-and-white cat that had disappeared from his family's home in January 2012, The Muskegon (Mich.) Chronicle reported Thursday.
"I was like 'Wow.' I didn't really believe it," he said.
White said his daughters, 2 and 4, were particularly upset by the cat's disappearance.
"They were very sad and they just kept asking about her every day and wanting to go and look for her," White said.
Deloris Millard said her grandchildren found Corey near the Grand River in August.
"[The cat] was very thin," Millard said. "You could tell she hadn't been eating well."
Millard said she and her husband nursed the cat back to health, keeping her outside, in case she went back to her original home, but the feline continued to follow them around. They took her to the clinic in April to get her shots and to see if she had been spayed -- and when clinic staff scanned Corey for a microchip they discovered her connection to the White family.
Millard said she was happy to send Corey home, but wished she had thought of the microchip angle earlier.
"Had we realized that, had we been thinking, we could've had the kids' pet back much, much quicker," Millard said.