March 8 (UPI) -- A North Carolina woman whose cat went missing in 2016, just before a hurricane hit the area, was reunited with her now 20-year-old pet after the feline was found a few miles from her home.
Laken Read, 24, said Muffin, the cat her family has had since she was only 4 years old, went missing from her family's Fuquay-Varina home in 2016, just before Hurricane Matthew swept through the area.
Read said her family searched before and after the storm, but they could find no sign of Muffin anywhere.
She said she did not know if she would ever see Muffin again until her family recently brought her to a veterinarian's office for a surprise that turned out to be her now-20-year-old cat.
It turned out Muffin had been living a few miles away in a neighborhood in Apex. The cat, believed to be a stray, was given food by resident Stephanie Stanton and her neighbors.
Stanton said she recently saw Muffin having a seizure and brought her to the veterinarian's office, where she was scanned for a microchip. Muffin was treated for a flea infestation, the cause of the seizure, and the vet's office contacted Read's family.
Read said her reunion with Muffin should serve as a reminder to pet owners to have their furry friends microchipped.