Courtesy Jennifer Noble
Scrub, a cat that went missing for five years in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, is petted by one of his owners, Matthew Noble. The feline was reunited after the Humane Society of South Mississippi identified him via a microchip.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/8/2010 12:14:23 PM ET 2010-12-08T17:14:23

Five years after wandering away in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, a gray and white cat named Scrub has been reunited with his Mississippi family

The 7-year-old cat was brought to the shelter by a woman living 15 miles away who'd fed him as a stray the past couple of months but worried about his safety during a cold snap. The Humane Society of South Mississippi said Scrub was identified by an implanted microchip.

Scrub's owner, Jennifer Noble, told The Sun Herald newspaper she was skeptical at first when she received a call from the shelter. But by the end of the first night back, Scrub had snuggled in bed with one of her boys.

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Noble told the Sun Herald that she thought the Humane Society of South Mississippi had the wrong cat as she listened last week to a message left on her husband’s office answering machine.

The message, the newspaper reported, said they had a pet brought in with her information on his microchip. She had given away two kittens — failed attempts to replace Scrub — and figured the message was about one of those.

White markings
“‘Do you have a gray and white cat?’” Noble said a humane society employee asked when she returned the call. Scrub is a Russian blue and tabby, mostly gray with white markings. The other cats had been gray, said the Sun Herald report.

“You have my cat! Oh my gosh!” she remembered saying. “That cat has been missing for five years!”

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She said the employee replied, “‘Oh my gosh. Well, Merry Christmas!’”

“This is the power of microchipping,” humane society Director Tara High told the Sun Herald. “There is no other way that cat would have found its family. This is a very dramatic story with a wonderful ending.”

Scrub, who was about two years old when he disappeared, seems to be in excellent condition, Noble told the paper. A small chunk is missing out of one ear and the other has a scar where the fur didn’t grow back.

Courtesy Jennifer Noble
Scrub's first night back with the Noble family was spent resting in his favorite lounging spot — under the covers.

No air conditioning
Noble told the Sun Herald that Scrub had been a gift from her husband, Chris, and prior to Katrina, he was an indoor cat. That changed with the chaos caused by Katrina and the loss of air conditioning.

“We tried to keep him in a room [but] it was so miserably hot,” she told the paper. So she started letting him roam outside.

“The scenery was changing every day,” she told the Sun Herald. “I honestly think he got disoriented; that he just couldn’t find this way back.

“If he could talk,” Noble said, “I’m sure he has quite a story to tell us.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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