A missing cat named Vanilla has been reunited with his family after being lost for nearly 9 years.
Dara Gerson said her went cat missing almost a decade ago from her home in San Francisco. Although the mother and her daughters attempted to locate the missing animal, they never managed to find Vanilla. According to the Examiner, Gerson said she kept hoping he was still out there somewhere.
Vanilla went missing after being spooked by a dog while Dara was holding him. Despite their best efforts, the family pet never turned up.
"We put up posters and asked everyone in the neighborhood and never found him. But we never gave up hope. I'm a pretty intuitive person and assumed he was still alive," she told ABC News.
The cat somehow made its way to Noe Valley, which is roughly six miles away from where he once lived. Vanilla was unofficially adopted by a gentleman who took care of the cat for nearly nine years. After being diagnosed with dementia, the man's caretaker decided the cat would have to find another home.
The missing cat eventually ended up in the hands of the the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control. When one of the staff scanned Vanilla's microchip, they discovered he actually belonged to Dara Gerson. Since the department was unable to contact the previous owner, they decided to contact Gerson.
"We got a call from an officer at the animal control and asked if I was the owner of a cat named Vanilla. And I was like, ‘Well, yeah, a really long time ago.' We were literally jumping around and screaming and going bananas," Dara explained to ABC News.
After nearly nine years away from home, Vanilla has finally been returned to his original family. Gerson said being reunited with the cat was the "best Christmas present she received."