Never underestimate the power of love between a cat and its owner.
Just ask Kris Kirsch of Pasco. Her cat Daisy Mae disappeared from her home more than a year ago.
Then two weeks ago, Kirsch opened up a newsletter from Pet Over Population Prevention and saw a familiar furry face.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "There was my Daisy Mae staring back at me in that photo. I knew it was her because I'm her momma and a momma always knows her baby."
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The two were reunited two weeks ago after Kirsch contacted POPP and brought proof of ownership with photos of her black-and-white tuxedo cat and detailed descriptions of Daisy Mae's behavior.
"Daisy Mae was timid when I first saw her again," Kirsch said. "But after a few minutes, she came right up to me and I knew she remembered me because she started talking like she always used to do before she disappeared."
When Kirsch brought her cat home, her two dachshunds, Mabel and Pinocchio, and another cat, Savannah, welcomed Daisy Mae as if she'd never left home, Kirsch said.
"It's nothing short of a miracle that my baby is home again," she said.
But how Daisy Mae ended up in a POPP foster home is a story laced with luck, love and mystery.
The 5-year-old cat was found in Richland, which has baffled Kirsch because she lives in west Pasco near Road 100.
"I just can't imagine her wandering over the interstate bridge when she never even left the yard," she said. "I just can't figure out how she got to Richland from Pasco.
"Daisy Mae never wandered from home. She played in my backyard or my neighbor's backyard. That was it. Then one summer day she didn't come home. I checked with animal control and posted a lost cat ad on Craigslist. Nothing. I was heartsick. But I never gave up hope that I would find her one day."
One theory Kirsch has about how her cat made a 20-mile trek from home to Horn Rapids is that she hitched a ride in her car without her knowledge.
"It's hard to imagine her doing that but I can't think of any other explanation," she said. "She would have never let a stranger pick her up and carry her off, either."
Daisy Mae also didn't have an identification chip, which is something Kirsch plans to remedy.
"I'm a total advocate for those chips," she said. "Had my Daisy had one I might not have had to wait so long to find her. But I am so grateful someone with POPP found her and took such good care of her."
Molli Van Dorn, founder of POPP, said it was lucky Daisy Mae showed up at a Horn Rapids home where a POPP volunteer lived.
"She stayed in the foster home for more than a year because she was an older cat, and they are harder to find homes for," Van Dorn said. "I am so happy she and Daisy Mae have been reunited."
Kirsch has been a POPP supporter for a few years, keeping a donation box for food and other pet items in her office where she works at the Richland landfill.
"All my animals are rescues," Kirsch said. "And when I retire I'll probably rescue more. There are so many in need of loving homes I just wish I could rescue them all."
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal